Greetings 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or friend me on Facebook at facebook.com/joshua.clark.961556.
Now, let’s get to it.
Busy Weekend at Silver Dollar City properties
As if there wasn’t already loads of things to see and do this weekend, the folks at Herschend Family Entertainment, which owns Silver Dollar City, White Water and the Showboat Branson Belle, have some of the coolest events of the holiday going on throughout three of its local properties.
Saturday will see the opening of White Water, the area’s largest water park. White Water is adding more splash and slide fun for small adventurers with a newly remodeled and renovated interactive kids’ play area, the half-million dollar Coconut Cove. The renovated area will see the addition of five slides, four water blasters, “bubbler” fountains, hose jets, tipping buckets and more, all created for interactive play. The new area is designed to be where the White Water adventure begins for kids who love to play in the water.
In addition to Coconut Cove, the 13 acre park will also feature the awesome KaPau Plummet, a $1.7 million slide featuring a near-vertical 70-degree plunge and two-story rider free fall through two 240-foot dueling slides, followed by a spiraling loop. There’s also the seven-story, six-slide Kalani Towers, with two 300-foot drop slides and four additional 312-foot slides for lane racing, and the Pipeline Plunge. Plus, the 500,000-gallon Surf’s Up Wave Pool, Aloha River, Splashaway Cay and more.
Also, kid’s tickets to visit White Water are $20 all season. White Water opens at 10 a.m. Saturday. For more information, call 800-831-4386, or visit bransonwhitewater.com.
If an afternoon in the water isn’t your cup of tea, an afternoon “ON” the water may be, which figures perfectly into the debut performance of the Showboat Branson Belle’s “Country on the Lake” noon cruise.
“This cruise will be a little bit more of a casual atmosphere with country music and barbecue,” Operations Director for the Showboat Branson Belle Nick Guevel said. “The ‘Country On The Lake’ show is designed as a concert cruise, featuring multi-talented rising country stars performing No. 1 hits from yesterday’s classic rock to country favorites of today, backed by a live band.
“We’ll include tributes to country stars of the ’90s with songs by stars such as Garth Brooks and Faith Hill, plus include many of classic rock’s most memorable songs.”
The noon meal will include slow-smoked pork prepared by the pit master at Silver Dollar City and delivered every morning after overnight slow-cooking, plus desserts prepared by the Silver Dollar City bakers. Guevel even said the noon cruise will feature some special beverage choices (I keep hearing Old School Fanta drinks will be available, including Strawberry).
Add some new music on the top deck to a newly renovated and remodeled boat, and you’ve got a recipe for a great time.
For more information, visit showboatbransonbelle.com.
Finally, Silver Dollar City is now in the final stretch hosting “Bluegrass & BBQ,” which will wrap up Monday evening. In addition to acts including Cedar Hill, Nothin’ Fancy and the Hall Sisters Band, the park will also host the finals of the KSMU Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest Friday.
“It is a joy to be a part of the pipeline of developing this talent, and that’s really what our role is here,” Silver Dollar City’s Festival Manager D.A. Callaway said. “Anybody with a venue and a checkbook can book a national touring act, but to be aware of who is coming up, and who is going to be the next big performer, that is where the research comes in, and that’s where we get the most pride and joy. I guarantee you some of the kids in that youth contest will be among some of the best musicians in the world ... this contest has turned out to be quite a big deal for us, and it’s a lot of fun.”
According to Callaway, the contest usually runs “about six hours,” however “hundreds of people who come out and stay for the whole thing.” He also said last year’s contest was uploaded to YouTube.com where it has already been viewed more than one million times.
Sunday night at the park will see Ricky Skaggs take the stage at Echo Hollow. Skaggs got his first mandolin at the age of 5, and by the time he was 6, he was on stage with the legendary “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe. By age 7, Skaggs performed with bluegrass legends Flatt & Scruggs on their popular syndicated television show, for which he earned his first paycheck for a musical performance.
In the early 1980s, Skaggs released the solo album “Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine,” which hit the top of the charts. Over the next decade, Skaggs saw No. 1 hits with “Crying My Heart Out Over You,” “Heartbroke,” “I Don’t Care,” “Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown,” “Highway 40 Blues,” “I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could,” “Honey (Open That Door),” “Uncle Pen,” “(I’m Just a) Country Boy,” “Cajun Moon,” and “Lovin’ Only Me.”
All that, plus there is still some awesome barbecue featured all over the park.
For more information, visit silverdollarcity.com.
‘Legendary’ new lineup open at Dick Clark’s
After taking nearly a week off to host “Menopause The Musical,” the “Legends in Concert” show returned to the stage earlier this week with a new summer lineup.
The summer run features Elvis Presley, Danny Z and Clint Nievar returning as the Blues Brothers, Elisa Furr as Celine Dion, the fantastic Michael Knight is back paying tribute to Michael Jackson, and two of my favorite performers, Doug Brewin and Larry Turner, are also back paying tribute to Brooks and Dunn.
As they have done in years past, producers are again featuring a “younger” act for the summer months. This year, the show will feature Bruno Mars tribute artist Isaiah from June 1 through July 31.
“He was in Myrtle Beach last summer and drew rave reviews,” “Legends in Concert” General Manager Jeannie Horton said. “So we’re very excited to bring him to the Branson stage. Most people don’t know this, but as a child, Bruno Mars was an Elvis impersonator and performed behind the ‘Legends in Concert’ venue in Waikiki.
“He’d come over and watch the ‘Legends’ show all the time, and now there’s a tribute to him in the show, which is a pretty cool thing.”
In addition to the new lineup, the show will also debut a new opening number, as well as a finale, beginning next week. Look for a full story next week in the Branson Tri-Lakes News.
The summer lineup will be featured until Sept. 5. From Sept. 7 through Oct. 31, the lineup will see Robbie Howard as Frank Sinatra, Nedgra Culp as Aretha Franklin, Paul Eve returning as Johnny Cash, Travis Powell as Elvis Presley, and Z and Nievar as the Blues Brothers.
Showtime is 3 and 8 p.m. every day except Wednesday. Visit legendsinconcert.com for more information.
Tony Roi returns to the Branson stage
One of the most iconic Elvis Tribute Artists of all time, as well as one of my favorite performers, is returning to the stage for a special holiday weekend show May 27 at the Radisson Hotel in Branson.
Roi, an iconic name in the Elvis Tribute Artist field, will perform Presley’s biggest hits and best ballads from rockabilly to Vegas, as well as his own songs that were hits overseas.
The cost is $50 for the show and a dinner, or $30 for a ticket to the show only. Dinner is served at 7 p.m., doors open for the show at 7:30 p.m., with an 8 p.m. showtime.
For more information, call Sheila Davis at 870-318-6106.