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 email@example.com, or send me a message via our Branson Tri-Lakes News Facebook page.
Now, let’s get to it.
Debbie & Gordy’s ‘Country Legends’ show
Thursday afternoon I eased by Jackie B. Goode’s Uptown Cafe & Dinner Theatre to catch Gordy and Debbie Wensel’s latest show, “Country Legends.”
For well over a decade, the Wensels have headlined the wildly successful “A Tribute to George Strait Dinner Show” at the venue, and once an afternoon slot opened, Gordy told me they jumped at the chance to install “Country Legends,” a show which has been a hit for them on the road in places like Texas, Arizona and Florida the past few seasons.
First things first, this is a lunch show, and the dining experience was exceptional. The menu options are a prime rib sandwich, which Debbie, Gordy and our server all raved about, pork tenderloin, soup and salad, grilled ham and cheese, and of course, a personal favorite, the double steak burger, which did not disappoint.
Every meal also comes with a beverage and dessert. Plus, the Uptown also offers beer, wine and pre-mixed cocktails for an additional charge.
Once lunch is in the books, the show kicks off, and Loyal Reader(s), not only did they deliver on a promise of two hours filled with country legends, but the show is intimate, interactive and informative.
From Hank Williams to George Jones, Loretta Lynn to Patsy Cline and everyone in between, Debbie and Gordy do their best to cram in as many of the most iconic and “signature” country music tunes as possible, and every song they play one could argue are among the best.
On a personal note, their tribute to Ray Stevens was both unexpected and awesome.
One of the things I appreciated is, for the most part, they don’t cut verses and choruses to try and squeeze a whole bunch of songs in a limited amount of time. There’s a reason why these are signature songs from the best artists of all time, and this husband and wife duo give the tunes the respect they deserve.
So, I’ve covered the meal, the atmosphere and the contents of the show, now I get to brag on the stars of the show. Not only are Debbie and Gordy great entertainers on their own, they also sound fantastic together.
Their charisma is unlimited, and they look like they’re genuinely having a great time doing what they love.
There’s a reason why these two have been successful over the last decade, and it truly shows during this show.
Showtimes for “Country Legends” is 1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
Visit bransonuptown.com for a full list of shows and performers at the venue.
This week’s openings
Lots to unpack for this week’s openings, so let’s go ahead and get to it.
First off, the “Buckets ‘N’ Boards” show returned to the Dick Clark American bandstand Theater last week. This show is unique, fun and fantastic, and I’ll be visiting them soon.
Visit buckentnboards.com for more.
Saturday sees the “entertainment experience” known as the Showboat Branson Belle return to the waters of Table Rock Lake. I caught the 2020 edition of the “Showboat” earlier this year, and everything is as awesome as you’d expect.
Sunday evening finds “The Stutterettes,” Tammy and Tonya Bilyeu, open the “Ozarks Country” show at Grand Country. The show, which is performed every Sunday evening at 7 p.m., celebrates some of the greatest country music of all time, with a few “contemporary” hits thrown in for good measure.
“Ozarks Country” is headlined by Tammy and Tonya, who grew up performing with their family in Branson’s founding show, “The Baldknobbers Jamboree.” After that, they went on to perform with Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis for more than a decade as “The Stutterettes.”
Once the ladies signed on to perform at Grand Country, they began building one of the most solid top-to-bottom bands anywhere in Ozark Mountain Country. In addition to their awesome family-style harmonies, the ladies tapped longtime Branson favorite John Lance to join them.
Lance, a singer/songwriter, started his “Branson careers” in 1991 with Ray Stevens, followed by stints at “Country Tonite” and Clay Cooper. His voice is extremely smooth, and very easy to listen to, whether he’s singing gospel or classic country.
This year, the show is also welcoming their cousin and longtime Branson favorite Tim “Droopy Drawers Jr.” Mabe to the cast. Mabe’s fathers and uncles started performing shows in 1959, and Tim joined the show in 1985 as a guitar player. Shortly after, he began performing as “Droopy Drawers Jr,” a character he played during the show until last season.
Mabe is also a part of the “Ozarks Gospel” show, also starring Tammy and Tonya, which kicks off at 2 p.m. Sundays.
“We’re excited to have our cousin, Tim Mabe, in the shows this year,” said Tammy Bilyeu. “Having traditional Ozarks’ comedy that ‘Droopy Drawers Jr’ brings to the stage is just one more way we can provide a unique entertainment experience for our visitors.
“‘Droopy Drawers Jr’ is truly a beloved character.”
“It also feels right to be together on stage,” Tonya Bilyeu added. “All three of us performed in the ‘Baldknobbers Jamboree Show’ and have fond memories of that shared experience as well as admiration for the music and comedy passed down through the generations.”
“Ozarks Gospel,” which takes the Grand Country stage each Sunday at 2 p.m. while the “Ozarks Country” show, performed every Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
Call 417-335-2484, or visit grandcountry.com for more information.
The first day of July will see several “big time” shows, attractions and businesses open.
Wednesday, July 1, sees “Parrotville” return to the Jim Stafford Theatre, “Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction,” as well as the Branson Imax Entertainment Complex, as well as many shows at the Little Opry Theatre.