Greetings my Loyal Reader(s), and welcome to the latest edition of the Branson Beat, your home for all the news on the Branson entertainment scene.

As always, feel free to drop me a line at jclark@bransontrilakesnews.com, or send me a message via our Branson Tri-Lakes News Facebook page.

Now, let’s get to it. 

‘Cinderella’ takes the stage in Forsyth this weekend  

The Forsyth Theatre Department is presenting “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” this weekend at Forsyth High School.

This play is based on the timeless fairy tale about a young woman, Cinderella of course, who was forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters. One day Cinderella gets an invitation to a ball held in the royal castle. After being told she couldn’t attend the ball by her wicked stepmother, Cinderella is transformed into a princess with the help of the Fairy Godmother.

The show will star senior Brenna Kellem as Cinderella, sophomores Noah Beyer and Jacob Deeter as Prince Topher, and Danielle Groff as the Fairy Godmother. 

“Cinderella” will take the stage at the Forsyth High School Performing Arts Center Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., as well as 2 p.m. Sunday. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door. Information can be found at forsyththeatre.com.

Joe joins Moe for October date

When country music singer and longtime Branson performer Moe Bandy makes his Branson return this fall at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, he’ll have an old buddy, Joe Stampley, along for the ride.

“Because they are both very busy with their solo performances, it is rare that we can get their schedules coordinated to appear together, but we made it happen with the help of these country music legends,” said Up Close Concerts Owner Bob Cannella.

Stampley, originally from Louisiana, spent several years as a rock singer for a group called The Uniques before signing with ABC-Dot in 1971. There, Stampley recorded seven country albums that produced hits including “Soul Song,” “Too Far Gone,” “If You Touch Me, You’ve Got to Love Me,” and a two-step cover of “All These Things,” which reached No. 1 on the country chart.

In 1975, Stampley moved to Epic Records and released the hits “Roll On Big Mama,” “Red Wine and Blue Memories,” “If You’ve Got 10 Minutes (Let’s Fall in Love),” “Do You Ever Fool Around”, and “I’m Gonna Love You Back To Lovin’ Me Again.” In 1976 alone, Stampley had eight singles on the Billboard country chart and was Billboard’s singles-artist of the year.

A few years later he joined forces with Bandy. Unlike the honky-tonk standards both artists had become known for, their duets were mostly tongue-in-cheek novelty or satirical songs. “Moe and Joe,” as they were known, had hits with “Holding the Bag,” Tell Ole I Ain’t Here, He Better Get on Home,” “Hey Joe (Hey Moe),” and the massive No. 1 hit with “Just Good Ol’ Boys.”

Moe and Joe were recognized as the Country Music Association’s Vocal Duo of the Year in 1980, and won the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Duo award for two consecutive years.

In 1984, the guys recorded a novelty song poking fun at English group Culture Club and its front man, Boy George, called “Where’s the Dress.” It remains one of their most popular collaborations.

“Joe came to me and said his son co-wrote a song, and told him we needed to cut it,” Bandy once told the Branson Tri-Lakes News. “When I heard the song, I told him ‘Let’s get something straight right now, I’m not wearing a dress.’ Of course later on, I ended up in the dress (for the video).”

In addition to poking fun at the group’s success with the good-natured tune, they also used a guitar riff similar to Culture Club’s hit “Karma Chameleon,” which didn’t go over well.

“Boy George sued us over that song, and we had to pay him a bunch of money,” he said. “We used the intro and I guess didn’t think about getting permission, so he sued us.

“But we did win Video of the Year, so we showed him.”

Bandy, a Meridian, Mississippi native, grew up in a musical family, but he tried several other career paths, including a few years of bull riding and other rodeo-related activities, before deciding to try his hand a music full time.

For more than a decade, Bandy performed all over the San Antonio area at night, and had a “square job” as a sheet metal worker by day. In 1973, he decided to make his way to Nashville, got a loan and recorded “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today.” The tune was Bandy’s first hit, peaking at No. 17. After minor hits including “It Was Always So Easy To Find An Unhappy Woman (Till I Started Looking For Mine)” and “Don’t Anyone Make Love At Home Anymore,” he finally recorded his signature song in 1975.

“Bandy The Rodeo Clown” became the tune closest to Bandy, and hit No. 7 on the charts. He followed it up with hit songs “Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life,” “I’m Sorry For You, My Friend,” and his first No. 1, “I Cheated My Way Right Out Of You.”

After touring for many years, Bandy relocated to Branson to be a full-time performer in the early 1990s. After more than two decades in Branson, Bandy decided to go back out on the road a few years ago.

“I was there for 21 years, and I had some great times in Branson,” he said. “But I found out after I left, there’s a whole world out there that knows my music, so ‘I’ve enjoyed traveling and touring, and I’m having a good time.”

In addition to Moe & Joe Oct. 16, Up Close Concerts is again hosting shows at both the Welk Resort Theatre, as well as Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre. 

Things continue rolling at Bandstand with Ronnie McDowell, who will perform a special gospel show Sunday morning.

The venue will also host “Vicki Lawrence and Mama A Two Woman Show” on Mother’s Day, May 12, and Darryl Worley and Billy Dean May 18. Bandstand will also host “Max Weinberg’s Jukebox” Oct. 2, the Platters Oct. 9, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the original lead singer of the Buckinghams Dennis Tufano Oct. 12, as well as Mel “Sonny Boy” Tillis Jr. Oct. 23, Lee Greenwood Nov. 10, T.G. Sheppard Nov. 13. 

Crystal Gayle will present her Christmas show Nov. 20, 2019, followed by a Greenwood Christmas show Dec. 4.

Up Close Concerts will also host shows at the Welk Resort Theatre beginning May 3 with Howie Mandel, followed by Tommy James and the Shondells May 25, and Peter Noon with Herman’s Hermits, a personal favorite, along with special guest Mitch Ryder Oct. 18.

Smokey and the Mirror, Honey Dew Drops and Joe Purdy at Rock House

The Rock House in Reeds Spring is gearing up for a big show Sunday night with Smokey and The Mirror, the Honey Dew Drops and Joe Purdy.

Joe Purdy has recorded more than a dozen albums, with his songs turning up on numerous TV shows and film soundtracks. Recently, the singer, songwriter and self-described “hillbilly” has headed in a new direction with “Who Will Be Next?” 

Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish are celebrating a decade of touring full time as The Honey Dewdrops, having played stages and festivals far and wide in North America and Europe. This duo features tight harmonies and a musical ensemble that includes clawhammer banjo, mandolin and guitars.

The Honey Dewdrops recently returned from a winter tour in the U.K., and released their fifth full-length album, “Anyone Can See,” in March.

The husband and wife duo of Bryan and Bernice Hembree, Smokey & The Mirror, have toured the world over the past decade, supporting tours for Old Crow Medicine Show, The Wood Brothers, I’m With Her, Elephant Revival, John Fullbright, and many of their musical heroes. 

Doors open at 6 p.m. for a potluck dinner, and as always, it’s b.y.o.b. Music begins at 8 p.m., and it’s first come, first served on seating. 

Parking is available across the street in the parking lot, or anywhere downtown. Backyard parking is reserved for the band and handicap parking.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at  rockhousecenterforthearts.org/calendar-tickets. This show will sell out.

In addition to Sunday night’s show, the Rock House in Reeds Spring is hosting Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek April 27, and a Rock House Concert featuring Michael Brewer of “One Toke Over the Line” hitmakers Brewer & Shipley May 11.

The 15th annual Rock House Music Festival is set for June 1 at Flavie Lear Field in downtown Reeds Spring, and will feature last year’s singer/songwriter winner, Andy Haut followed by National Park Radio, who will perform with their full band, Signal Ridge, the Creek Rocks, Kyle Reid and the Low Swingin Chariots, Violet and the Undercurrents, Shreve and the DeVilles, as well as special guest Joann McMillan and her Flying Heart Puppet Theater.

All Things Branson celebrates anniversary  

One of the coolest Branson-based websites and podcasts dedicated to promoting Ozark Mountain Country is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

Founded in 2014 by Branson entertainer and Showboat Branson Belle standout Christopher James, AllThingsBranson.com and its Branson Talk podcast, BransonTalk.com, offers in-depth interviews for local businesses, attractions, theaters and charities while celebrating those who make the community special. 

James said he started the ventures as a way to give a voice to small businesses in the tourist destination. The emcee, comedian and magician runs the website, podcast and their social media accounts in his free time, devoting hundreds of hours annually to provide services at no cost to those featured.

The main website, All Things Branson, has posted thousands of articles about the Branson area and it’s residents. Branson Talk, the interview and podcast division, currently has over 250 in depth interviews on Apple iTunes and available thru the website, including several with yours truly, Joshua Clark.

The Facebook page, website and podcast are always looking for new and interesting things happening around Branson and promotes community happenings daily. 

“My goal is to work with local news sources to give a more in-depth look at local entertainers, businesses, and events that are making a difference in the community,” James said. “We are forming partnerships with several Branson businesses to bring improved content to the Branson fans. Currently in production, we have some unique video game shows, features, and ideas to incorporate some of the great family attractions Branson has to offer.  

“We have built a studio exclusively for our video productions, increased the size of our staff, and am becoming very active in the Branson Chamber of Commerce. 2019 is going to be an exciting year”

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