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. 

Rick Thomas’ magnificent ‘Mansion of Dreams’

There aren’t may things that thrill yours truly like spending the evening with a world-class magician, illusionist and showman, and last week I, got to see one of the best in this, or any town, in Rick Thomas. From the time Thomas began his Branson residency in 2014, he always told me the show would continue to get bigger and better, no matter how awesome we all thought it was to begin with.

Earlier this year, I started hearing rumors about a handful of semi-trucks unloading massive new sets and props at the venue, then I saw Thomas was going to call the 2019 edition of his show “Mansion of Dreams.” Needless to say, I was curious to see what, if anything, Thomas was going to do to top himself. 

Well Loyal Reader(s), I’m here to tell you Thomas not only topped himself, but set his own personal bar so high, it’s going to be tough to clear again, a fact not lost on the man himself.

“So, where can I go from here?” a tired but beaming Thomas told me after the show was over.

Of course I had no answer for him, as I was still in awe of what I had just seen on that stage.

For most of his career, Thomas has built his shows around the theme of his dreams, as well as the art of dreaming, and this one is no different. This year, he  uses massive and beautiful sets as he invites the audience into his “Mansion of Dreams,” a show that took him several years to complete.

While several of the staple illusions are again featured, most of them have a  new presentation, or have been reworked totally, to fit inside the “Mansion.” The new illusions, well I don’t want to spoil anything, but they are everything you hoped they’d be, and much more. 

In addition to performing all the magic and illusions, Thomas is also an accomplished ballroom dancer. He, along with his talented wife Tara, also a dancer, and a dance troupe, weave magic, music and dance into the presentation. 

While Thomas and his staff are busy giving their all to make this show the best, several audience members serve as their co-stars for several of his most popular, and hilarious bits. 

Thomas once told me he loves to interact with the audience, which is why they have always been, and will always will be, a big part of his act.

“Being a magician is quite the unique profession. It really is a strange profession,” he told me. “But it’s not about the magic, it’s about the people. I promise people at the first of the show they’re going to get more than they expect. 

“Within the first five minutes I want people to sit back, chill out, stop trying to figure everything out and just enjoy the ride.”

While the “Mansion of Dreams” is a fabulous, stunning and epic production in each and every way possible, it’s  also much more than that. 

“Mansion of Dreams” is a sentimental, passionate and even emotional journey into the mind and heart of Thomas, who shares who he really is, and what he truly loves each and every night on that stage, connecting with his audience the way few others can.

He truly is one of the best in the business, and I’m glad he chose the Branson Tri-Lakes area to build his “Mansion of Dreams.”

Showtimes for “Mansion of Dreams” are 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center & Theatre.

For information, visit andywilliamspac.com or rickthomas.com.

Ozark Mountain Music Day at Shepherd of the Hills  

Friday, June 28, at noon, the Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead and Adventure Park will be the site of Ozark Mountain Music Day, hosted by the Ozark Mountain Music Association. 

Folks are encouraged to bring their instruments, as well as their lawn chairs, to jam with local musicians. Local performers, vendors, shops and concessions will also be on hand.

There will also be an “Old Time & Bluegrass Show,” featuring the Ozark Mountain Music Association Kids Southern Strings Bluegrass Band, as well as the Missouri Boat Ride, a personal favorite, who are reuniting for a “one-time” event. 

The concert show runs from 6-9 p.m. at the amphitheater.

The cost of this event is $5, which covers all day admission to the park.

Visit ozarkmountainmusicassociation.com, or call 417-631-2442.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong day for Ozark Mountain Music Day.

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