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. 

Gary Morris plays Choices Saturday night  

Hot off last week’s show, the new Choices Concert Series at Billy Yates’ Choices Concert Hall keeps rolling Saturday night with singer, songwriter and actor Gary Morris. 

His recording career garnered five No. 1 and 16 Top 10 singles, including “Why Lady Why,” “The Love She Found in Me,” “Baby Bye Bye.” Morris’ original rendition of the classic “Wind Beneath My Wings” won both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music “Song of the Year” awards. 

Morris was also named Billboard’s “Male Artist of the Year” early in his career.

At the height of his Nashville recording career, the Texas-bred tenor was tapped to play the lead role of Jean Valjean in Broadway’s epic hit “Les Misérables,” to critical acclaim. This role led to a Drama Desk Award nomination. 

His famous rendition of “Bring Him Home” on the platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning international cast album resulted in a Command Performance by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 

Additional Broadway roles include Rodolfo in the production of Puccini’s opera “La bohéme.”

According to Yates, Morris is “a fantastic performer,” and this should be one the “best shows of the season.”

Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

The venue is also home to “Nashville Nights,” “Billy Yates’ Hit Songwriters in the Round,” as well as the Choices Concert Series.

That series continues with former Little Texas frontman Tim Rushlow, who provided the vocals for the Little Texas hits “God Blessed Texas” and “What Might’ve Been” Nov. 16, followed by ”Nashville Nights” star  Heath Wright and Ricochet Nov. 23.

The Choices Saloon and Concert Hall will also feature a full restaurant, line dance lessons, jam nights, a bar and more.

Call 417-320-6242, or visit ChoicesConcertHall.com or NashvilleNightsBranson.com.

Yakov returns to Branson Friday  

Yakov Smirnoff, the Russian-born comedian who took the United States by storm in the 1980s and became one of the biggest stars in Ozark Mountain Country in the 1990s, will be returning to the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre for a limited run of fall shows beginning Friday,  and running through Dec. 7.

The comedian skyrocketed to fame in the 1980s in films like “Brewster’s Millions,” and “The Money Pit,” as well as on TV shows like “Night Court.” He has also given command performances at the White House for several presidents and honored guests. President Ronald Reagan even called Smirnoff a “national treasure.”

In 1993, he became one of the most popular acts during the Branson boom years. In 2015, after 23 years performing in Branson, the comedian decided to step away from performing in Ozark Mountain Country, but due to the current political climate, he’s found plenty of new material to thrill Branson audiences.

Showtimes are 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturdays, as well as 2 p.m. Sundays.

Smirnoff is truly one of the funniest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend time with, and I’m willing to bet his return to Branson will be one for the books.

For more information, visit yakov.com, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, or call 417-336-3838.

Neal McCoy at the Mansion next week  

With Country Music Hall of Famers the Oak Ridge Boys already performing shows, the Mansion Theatre is gearing up for a fall full of big names.

Friday night, country music hitmaker Neal McCoy returns to the Mansion Theatre for his annual Fall visit. In addition to the numerous hit songs, including “No Doubt About It,” “Wink,” “The Shake,” “For a Change,” “You Gotta Love That” and “They’re Playin’ Our Song,” McCoy also plays everything else from rock ‘n’ roll to classic big-band-era music.

McCoy is also a proud patriot, and also a two-time winner of The Nashville Network-Music City News Entertainer of the Year award, Humanitarian of the Year, and is also a USO headliner. McCoy has also gained a reputation as one of the best live acts in country music. 

McCoy’s Friday show is at 8 p.m. He’ll return to the Mansion Nov. 1-2, 6-7 and 20-21 for 3 p.m. shows.

As far as the rest of the month at the Mansion, Dailey & Vincent are back in Branson for a special show Oct. 17, followed by Gene Watson Oct. 18, Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap Oct. 19, “Country Family Reunion”  Oct. 21 and 22, the Gatlin Brothers Oct. 25, and finally, the Bellamy Brothers  Oct. 26.

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