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.
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Now, let’s get to it.
Dutton’s announce reopening plan in advance of weekend return
The long wait is coming to an end this weekend as a handful of Branson shows will open their doors for the first time since the majority of the nation went on lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak.
One of Branson’s most popular and well-known shows, “The Duttons,” return to the stage at the Dutton Family Theatre Saturday night and following that show, they’ll continue following a limited schedule with their next performance set for next Saturday, May 23.
“After so much time at home, we know many of you are eager to enjoy a visit to Branson to take part in the extraordinary musical and entertainment culture found here,” CEO Sheila Dutton said. “The Duttons are excited to get back to work and bring music back to Branson.”
Like most businesses in Branson, especially theaters, the Dutton family has been working closely with local officials on the best, and safest, way to reboot the live entertainment in Branson.
“Together, with knowledgeable individuals and local health and government authorities, we’re adding and considering several safety measures to do our part helping everyone stay well while we plan to re-open the Dutton Family Theater Complex,” Dutton continued. “We will also continue reaching out to our fans and travel partners to determine the best and safest procedures for our families, staff and guests.”
The Duttons also announced several other procedures they’ll be implementing, including physical distancing and capacity measures, personal cleanliness and safety including the installation of additional sanitizer stations, additional theater and facility cleaning, and additional guest and business partner information.
The Duttons are also adding more “screening and prevention support,” which includes the donning of masks while on property.
According to a release, “for now the Duttons have decided that masks will be worn by the staff and Dutton family members working in public areas, and they are requesting that guests please wear masks to their performances. While this is not a requirement, the Duttons ask that out of respect to that request, and in support of those in attendance that may be concerned, visitors bring their own masks and gloves with them.”
The release also stated disposable masks will be available for sale for guests attending the show.
Call 417-332-2772 for tickets and additional information.
The shows must go on in Branson
In addition to the Dutton Family Theatre, the Americana Theatre is also set to be a hotbed of activity this weekend.
Saturday afternoon sees the opening as the new show “Rock ‘N’ Roll Royalty” debuts at 2 p.m., followed by “Raiding the Country Vault” at 8 p.m.
The new “Rock ‘N’ Roll Royalty” show stars Radney “Little E” Pennington, Matthew Boyce and Chris Bustillos, and is called a musical experience “like no other, with tributes to Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John” and more.
“Rock ‘N’ Roll Royalty” takes the stage at 2 p.m.
Saturday night at 8 sees the return of “Raiding the Country Vault,” which features an ensemble cast performing favorites from Conway Twitty, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, George Strait and more.
Sunday at 2 p.m., “The Johnson Strings” will open their first season of shows at the Americana following several years at the Majestic.
The group of eight combines instrumental expertise on the violin, viola, cello, piano, upright bass, mandolin, and banjo, and tight family harmonies to perform everything from classical, bluegrass, and gospel.
Sunday morning, Jerry Presley’s God & Country Theatres will again host Cowboy Church at 10:30 a.m.
Ruby Room Theatre & Lounge sets June 15 opening date
According to a release I got earlier this week, one of Branson’s newest venues, the Ruby Room Theatre & Lounge at the Majestic is now set to open June 15.
The venue was originally scheduled to debut April 1, but the stay-at home measure wiped everything off the books, forcing ownership to come up with a new re-opening strategy.
“We were all set to launch with bookings lined up” owners Derek and Kay Ventura stated in the release. “We even had a bus reservation scheduled for our opening night cancel due to the pandemic. But Branson, now in recovery, has theaters starting to open, maintaining social distancing protocols while complying with state guidelines and we are following suit.”
The venue is slated to be a “showroom for rhythm & blues in Branson,” and will feature two shows, “Dancing in the Streets – a Motown Revue” and “Doo Wop & the Drifters,” – featuring Derek Ventura, an original member of The Drifters. Both shows will also star three of my personal favorites in Andre Shepard, Doc Hutchinson and Earl Lee. These cats are fantastic performers, and I absolutely love the fact all that great music will have a unique home.
“Things will start slow and crowds will be small but we think that travelers are ready to get on with life after lockdown. Theaters opening now are taking that wait and see approach and now we are too”
The Ruby Room, located on the third floor of the Majestic, will seat 80 people.
Keep reading the Branson Tri-Lakes News for more on this story as information becomes available.
Memorial Day weekend and beyond
With next weekend being the Memorial Day holiday weekend, several more shows are also getting ready to open.
The evening of May 22 will see the Branson Ferris Wheel reopen at the Tracks Family Fun Parks.
According to their website, not all Tracks “locations/attractions will be open from the start,” but ownership hopes “for our more standard operating schedule in the days and weeks to come.”
Late last week, one of the area’s bigger stars, Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff, announced he would be opening his new 2020 show at 2 p.m. May 22, but he’d be doing it at a new venue, the Caravelle Theatre.
Memorial Day Weekend will also see one of Branson’s oldest attractions, the Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead and Adventure Park, open two shows. The “WhoDunnit Hoedown – A Murder Mystery Dinner Show” at the Shepherd of the Hills’ Playhouse Theatre returns May 22, followed by the “Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama” May 23, which kicks off the 60th anniversary of the “Outdoor Drama” being performed on the property.
Ventriloquist Todd Oliver returns May 31. Inspiration Tower and the Shepherd’s Mill Restaurant are currently open. Visit theshepherdofthehills.com.
May 22 will see the return of the “Pierce Arrow Decades” show at the Pierce Arrow Theatre, followed by “Pierce Arrow Gold” May 23.
At the Hamner Variety Theatre, the “Hamners Unbelievable Variety Show” is set to return May 23, followed by “Thank You For the Music: A Modern Tribute to Abba,” as well as the “Beach Boys California Dreamin’” shows May 26.
The Branson Central Theatre’s new show “Escape Reality Magic Illusion Dinner Show” will debut in Branson Friday afternoon, May 22.
Dinner is served promptly at 5 p.m., followed by the show at 5:45 p.m.
This show stars Garry and Janine Carson, who headlined shows at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas.
“The Comedy & Music of Steve Moris Lunch Show,” also at Branson Central, opens June 5.
Call 417-231-4112 for more.
May 23 will see the return of the shows at the King’s Castle Theatre, including the debut of the all new “Anthems of Rock” show, which premieres at 8 p.m. According to a release, “Anthems of Rock” will deliver “an outstanding show of No. 1 hits from the some of most famous bands of the 20th century, including Queen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, Journey, Aerosmith, and more.
The show is also slated to feature tributes to Elton John’s film “Rocket Man,” as well as the award winning film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which highlighted the life and times of Queen and their flamboyant front man, Freddie Mercury.
Tunes from other artists include Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Pink Floyd, Chicago.
May 24 at 2 p.m. will see “New Jersey Nights” open, followed by the opening of “Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies” at 10 a.m. May 26, then “Broadway’s Greatest Hits” Friday, May 29.
Many more shows have also announced return dates past the holiday weekend. May 29 will see “Amazing Pets” return to Grand Country, followed by “#1 Hits of the 60s” June 2 at the Clay Cooper Theatre, “Parrotville” June 3 at the Jim Stafford Theatre, “Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers” at the Branson Famous Theatre, as well as “Clay Cooper’s Country Express” June 5 and “The Haygoods” June 6, both at the Clay Cooper Theatre. “Grand Jubilee” returns to Grand Country June 10, followed by “New South Gospel” June 11, and “Branson Country USA” June 12.
“Legends in Concert” will open June 25 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater.
Other shows and events that have already been rescheduled include the 2020 Branson Music & Arts Festival June 20 and 21 at the Big Cedar Lodge amphitheater on Table Rock Lake, as well as the Branson Elvis Festival, set for July 10-12 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater.
The “Inaugural Goldwing Express Bluegrass Music Festival” at Treasure Lake RV Park in Branson, originally set for April, will now take place Sept. 10-12.
Email email@example.com for tickets and more information.
The “Braschler Family Reunion Show,” originally set for April 5 at the Hamner Variety Theatre, will now take place Sept. 13. Call 417-334-4363 for more.
The May 30 opening of the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, which was slated to see Justin Moore and Tyler Farr, hitmakers with ties to this area, has been rescheduled. Visit blackoakmountainamp.com.
The annual Branson Terry Music Awards is now set for Nov. 15 at the Branson Famous Theatre.
Keep reading the Branson Tri-Lakes News for more on all show, theatre and attraction reopening information.