You can get in the holiday spirit by taking a short trip to Branson. We just returned from our 2nd trip this year and enjoyed a 4 day Branson Christmas.
Our first and last stop was the Whitehouse Theatre and two great shows featuring Olathe's very own Joe Tinoco and his beautiful wife Tamra Holden.
The Magnificent 7 was the fist show and we arrived early to enjoy the optional dinner. Served in a country club style setting at a reasonable cost, it's a sure bet. A player piano kept a festive mood. The Magnificant 7 Show was half regular variety show and half Christmas program. A talented group of entertainers join Joe and Tamra to make the show a pure delight. 15-year-old singing sensation Amanda was terrific as was the rest of the cast.
Our last night in Branson was also spent with Joe and his Saturday Night Jubilee Showcase This show is similar and just as good as Nashville's Grand Old Opry. Everyone driving to Branson should catch one of the 4 shows Joe offers at the Whitehouse.
Other Highlights of the trip are:
1. Jimmy Osmond's American Jukebox Show was very entertaining and provided a fast-paced musical tour up and down memory lane. In addition to many songs from the 40's up to present time, this show has magic and comedy. David and Denise Hammer do magic and a 10 exotic bird act that sends multicolored large birds over and around the audience. Jim Barber is one of the funniest comedian/ventriloquists I have ever seen. My favorite character he brings to life if Chico Pete, a bug eyed Mexican Chihuahua. Nephew Doug Osmond assists uncle Jimmy in marketing and performing. The flashback dancers add pizzazz to the show.
2. Down at Andy William's Moon River Theatre the Osmond brothers perform a morning show. Merrill, Jay, and Wayne provide the festive holiday songs. Wayne is the joker who kept me in stitches with his rapid-fire jokes. How appropriate it is to be performing at Andy's place, the guy to gave the Osmonds their start over 40 years ago.
3. Next up was a day at Silver Dollar City with 72-degree weather, which made for a perfect outing. Of the many shows available, my favorite was the new Dickens Christmas Carol musical. The remarkable sets, special effects and superb cast made for a breathtaking presentation. Imagine the ghost of Marley flying over your head and other ghosts emerging from the fireplace and from inside the bed. I also loved the Cajun Connection Christmas show. When darkness fell, over four million lights Illuminated the park and a 5-story Christmas tree came to life with lights and music. Dinner in the Old Mine with tin plates was a gourmet buffet treat.
4. After a fantastic day at Silver Dollar City, it was time for more shows in town. The Welk Christmas show was one of the best holiday shows in Branson. The Lennon sisters (Cathy, Janet and Mimi) performed flawlessly backed by the 12-piece Welk orchestra. John Bahler (Janet's husband) is the bandleader. A talented group of performers from the Lawrence Welk show joined in including Ralna English, Mary Lou Metzger, Dick Dale and "Big Tiny Little jr." (who made the piano jump).
5. Dan Lennon, a long time friend made sure we made it to the Lennon Brothers Morning Swing Show. This long running show has evolved from a temporary set up in the Stage Door restaurant at the Welk Theatre to a large production show at the Jim Stafford Theater. The lively holiday show features brother Dan, Bill, Joe and Gail (Bill's lovely and talented wife). Holiday songs, comedy and excellent band music make this a show to remember. Dan just joined the Branson Chamber to help promote this great family vacation destination.
The town is decorated with many thousands of Christmas lights and special events such as a drive through trail of lights at Shepard of the Hills. Catch the Christmas spirit by taking a short drive to Branson before the season winds down. Check out our own Olathe Bus trip offered by Joe Tinoco's group. Call Barb Brunswick at 913-781-4012 for info on the trip Nov 28-30th. Most shows run 3 times a day:
Morning shows: 9 or 10 a.m.
Afternoon shows: 2 or 3 p.m.
Evening shows: 7 or 8 p.m.
You have over 80 shows to choose from featuring all kinds of music: pop, country, rock-n-roll, Broadway hits, classical and Gospel.