The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Best of Branson

February 3, 2012

Dave Woods: Winter rehearsals lead to traditional preview

BRANSON Mo. — It was 18 years ago that a group of Branson show producers and performers came together to put on a show. Not just any show ... a Big Show.

“The theater owners in Branson got together and said, ’We’re here in February putting together the new shows and new acts for the spring season, so let’s do a little debut,’” said Lynn Berry, who promotes Branson for the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “’Let’s give all the folks who love Branson entertainment a good excuse to get away for some hot winter fun.’ Those were exactly the words they used.”

Almost two decades later, Branson’s Hot Winter Fun celebration kicks off with the Big Show, a variety review featuring performers who open their season early. The Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre will host this year’s event.

“This is going to be our biggest Hot Winter Fun schedule of events ever,” Berry said.

Bob Leftridge of the Baldknobbers Jamboree will emcee the Big Show. Acts set to perform include Legends in Concert, a new offering from the Hughes Brothers, Grand Jubilee and Clay Copper.

“The Eagles tribute, Take it to the Limit, will be there and so will tributes to Marty Robbins and Hank Williams,” Berry said.


Production values

Berry said she’s excited about one unique upcoming event.

“When was the last time a U.S. Olympics trial was held in the Ozarks?” she asked. “Thirty of the U.S. National Ice Carving Association’s champion carvers are coming to Branson to compete for a spot at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.”

The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and will conclude at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Titanic Museum Attraction, 3235 West 76 Country Music Blvd. It’s free and open the public. The winners will share a $25,000 prize and get a shot at Olympic fame.

“Most of our theaters and attractions have new acts and shows and new exhibits this year,” said Berry. “You will see a new show called ‘It’ at the Hughes Brothers Theatre this season. The folks at the Dinosaur Museum and Haunted House attraction are moving to a new location, too. What more do you want?”

Sight and Sound Theatre’s new Branson production of “Joseph” opens in April. Berry said she is thrilled to have the new Biblical tale on stage in Branson.

“We like to call Christian Broadway,” she said. “They have chosen to tell the story of Joseph on stage in 2012 and 2013. It’s an incredible production. You can always count on Sight and Sound to put on a marvelous show with great production values and live and animatronics animals. It’s going to be a real hit.”

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