The winter season may still be upon us, but in Branson they’re ready to heat things up with some sizzling shows. The Branson show season is gearing up to kick off another season, with many shows already in production. The Branson Show Schedule is already looking full as everything from country shows to magic shows begin another exciting season.

If you’re looking to visit Branson, Missouri in the next couple of weeks, you’ll be glad to hear of all the spectacular shows currently being performed.

Country Shows

The fabulous Dixie Stampede begins their new season on February 29th. This season’s show has a new addition, Texas Longhorns, which are sure to bring a whole new level of excitement to the show.

Branson’s famous Baldknobbers bring their brand of family fun, comedy and music to the stage for another great season of Family Tradition. Their show season begins March 7th.

Grand Jubilee is an infectious show featuring a talented quartet performing country, gospel, 50’s classics and more. Their show is currently open.

Ozark Mountain Jubilee is a show centered on tradition. It features family friendly entertainment complete with music, comedy and real good time! Their show is currently open.

Country Tonite has been a fan favorite for years, and it’s easy to see why. This Branson show dazzles audiences with its country hits, dancers and musicians. Country Tonite in Branson opens March 7th.

Roy Rogers Jr. & the High Riders take guests back to the days when Cowboys were king and horses were the favored mode of transportation. This charming tribute show features the music of Roy Rogers as well as Dusty’s treasured memories of his parents.

Pierce Arrow is a top-rated vocal group whose talented singers create harmonies unlike any other. Their show is a can’t miss on the Branson Show Schedule. Pierce Arrow is open now.

The Branson Brothers is a unique show combining the stylings of a male quartet along with the music of a female vocalist. Their show has an all new format this year, so be sure to check it out! The Branson Brothers season begins February 28th.

Magic Shows

The Hamner Barber Magical Variety show features the award winning illusions of The Hamners, the amazing vocal comedy of ventriloquist Jim Barber, and a talented cast of dancers and singers. Their show is now open.

Kirby VanBurch is the Prince of Magic, evident in his amazing illusions and magical tricks that are performed throughout his show. Families will especially love this production, open now!

Comedy Shows

Comedy Jamboree is a throwback to classic comedy hours, where the gags don’t stop and the laughs keep coming. You might even get to participate in the show. Comedy Jamboree is performing now.

Jim Stafford is a talented comedian who keeps Branson visitors in stitches with his hilarious songs and many jokes. The Jim Stafford show is full of surprises and is open now.

Variety Shows

Magnificent 7 Show is a great combination of hits from yesterday and today. Comedy, dance and over 50 musical productions take place during this exciting show. Magnificent 7 is open now.

Legends in Concert features an amazing line-up of impersonators who pay tribute to everyone from Elvis to Garth Brooks. The performers at Legends will make you believe they’re the real thing. Legends in Concert is open now.

Spirit of the Dance is a classic Branson favorite. Their unique and skillful interpretation of beautiful dance numbers includes numbers from all stylings, including Irish Dance to Flamenco. Spirit of the Dance opens March 6th.

Red, Hot & Blue! is a ragtime era show that takes families on a journey through the decades of music. The music, dance and comedy of this show are unlike any other. They open March 1st.

For the first time in more than a decade, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner attraction introduces a new show segment, highlighted by a rare indoor stampede of Texas longhorn steers.
“I can’t imagine a better way to kick off my Dixie Stampede show than with a herd of amazing longhorns,” Parton said. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I know the audience is going to enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience as much as I do.”
In a feat rarely attempted in an indoor arena, Dixie Stampede treats audiences to a live and up-close experience with a herd of authentic Texas longhorns. Each steer weighs up to 1800 pounds and has a horn length of six to eight feet from tip to tip. Relying on the mystery and magic of the era’s popular folklore, Dixie Stampede opens the show and treats audiences to a dramatic depiction of settlers destined for the wild frontier. Highlights include a poignant appearance by a Native American medicine man who calls on the “Spirit of the Bird,” setting the stage for a spectacular aerialist suspended high above the arena, complete with new music and lighting created especially for the show-stopping performance.
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is a unique dinner and show experience set in an 85,000-square-foot facility featuring 32 magnificent horses, dozens of cast members, ostrich races, illusions, music and more, all showcased in a friendly rivalry between the North and the South. With seating to accommodate 1,000 guests, the show is highlighted by a four-course meal. Pre-show entertainment includes a 30-minute bluegrass show performed by the house band in the facility’s Carriage Room.
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner and show operates in three locations: Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Branson, Mo.
Press Release and Image courtesy of Dixie Stampede
March Events for Branson, Missouri
March 1, 2008 – March 17, 2008
A celebration of Gaelic traditions and music.
March 6, 2008 – March 8, 2008
Times: Thurs. 7:00 p.m.; Fri. 9 a.m., 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Sat. 9:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.
Location: Faith Life Church: 3701 West Highway 76; Branson, MO 65616
Phone: 800-600-7395
Jump into faith. hope. love. health. wealth. Fullness of Blessing at the 2008 Branson Victory Campaign. Join us for total immersion in the Word of God with speakers Kenneth & Gloria Copeland.
March 7, 2008 – March 9, 2008
Phone: 417-334-1200
For 12 years, this first class consumer show has been hosting the areas leading companies in one location to bring you everything from home improvement, remodeling, landscaping, home security, kitchen and bath and so much more! For the first time in 12 years the Branson Tri-Lakes Building and Home Show will be held at the beautiful Branson Convention Center at the Branson Landing. This year could be one of the largest in number of vendors and attendees! Our three day event will include vendor booths, prizes, seminars and special guests.
March 12, 2008 – March 18, 2008
Location: Keeter Gymnasium at College of the Ozarks
Phone: 417-334-6411 ext. 4393
The Division II championship is a 32 team, single-elimination tournament featuring the champions of the Division II conferences, regional tournaments and at-large berths.
March 20, 21, 22 2008
March 27, 28, 30 2008
Times: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
March 29, 2008
Location: Mansion America Theatre
Phone: 918-624-2100 or 918-827-6529
The top three winners in each of the eleven categories will have their song featured on a CD that is distributed exclusively to music industry decision makers – record company heads, producers, A&R executives, music publishers, important artists and celebrities, agents, managers and others in the music industry. They listen! This contest offers unparalleled exposure for up-and-coming songwriters. It’s the songwriter”s springboard to success. Song categories are: Rock/Alt Rock, Pop, Country, Latin, Folk/Americana, Jazz, Contemporary Christian/Gospel, R&B/Blues, Dance, Rap/HipHop and World. New category Electronica/Soundtrack seeks entries to this growing niche.

Branson will, once again, grab a part of the cycling world spotlight in 2008.

“Branson has the unique opportunity once again to host the Tour of Missouri Time Trial on Sept. 10. If you combine world-class cycling along with our live entertainment, outdoor and lake recreation and our famous Ozarks hospitality, this really sets Branson apart,” said Ross Summers, President/CEO of the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

On Wednesday, Gov. Matt Blunt and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder announced the itinerary for the 2008 Tour of Missouri. The tour, spanning seven days and 623 miles, will begin Sept. 8 with a 90-mile road race from St. Joseph to Kansas City. Rolla, St. James, and Herman have been added as new stops but the Tour will return to Clinton, Springfield, Branson, Lebanon, Jefferson City, and St. Charles before concluding beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Last year’s Tour of Missouri had an economic impact of $26.2 million, demonstrating its value and benefits to Missouri. The estimated turnout was 367,566.

“The Tour of Missouri was an enormous success and generated a wave of energy that traveled across our state for a superb week of fun, entertainment and economic benefit,” Kinder said. “The Tour was six action-packed days of international professional cycling that was enjoyed by thousands of out-of-state visitors and by Missourians of all ages.”

Kinder said he anticipates the state’s share of race costs to again hover near the $1 million mark. He also expressed optimism that the race could attract a corporate title sponsor, something it lacked last year.“We expect to have more (corporate support) than last year and at a higher value,” he said.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

About 900 music lovers braved cold winter temperatures Tuesday night in search of Hot Winter Fun.

Almost 20 Branson acts joined forces for about a three-hour show at the Jim Stafford Theatre. The event has become an annual centerpiece of Hot Winter Fun, a key offseason marketing effort for the Branson-Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Branson meaning of offseason has changed during the Big Show’s 14-year run, according to host Jim Stafford. Stafford has hosted all but one of the 14 installments. Prior to the beginning of Hot Winter Fun almost a decade-and-a-half ago, most Branson shows went dark during winter months. During one of his early offseasons in Branson, Stafford drove past a local theater and noticed a parking lot full of cars. His vision: If local theaters are open, visitors will come.

Stafford’s been proven mostly right. While winter tourism numbers don’t approach peak season highs, more and more Branson attractions have adopted the year-round approach.

The Big Show takes a lot of volunteer effort to pull off. Jeannie Horton, general manager at Legends In Concert, has served as volunteer Big Show producer for several years. Horton started working on Tuesday’s show in November. She said it takes a great number of contacts to pull together a show involving so many Branson headliners.

Tuesday’s bill included show performers from Grand Jubilee, Comedy Jamboree, Legends In Concert, A Tribute to John Denver, Bob Nelson, Grand Old Gospel Hour, Up Close and Personal, 14 Karat Country, Rico J’s Hot Hits Experience, Clay Cooper, Jim Stafford, Penny Gilley, Circle B Chuckwagon Show, Island Fire, Branson Divas, New’s Country, Isle of Dreams, Red, Hot and Blue and The Magnificent Seven.

Tuesday’s show was moved from Monday because of bad weather. Frank and Mary Schwartz of Springfield reserved tickets and called Monday to cancel their reservations because of the ice storm. They cancelled their cancellation when they learned the Big Show had been moved a night later. They’re glad they did. Both praised the show and noted the event gives music lovers an opportunity to see unfamiliar acts. The Schwartzes have “been to a bunch” of previous Big Shows, Mary said. Tuesday night, she said, “We’re getting to see a lot of new acts we haven’t seen before.”

The Branson performers who donate their time to entertain Big Show spectators do so for more than one reason. The obvious one: artists are always on the lookout for new customers. But beyond the obvious, Tuesday’s artists by and large say they believe in helping each other and they believe in Branson tourism.

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

With 220,000 square feet of hospitality, the Branson Convention Center has exceeded projections in revenue as well as convention bookings.

General Manager of the convention center Mark Hartman reported to the Branson city aldermen that his marketing team booked $4.8 million of revenue into the convention center in 2007.

“I’d like to thank the city of Branson, the CVB and especially Ross Summer and Dan Lennon and the community, at large, for really helping us get off to a very good start in 2007,” Hartman told the aldermen.

He added that his marketing team had already booked 186 events for 2008.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Bill Tirone and his sales team — they were the number two team in the entire nation for The Hiltons. They booked 131 percent of their booking goal. They’ve done a great job in selling Branson and the Branson Convention Center,” Hartman said. “We still have 81 tentatives out there that we can close on — we also have some prospects in 2009.”

Hartman stated that their totals compare well to the CS&L study done. Their projection for the convention center with the hotel and lakeside, was to have 177 event days when the booking stabilized.

“In 2008, we’re already at 198 event days. Not only did we book $4.8 million in revenue (last year), one of our big focuses was to work on multi-year events so that when we finish up a year we don’t have to go back and resell that client,” Hartman said, explaining why he felt the years to come would stabilize.

The overall satisfaction rate from surveys done after a group had been to the convention center was at 86 percent with some of the sub-categories reaching 100 percent. The “Larger Meeting Planner Survey” asked what was the group’s likelihood of returning and their likelihood of recommending the convention center. It also asked how they felt about the sales negotiation process which showed a 100 percent from every convention polled. None of the responses were lower than 75 percent after August 2007.

The “Small Meeting Planner Survey” showed even higher results.

Some of the perks to conventioneers that contribute to that satisfaction are cutting-edge meeting technology such as LCD screens outside the meeting rooms, video conferencing, optional sound-proof rooms and wireless Internet communications packages.

The convention center is within walking distance from Historic Downtown Branson and the Landing as well as a short drive to all the entertainment venues offered in the area, which the sales team uses to “sell Branson.”

The marketing team ventures out on a Trade Show schedule that includes 22 events, selling Branson as a destination.

Hartman reported that they’ve had a total of 76,000 visits to their Web site — each month it has grown.

“One of the key things about the Web site is that RFPs (request for proposals) for the convention center in 2007. We had over 90 customers that looked at the Web site and found Branson to be interesting and asked for a request for a proposal to be sent to them for their group. I think we booked seven events so far, and we still have plenty of prospects,” Hartman said.

Alderman Steven Marshall asked Hartman how much of the business the team has brought to the convention center is new to Branson.

“I would guess about 60 percent. I think there are people out there that have looked at Branson but haven’t thought about using (Branson for a convention) until the convention center came up,” Hartman responded. “One that comes to mind is the Republican Convention. I think that by having a center here, it drew them here, whether or not they use it — it will bring a lot of vitality and opportunity to Branson.”

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

This summer America could be reminded of the talent that Branson has got.

America’s Got Talent” will be making its way to Branson for a showcase on February 20, where more Branson natives will be scouted to follow in the footsteps of The Duttons, Johnny Lonestar and Jason Pritchett.

“This is just another great opportunity for our entertainers to be nationally noted for their talents,” Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce director of public relations, Lynn Berry said.

Entertainers wanting to audition to try and win the show’s $1 million prize are asked to send a message to agtprocasting@gmail.com.

The email should include a phone number, a picture of the interested performer or group, a description of the act, the city where the entertainers live, a Web site or Myspace address and any other interesting information about the performer.

In the last two years “America’s Got Talent” has succeeded in bringing back the variety format to the forefront of American culture, by showcasing a colorful array of hopeful future stars including singers, dancers, comedic performances and other unique acts featuring performers of all ages.

Last year the Tri-Lakes Area received an immeasurable amount of publicity from the program as Branson alum strutted their stuff on stage in front on millions of viewers each week.

After the taping of the show concluded, a number of the entertainers featured on the program made their way to Branson to perform in a series of special shows at the Dutton Family Theater.

Tourism officials are hoping the show gives a similar boon to the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” in 2008.

“I think at one time, five out of 20 acts on the show were from Branson,” Berry said. “This will hopefully just be another opportunity for the rest of the world to find out what all Branson has to offer.”

Information courtesy of Branson Daily News

Live Shows

Sight & Sound Theatre, opening May 24, presents NOAH – The Musical. This “Christian Broadway” production is an amazing bible-based show with more than 50 live animals and 50 animatronics animals and a 4-story reproduction of the Ark.

Andy Williams and Ann-Margret perform together at the Moon River Theatre June 6 through July 26. The new Andy Williams Variety Show opens September 5 through October 27. The variety show will be patterned after his Emmy-Award winning television shows and will have up to 6 different specialty acts performing with Andy.

There is a new morning show at Andy Williams Moon River Theatre. “The Entertainers” perform everything from dueling banjos to Phantom of the Opera, Motown to bluegrass, all by local musicians who are “stars” in their own right, from other shows in Branson.

The Oak Ridge Boys will open in their new theatre on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway. Country Tonite will move to the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre. Dalena Ditto’s Country Variety Show will perform at the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre, April through December.

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre welcomes Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers to their stage in a morning show. Dick Clark’s American Bandstand complex opens up Area ’57 with special events, such as BransonFest 2008, April 8-12, and more planned throughout the year.

Justin Flom and the Imaginary Theatre will feature Branson Divas and the Emmy award-winning comedian Bob Nelson.

Bobby Vinton will be performing at The Mansion this November and Tom Mullica as Red Skelton is appearing at The Mansion.

At the Welk Resort Theatre, The Rankin Brothers Classic Music Revue will debut in March and run through December. Matt and Mark Rankin, along with their cast of outstanding musicians and performers, will present timeless, classic hits covering six decades of music. The Welk Stars Reunion is set for Sept. 3-7 and The Tillis Family Reunion, starring Mel Tillis & Pam Tillis, will return from Sept. 16 through October 25. Tony Orlando’s annual Veterans Salute is Nov. 11 and he will join The Lennon Sisters for an all-new Christmas Celebration, November 1 through December 6.

Yakov Smirnoff welcomes country star Joe Diffie to Yakov’s theatre in September. Shows will feature his friends and family members, as well as comedian Paul Harris.

Attractions

The internationally-awarded 1880s-style theme park Silver Dollar City launches its biggest festival year ever, with new original stage productions, performing groups, and festival showcases. New to open the Spring season: an Irish Celebration with World-Fest’s all new Irish production show, Feet of Fire, featuring authentic fire dancing. Then it’s Bluegrass & BBQ, celebrating Americana at its best with hundreds of award-winning bluegrass performances and fresh-off-the-grill foods. Summer brings family adventures at the park’s biggest Kids Fest ever, presenting a nationally-recognized slate of entertainment with The Magic of Peter Gossamer, a Kid Concoctions interactive world of play, a VeggieTales live stage show produced exclusively for Silver Dollar City, and even an Ice Circus with skating performers from around the world. Fall’s Southern Gospel Picnic features the top traditional and contemporary entertainers in the genre; and the National Harvest Festival brings the largest gathering in America’s Heartland of demonstrating craftsmen, harvest-time foods and musical performances, plus special events: A Salute to the American Cowboy and an all-new Tribute to the American Farmer. An Old Time Christmas, nationally recognized by media from USA Today to Good Morning America and Southern Living as one of the best holiday light shows in America, dazzles with the 5-story, Special Effects Christmas tree and all-encompassing sound and light show on the Square and the all-new Frosty, an interactive show for kids.

Debuting in September, Silver Dollar City, long known as “Home of American Craftsmanship,” celebrates its roots with a very special project to highlight the theme park’s most authentic focus: the interactive art of demonstration. The new Silver Dollar City Culinary & Craft School is designed to pass along knowledge of America’s heritage through fine crafts, handiwork and culinary arts. Interactive classes will be held within the stylishly decorated and themed timberframe structure, set on a hillside within the City, with experts from top chefs to renowned craftsmen teaching culinary classes and craft seminars. Along with the seminars from national experts, Silver Dollar City Master Craftsmen will feature heirloom displays, multiple demonstrations and hands-on activities for take-home skills.

The Branson Entertainment Hall of Fame & Museum, located in the Branson Mall, honors those instrumental in Branson’s entertainment success and showcases historical items for public viewing daily.

Butterflies at Branson is a community-wide art exhibit that will be decorating the Branson area from March 29 until October 10. Area artists, including Yakov Smirnoff, will turn a huge fiberglass butterfly into a work of art to benefit a local charity.

Celebration City, Branson’s Biggest Nighttime Attraction, presents the biggest park expansion to date, and the largest new ride in the Ozarks for 2008. Roaring Falls, a $2 million water adventure ride, takes riders on a water-filled journey through fast-moving rapids and features a 5-story, 55-degree angle drop for an enormous splash finale. Celebration City is a 20th-century themed family amusement park featuring more than 30 rides and attractions including Ozark WildCat, a wooden roller coaster eight stories high. Celebration City hosts “Ignite the Night,” a spectacular multi-million dollar nighttime special effects show presenting a stunning finale to the day’s fun along with a boardwalk full of games, uniquely themed shopping and family-style dining.

There is new fun on the water at Gage’s Branson Landing Marina & Shoppes. Branson Landing Cruises offers daily excursions aboard the luxurious 100-foot yacht Landing Princess or the authentic paddlewheel riverboat Lake Queen in the midst of spectacular Branson Landing and Lake Taneycomo waterfront.

Tall Timber lumberjack show is moving to Hwy 76 West in 2008, located two blocks west of Silver Dollar City, across the street from Uncle Ike’s trail rides.

White River Fish House at Bass Pro Shops in Branson Landing sits on Lake Taneycomo. You can feast on local favorites like catfish and trout or enjoy a delicious hand-cut juicy steak, grilled to perfection. Come hungry for your next adventure at White River Fish House.

Developments

The new Branson Convention Center offers convention and conference goers 220,000 square feet of flexible space in a stunning, state-of-the-art setting. A curving, exposed timber pedestrian concourse gives visitors a pleasant view of the Lake Taneycomo waterfront as they travel between the center’s meeting and exhibit facilities and the adjacent Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel.

The Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel is located within walking distance of Historic Downtown Branson and the sprawling new Branson Landing shopping, dining and entertainment district. The new Hilton offers guests a chance to experience the pampered luxury of a metropolitan hotel in the heart of small town America. The 12-story hotel has 293 rooms, including 194 traditional rooms and suites, and 99 condotel units that will also be available for nightly rental.

There are two more championship golf courses in Branson – the Murder Rock course at Branson Creek and the Payne Stewart Tribute course at Branson Hills.

The Branson/Lakes Area community is looking forward to the first flight landing at the new Branson Regional Airport in May of 2009.

Information courtesy of Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce