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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a message via our Branson Tri-Lakes News Facebook page.
Now, let’s get to it.
‘Cooper,’ ‘Jubilee,’ ‘SDC’ more open this week
As the calendar begins to stretch into June, dozens of shows and attractions are set to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic. This week will see several of Branson’s “big shows and attractions” open.
Wednesday sees two of, in my humble opinion, the best productions as “Clay Cooper’s Country Express” and “Grand Jubilee” will return to their respective venues.
“Clay Cooper’s Country Express” again stars Clay Cooper, who has been a Branson mainstay for more than 30 years, his wife Tina, their sons Caden and Colt, comedian Matt Gumm, female vocalist Kari Garrison, the Third Power Trio of David Griffin, Jordan Dickison and Kaylee Riggins, nearly a dozen dancers and a seven-piece band led by R.P. Harrell.
I wasn’t able to catch the new show in March when it opened for the first time this year, so it is most assuredly high on my list.
“Grand Jubilee” again features Mike “The Golden Throat of the Ozarks” Patrick as emcee, along with the uber-talented comedian/musician/singer/entertainer Jamie “Jim Dandy” Haage, female vocalist Jackie brown, the New South Quartet featuring David Ragan, Jon Drockelman, Mark McCauley, Luke Menard, and the “Rhinestone Mafia,” consisting of steel guitarist and band leader Gene Mulvaney, keyboard player Michael W. Davis, bassist Larry Allred, drummer Rob Blackburn, guitarist Chad Cathell and fiddler Wayne Massengale.
Fortunately, I was able to catch “Grand Jubilee” earlier this season, and believe me Loyal Reader(s), it’s fantastic. This year’s
“Jubilee” features a perfect blend of comedy and country, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel and patriotic tunes, performed by one of the most talented lineups in this, or any other town.
Be sure and put this on your list, as it will be quite a difficult task to top this year’s “Jubilee.”
The “Grand Jubilee” show takes the Grand Country Music Hall stage Monday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Visit grandcountry.com for more.
In addition to two awesome shows, Wednesday will also see the reopening of the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure.
According to a release, they “will be following CDC Guidelines and State of MO protocols, including mandatory face masks for anyone over the age of 4, which they will provide, limited capacity, social distancing and proper hygiene stations located throughout.
Also, they will not be holding the scheduled butterfly releases or critter encounters, but nectar flowers will still be available for guests and will be sanitized after each use.
Another important thing to remember is no advanced tickets on their website or through other vendors until capacity restrictions are no longer in place, thus all tickets are available at the door.
Thursday afternoon the new 2020 edition of the “New South Gospel” show returns to Grand Country.
In addition to “The Boys” of New South, David Ragan, Jon Drockelman, Mark McCauley and Luke Menard, and the Grand Band, this show also features Jackie Brown and Jamie Haage, as well as the awesomeness of “Mr. Piano” Tracy Heaston.
This two-hour “southern gospel extravaganza” stretches from the “early roots of southern gospel to the hand-clapping gospel hits of today, from the Jordanaires to Bill Gaither.”
“New South Gospel” is performed every Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m.
“Branson Country USA” returns Friday night with special guest star Clay Cooper (See page 3B for more).
Thursday night the newly remodeled and renovated Branson Star Theatre unveils its “biggest show,” Stevie Lee Woods’ “Nashville Roadhouse,” also featuring Kathie Baillie & The Boys, at 8 p.m.
According to Woods, “Nashville Roadhouse” will also feature national touring acts, starting Thursday night with the Swon Brothers, who appeared on “The Voice.”
The Swon Brothers, Zach and Colton, gained national exposure as finalists on NBC’s “The Voice,” and released their self-titled major-label debut the following year. The album’s first single, “Later On,” was the duo’s first Top 15 hit. The brothers have also received CMA and ACM Award nominations for “Vocal Duo of the Year,” as well as a CMT Music Award nomination for “Duo Video of the Year.”
They have also joined Brad Paisley on his Country Nation World Tour and Carrie Underwood on her Storyteller Tour, and constantly tour on their own, treating their loyal fans to “Swoncerts” everywhere.
According to a recent social media post, the band Blackfoot will perform at the Branson Star June 2 and 3.
The venue is also home to a smaller theatre featuring daily shows including “The Kenny Rogers Experience featuring Rick McEwen,” “Women of Country Music,” “Fusion: Where Metal meets Classical,” “That 80’s Rock Show (With Love),” and “HardRock Nite,” featuring Chip Znuff from Enuff Znuff, as well as a full bar with live entertainment.
Visit bransonstartheater.com for more.
Finally, Saturday morning sees Silver Dollar City open to season pass holders. The park will open June 15 for everyone else.
In addition to required reservations and touchless temperature checks, masks will also be required for anyone over the age of 3.
The park, which is set to celebrate the 60th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary in 2020, was originally scheduled to open March 17, but that date was delayed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the park opens Saturday, so to will the all-new Rivertown Smokehouse, as well as the new Cinnamon Bread Bakery. The highly anticipated Mystic River Falls river raft ride is set to open “later this summer.”
Visit silverdollarcity.com for more.
The Americana Theatre’s “CJ Newsom’s Classic Country and Comedy” returns June 14, while June 15 sees the debut of the Ruby Room Theatre & Lounge at the Majestic, which will house “Dancing in the Streets – a Motown Revue” and “Doo Wop & the Drifters.”
June 15 and 16 sees Branson’s largest water park, White Water, open for season pass holders only.
The general public will be able to visit beginning Wednesday, June 17.
White Water is also set to have similar guidelines as those put in place for Silver Dollar City, including a contactless temperature scan prior to entry, reduced daily capacity limits, capacity adjustments for rides and restaurants and a requirement to wear a mask or face covering.
One of Branson’s biggest shows, Sight & Sound’s “Noah,” their “first Biblical epic production,” is set to return Tuesday, June 16.
The show itself features several dozen performers, more than 100 live, animatronic and puppeted animals, and a 40-foot-high Ark that is built right before our eyes.
‘Mansion of Dreams,’ ‘Acrobats’ back June 19
Last week two shows, “Mansion of Dreams” at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center & Theatre and “Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai” at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre, announced a return date of June 19.
Last weekend, illusionist Rick Thomas announced via his newsletter the “Mansion of Dreams” show would return to the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center & Theatre June 19.
In addition to opening the show, Thomas and his crew at the venue are following all “health and safety standards recommended by the CDC.” In addition to new “social distancing” seating chart, or “COVID capacity” as I like to call it, the theatre is also making “modifications to the lobby, as well as how they interact with guests.”
The oldest of six children, Thomas started practicing magic at the age of 7. By the time he was 13, Thomas was performing magic shows for small crowds. He went on to perform at the Disneyland Hotel while attending Long Beach City College in California, as well as aboard cruise ships and in Europe before beginning an extended run in Las Vegas.
After performing more than 500 shows every year and honing his craft, Jimmy Osmond said he felt the time was right for Thomas to come to Branson, which he did in 2014.
Thomas has also been featured on numerous national TV specials, including “The World’s Greatest Magic” specials on NBC as well as his own special for ABC that aired in Asia.
“Mansion of Dreams” is a sentimental, passionate and even emotional journey into the mind and heart of Thomas, who shares who he really is, and what he truly loves each and every night on that stage, connecting with his audience the way few others can.
This is a fantastic show, and I’m stoked Thomas and company will be back soon.
As far as the “Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai” at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre, 2020 has forced many changes for the production.
Despite having their troupe stuck in China following the travel ban in February, the “Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai” opened earlier this year with “an all-new cast.” Obviously things changed when everything was forced to close, and as of press time, the only details I have are it will be their “biggest show ever” when the show returns June 19.
I’m very much looking forward to discovering exactly what they’re talking about, and as soon as I find out, I’ll pass it along to my Loyal Reader(s). Visit amazingacrobats.com.
Other shows set to open later this month include Showboat Branson Belle June 20, “Ozarks Gospel” at Grand Country June 21, “Legends in Concert” June 25 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, then “Ozarks Country” June 28 at Grand Country.July 1 will see “Parrotville” return to the Jim Stafford Theatre, as well as “The Sons of Britches” at the Little Opry Theatre. Branson’s Imax Entertainment Complex is also set to reopen July 1.
Last week we got word the “14th Annual Branson Elvis Festival” was being moved to April 7-11, 2021, but the good news was 2013 “Ultimate Elvis Champion” Dean Z is set to perform a special, one night only show, “Dean Z|Elvis Unplugged” at 8 p.m. Friday, July 10.
Due to social distancing requirements, only a limited number of seats will be available for this show.
This cat is one of the best entertainers working today, and the only way I can describe a Dean Z concert is to call it a “happening.” Do yourself a favor and go check this one out.
Call 417-339-3003 for tickets.
“Six” is set to return to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater July 13.
“Down Home Country” is slated to return Sept. 9
There are several shows and business which haven’t announced a return date, but as soon as they do, you can read all about it right here, or in Branson This Week, or at bransontrilakesnews.com.