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. 

Hypnotizing fun with Austin Singley  

Earlier this summer I began hearing whispers of a new “hypnotist show” opening at the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre. I must admit, my curiosity was stirred so I reached out, and earlier this week, my fellow Branson Tri-Lakes News writer Tim Church and his Nerd Informant cohort and local radio personality Josh Grisham decided to check it out.

Singley begins by laying out the guidelines for the show, as far as what type of hypnosis he’ll be doing, then asking for volunteers. See, that is great news for folks who are petrified at the prospect of being pulled on stage, as he only takes willing volunteers over the age of 15.

Once he hypnotizes the volunteers, Singley serves as a ringmaster of sorts, coming up with suggestions for situations and behavior perfect for laughs. Singley, who spent time as an emcee with Dolly Parton’s Stampede, seem right at home on stage, and he’s quite “dry” with his deliveries, which tickled me all the more.

Plus, it takes a special kind of cat to do a show relying solely on regular folks volunteering to be a part of a show.

Overall, we had a great time, and with dads, moms, kids and grandparents all participating, it really is a great show for the whole family to participate in.

Like my man Tim Church said, there were legit laughs and the perfect mix of awkward and uncomfortable silences.

Singley takes the stage at 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with either an “A” or “B” show, depending on the day.

According to a release, “the biggest difference between the A show and B show is the different suggestions that Austin gives the volunteers. Both are family friendly, but we want people to be able to come see one show and then be able to come the next show and see something they didn’t see before.”

In addition to all that, I am seriously looking forward to going back for one of his “After Dark,” 18+ shows, especially since they’ll be serving “adult beverages” in the very near future. 

His “After Dark” shows are 10 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, and should be an absolute hoot.

Time is running out to see “Shrek the Musical” at the Welk

The Welk Resort Theatre’s latest special production, “Shrek the Musical,” is set to wrap Saturday, Aug. 10, meaning time is short to experience this awesomeness.

The play follows the same storyline as the beloved flick, which sees Shrek embark on a mission to recapture his swamp, while finding love, friendship and fun along the way. “Shrek The Musical” is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure, and I had a great time when I saw it earlier this year. 

I do need to remind everyone it is important to remember this musical production is based on a “PG-rated” animated movie, and “PG” stands for “Parental Guidance Suggested – some material may not be suitable for children.”

See, the thing that made “Shrek” such a box office smash is it used a perfect marriage of bright, colorful characters, bodily function humor and action scenes, all perfect for the kiddos, mixed with double entendre and jokes that go flying right over their heads, all perfect for the adults.

There isn’t anything “dirty” in the show, but there are more than a few jokes revolving around bodily gas, as well as a few funny bits involving another word that can be used for Donkey.

It’s great fun that will most assuredly appeal to every member of the family.

Showtimes are 10 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m., depending on the date.

For more information, visit shrekbranson.com.

Last chance ‘to see, or not to see’ ‘Hamlet’ in the park 

The folks at Forte Theatre Productions LLC, the Branson Regional Arts Council and the City of Hollister are wrapping their 3rd annual Shakespeare in the Park production of their “rock version” of “Hamlet” Sunday and Monday at the Chad A. Fuqua Park in Hollister.

Due to a ridiculously busy schedule as of late, I haven’t been able to catch this production, but lucky for us, one of my Loyal Reader(s), Roberta Thompson, caught one of last weekend’s performances and decided to share her thoughts in an email.

“My husband and I attended Shakespeare in the Park ... in Hollister. We were hesitant Shakespeare fan’s, but this production changed us into full-fleged fans and such admirers of Forte Theatre Productions LLC and the Branson Regional Arts Council. 

“We have attended productions at Owen Theatre this year and have been pleased with each one. (The) production of ‘Rock Hamlet’ was outstanding!

“Josh Boulden’s portrayal of Hamlet could not be improved upon. Hamlet’s madness literally was felt by every patron in the audience and conveyed superb talent. 

“The cast was also extremely talented and choreography and direction was as well performed in our estimation of The Starlight Theater in Kansas City.”

“‘Hamlet’ deserves acclimation and outstanding reviews as a shining light in the Branson, Hollister summer repertoire. They truly deserve a large audience, appreciative of innovation in the standard fare that everyone has seen and ready to enjoy a ‘new look.’

“Anyone attending will not be disappointed.”

Well said Mrs. Roberta, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Show times for “Shakespeare in the Park’s Hamlet” are 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

Visit BransonArts.org/tix or call the Branson Regional Arts Council at 417-336-4255.

In case of a rain out, the show will move to the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown Branson.

‘Jammin’ For Jesus’ Sunday at Branson Famous Theatre 

One of my favorite monthly events, Jammin’ for Jesus, will take place Sunday, Aug. 4, beginning at 2 p.m. in the Branson Famous Baldknobbers Theater Jammin’ hosts are Brandon Mabe, Sheila Meeker and Jamie Layton. Others jammin’ will include Megan Mabe, Wanda Hughes, Brian Pendergrass and Carolyn Rowden.

You’ll also enjoy the talents of The Pathfrinders Quartet, Nemra & Darrell Rhoden, Carol Sanquinette-How and Saxophonist Gary Dooms.

Admission to Jammin’ for Jesus is free with a donation of nonperishable food items to benefit The Tri-Lakes Christian Motorcycle Association’s Lives Under Construction project.

Lives Under Construction is a Christian-based organization that believes in allowing boys a second chance in a structured farm family type of environment. It is their belief that Jesus always forgives, no matter what you have done in the past. Donations will be accepted.

I sure do love and respect organizer Phyllis Rotrock, and her show and ministry do so much good for so many people in this area.

The Branson Famous Baldknobbers Theater is at 645 South State Hwy 165.

For information, contact Rotrock at 417-336-5622.

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