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. 

‘Matt Gumm & Company’ Monday night at Clay Cooper’s  

One of Ozark Mountain Country’s most popular entertainers, and one of my personal favorites, is set to take  center stage as “Clay Cooper Country Express” standout Matt Gumm will host “Matt Gumm & Company,” a special variety show featuring himself, Thom “Gabby,” Sandy and Jamie Gumm, Travis Spratt, and the Country Express Band Monday night.

“To share the stage with my family and friends again, at my home theatre in Branson, is truly a dream come true,” Gumm said. “It’s the best of both worlds.”

According to Gumm, this will be an “over-the-top, all-ages, family-friendly, variety show”” featuring two hours of comedy, impersonations, and “power-house vocals” backed by Branson’s most talented band from Clay Cooper’s Country Express.

Gumm, a comedian, singer and musician, is originally from Lake of the Ozarks and got his start watching, then performing alongside, his father, “Gabby” Gumm, who has been a comedian for nearly 60 years.

“When I was 13, they put me in the show full time,” he said. “After I went to (Southwest Missouri State University) for a year, I got a call from Lee Mace’s Ozark Opry at Lake of the Ozarks. That show was an institution. 

“I was there for five years and learned so much. I call it my ‘Comedy College Years.’”

Gumm returned to work alongside his parents in 2003, and three years later, Clay Cooper was on vacation and caught Gumm’s act.

“He called me up the next day and asked me if I wanted to work with him in Branson,” Gumm said. “And I’ve been here ever since, and I just love it.”

Joining Matt is his father “Gabby” Gumm, who is celebrating his 50th year of bringing laughter and joy to the Lakes region. The younger Gumm attributes all he’s learned throughout his comedy and musical career to his father, and seeing them share the stage together in Branson is most assuredly something that doesn’t happen very often.

Along with Matt and Thom, Sandy Gumm, who is celebrating her 47 years performing in live music shows, brings her vocals, musicianship, and “an anointed spirit” through her emcee work and “contagious smile.”

Rounding out the lineup of Gumms is Matt’s sister Jamie, as well as standout vocalist and Branson favorite Travis Spratt, who performed with the elder Gumms at Lake of the Ozarks before moving to Branson and being a part of Pierce Arrow for many years.

Backing the Gumm family will be The Country Express Band, led by Musical Director RP Harrell, who also happens to be Matt’s father-in-law.

This show is sure to be a great time, and I highly advise checking it out.

Showtime is Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Clay Cooper Theatre.

Tickets available by calling the Clay Cooper Theatre box office at 417-332-2529, and there are also special rates for locals.

Labor Day at Silver Dollar City  

Labor Day weekend at Silver Dollar City will see the park stay open until 10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday night. With extended hours until 10 p.m. during the holiday weekend, this is the last opportunity for families to experience the awesomeness that comes along with night rides this summer, as well as take advantage of the Southern Gospel Picnic, which wraps Monday.

There aren’t many thrills as awesome as riding WildFire of Powder Keg under the cover of night, so if you’ve never done it, consider it a must.

Once the holiday weekend is in the books, the park will continue “The year of Shows and Festivals” with Country Music Days events, is set for Sept. 6-22. 

For 13 days, the park will feature country music entertainers at several venues, a special presentation of “Billy Yates’ Hit Songwriters in the Round,” and three “big name” concert events at Echo Hollow Amphitheatre, starting with hitmaker Steve Wariner Sept. 7, followed by Shenendoah Sept. 14, then Sawyer Brown Sept. 21. 

In addition to Yates and the big names at Echo Hollow, the park will see some of my favorite local acts taking the Silver Dollar City stages throughout the park with Missouri Plowboys, Eastern Heights, Makenna and Brock, Matt Gumm, Next of Kin, Renata and Justin Terry.

Then, beginning Sept. 25, the park’s new $2 million addition, Pumpkin Nights, is set to light up the fall sky through Oct. 26.

For a full schedule of events, visit silverdollarcity.com.

‘Million Dollar Quartet’ back at the Welk  

One of Branson’s coolest shows, “Million Dollar Quartet,” is returning to the Welk Resort Theatre for a fall run beginning Thursday night.

“Million Dollar Quartet” is a Tony-award winning Broadway musical that tells the story of “the father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Sam Phillips secretly recording an impromptu jam session at the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, Sun Records. On Dec. 4, 1956, music icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins all found themselves in the studio through fate and circumstance. As they began singing and playing, Phillips slipped into the control room and started recording something he knew was special. 

It’s one of Branson’s most unique shows, and it gets better every time I see it.

‘Steel Magnolias’ at 

the Owen Theatre  

The folks at the Branson Regional Arts Council will debut “Steel Magnolias” at the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown Branson with shows Aug. 29 through Sept. 1. 

“Steel Magnolias” is a comedy-drama about the bond among a group of Southern women set primarily in Truvy’s Beauty Salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where a tight-knit group of ladies come to have their hair done. Their conversations are both hilarious an heartbreaking as the realizations of the love, family, life and death hit home.

The cast will feature Amy Miller as “Truvy Jones,” Kristen Dasto as “Annelie Dupuy-Desoto,” Julie Musser as “Claire Belcher,” Kellsey Bradley as “Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie,” Mindy Law as “M’Lynn Eatenton, and Roz Slavik as the cantankerous “Ouiser Boudreaux.”

I still quote the “Steel Magnolias” movie to this day, and I just can’t see any way this one isn’t a massive hit.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Aug. 29, 30 and 31, as well as Sept. 1, and 2 p.m. Aug. 30 and 31.

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen to open Monday

Celebrity chef Paula Deen’s new restaurant, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, a new 15,696 square-foot space, is set to open Monday, complete with an appearance by Deen herself.

“Opening a door to a new restaurant never gets old,” Paula Deen said in a release. “ I had the opportunity to visit Branson and I knew it would be a perfect fit .”

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen aims to capture the elegance and history of Savannah, Georgia. Deen’s first restaurant, The Lady & Sons, officially opened in downtown Savannah in January 1996 after having roots as a lunch delivery service out of Deen’s home beginning in 1989. 

“I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing success of Lady & Sons and Family Kitchen and look forward to this new partnership,” Deen said.

According to the restaurant’s website, folks will be given the option of two or three proteins, including fried chicken, smothered pork chops, ribs and more, as well as a “lengthy list of sides,” including mac and cheese, greens, butter beans and more. Visit pauladeensfamilykitchen.com.

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