The Branson Regional Arts Council is excited to announce that the Veterans Memorial Garden at the intersection of  Hwy 76 and Gretna Road in Branson, has dedicated the “Jean Cantwell Courtyard” in memory of our esteemed Arts Council founder and patron, Mrs. Jean Cantwell.

In a letter received this week, Ben Kinel, founder and administrator of the garden wrote the following to the Arts Council…

We received a donation from you for the maintenance of the Veterans Memorial Garden here in Branson. We are so thankful for this generous donation.  It will be used to purchase a metal bench to go into the “Jean Cantwell Courtyard” in her honor.  It is nice folks like you that help to make the garden so beautiful for visitors, and especially veterans and their families to enjoy.”
Ben Kinel, Founder and Administrator

“We were honored to be asked to participate in this wonderful tribute to Jean Cantwell, who sadly, passed away on March 20th in 2018,” said BRAC Executive Director Jim Barber. “Jean did so much to promote and develop the arts, not only in the Ozarks, but across the entire State of Missouri as one of the initial developers of the Missouri Arts Council. Her guidance, enthusiasm and support made it possible last January for the Arts Council to merge with another organization she help initiate, Tri-Lakes Community Theatre (TLC), and that synergy allowed us to quickly build our community theatre program here at the Historic Owen Theatre. I’m thankful that Ben Kinel and our mutual supporter Jerry Buckley invited our organization to help memorialize Jean’s influence in our community in this special way.”

Mr. Kinel added, “The volunteers who maintain the garden are using this time of year to add some perennial plants and take out some old worn out plants.  Also, we are reworking the beds, adding compost and fertilizer all over.  In a couple of areas we are replacing the original native rocks forming the stair-step beds with limestone landscaping blocks as funds allow. Also, we are adding a water drip system in a few beds each year.  The drip way of watering is much better than with a hose and labor saving too.”

In addition to the “Jean Cantwell Courtyard”, Mr. Kinel is also developing the “Honor Wall,” a sixteen foot long, six foot hight concrete block wall, that will hold metal plaques honoring veterans from all wars. The plaques come in three sizes, and anyone who would be interested in honoring a beloved veteran is invited to contact his organization for prices at , or by visiting their official website

General donation checks for the Veterans Memorial Garden project may be mailed to:

Veterans Memorial Garden
136 Rose O’Neill Dr.
Branson, MO 65616

The Branson Regional Arts Council announces open auditions for it’s next two productions… Into The Woods, and CHICAGOthe Musical.

Into the Woods Auditions

Auditions for the Forte Theatre Productions and Branson Regional Arts Council production of INTO THE WOODS
Date: February 8th – 7pm (Callbacks February 10th 1-4pm)
Place: Historic Owen Theatre , 205 S. Commercial Street, Branson MO

  • Please prepare a 16-32 measure cut of a song (up to 1:30) which matches the style of the show
  • You may sing from the show
  • Please bring recorded accompaniments
  • Head shots and resumes highly welcome

Cast will be announced February 11. Rehearsals will begin February 15. There will be some weekday daytime rehearsals.

If you have any questions, please email

Chicago – the Musical Auditions

Auditions for the Branson Regional Arts Council’s production of CHICAGO…
Dates: Monday, March 4 and Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 6:00-9:00 p.m. (Callbacks Wednesday March 6 & Thursday March 7 from 6-9pm)
Place: Historic Owen Theatre, 205 S. Commercial St, Branson, MO
NOTE: These auditions are for ages 18+ only. CHICAGO is rated PG-13.

Into The Woods will be presented at the Historic Owen Theatre April 4-15.

*Bring audition form and one copy of your head shot and resume.
*We greatly prefer a LIVE audition, but will accept video/online submissions if absolutely necessary. Please email online submissions to
*Ages 18 and up ONLY. Prepare TWO contrasting songs, one up-tempo and one ballad, in the style of Kander & Ebb. Please, no POP songs.
*An accompanist will be provided. We greatly prefer that you utilize the accompanist, but we will allow the use of tracks if absolutely necessary.
*Please bring a clean copy of your music, in the correct key, clearly marked, and preferably in a binder.
*Lead sheets WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. If using a track, the music must be in digital format. No CD’s or tapes allowed.

*All auditioning MUST attend the dance call AND have a singing audition, unless otherwise specifically arranged.
*MEN and WOMEN MUST bring proper dance attire and appropriate dance shoes. Please wear clothing that fits close to the body and shows off your physique. NO BAGGY CLOTHES. Ladies must wear 2 inch character shoes, and character shoes OR dance sneakers are required for men. NO OPEN TOED SHOES.
*You will be given the opportunity to change after the vocal audition.
*The audition combination(s) will be taught in groups.

Please contact the director, Lloyd Alexander-Holt, with any questions regarding auditions.

About Chicago

John Kander and Fred Ebb’s hit musical Chicago was based on the play of the same name by Maurine Dallas Watkins. A reporter in Chicago in the 1920s, Watkins covered the popular trials of two female murderers– Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan– who both blamed their actions on the negative effects of drink and jazz. At the time, female murderesses were media darlings, and following the two “jazz babies’” acquittal in 1924, Watkins wrote a satirical play, turning Gaertner into Velma Kelly and Annan into Roxie Hart. The play was produced in 1926 on Broadway, directed by George Abbott.

Broadway’s longest-running American musical, Chicago is a dazzling and satirical look at fame, justice, and the media machine. Set in 1920s Chicago and based on real-life murders and trials, Chicago follows Roxie Hart, a wannabe vaudevillian star who murders her lover and is arrested, despite her attempts to convince her pushover husband, Amos, to lie for her. In the Cook County Jail, Roxie meets her hero, the famed double-murderess and nightclub performer Velma Kelly. When both acquire the same lawyer, the greedy and lustful superstar, Billy Flynn, tensions come to a head as they vie for the spotlight– though instead of onstage, they’re mugging for the flashbulb of the newspaper reporters. With catchy, sexy music and timeless lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and a funny, intelligent, and utterly engaging book by Kander and Bob Fosse, Chicago is a musical spectacular that is as addictive as gossip rags and as unforgettable as any trial of the century.

Open casting is available for the following roles:

  • Roxie Hart (Female – Lead – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Velma Kelly (Female – Lead – Alto)
  • Amos Hart (Male – Supporting – Baritone)
  • Billy Flynn (Male – Supporting – Baritone)
  • Mary Sunshine (Either Gender – Supporting – Countertenor)
  • Matron Mama Morton (Female – Supporting – Alto)
  • Fred Casely (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Sergeant Fogarty (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Martin Harrison (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Go-to-Hell Kitty (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Aaron (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Judge (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Harry (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Liz (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Annie (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • June (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Hunyak (Katalin Helinszki) (Female – Featured – Spoken)
  • Mona (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Ensemble (8-10) roles available

The BRAC’s production of CHICAGO is staged and musically directed by Lloyd Alexander-Holt, choreographed by Jordan Alexander-Holt, and produced by Kimberly Hale and Lisa Murphy. CHICAGO will be presented at the Historic Owen Theatre May 2-5.

Advanced Reserved Seat Tickets for both Into The Woods and Chicago The Musical are on sale now at

The Branson Regional Arts Council announces the establishment of the Gary Wackerly Branson Show Awards Scholarship Fund which will soon benefit young students from the Branson Tri-Lakes area.

Gary Wackerly & BRAC Executive Director Jim Barber

As an associate member of the League of Branson Theatre Owners & Show Producers (Branson Show League), the Arts Council has agreed to administrate the scholarship fund in memory of Mr. Wackerly who lived in Branson for 16 years, and passed away on January 5, 2019 at the age of 72. A long time supporter of the Arts, his love of Branson Shows, Theatres, and Music, has been greatly appreciated by our area entertainers and community members.

Through this scholarship, Mr. Wackerly’s enthusiasm for the entertainment industry will be communicated to future professionals in the Performing Arts world.

The Wackerly family, along with the Arts Council and the Show League, have designated that the scholarship be awarded to a Theatre, Music, and/or a Math Student from a High School in the Branson Tri-Lakes Area.

When application information and funds are ready for distribution, the Branson Regional Arts Council and Michael Wackerly (son of Gary Wackerly) will then select winners and present recipients their scholarship on the popular radio and television show “Branson Country USA”.


Donations should be made out to the Branson Regional Arts Council (or BRAC) and designate proceeds to go to the Gary Wackerly Branson Show Awards Scholarship Fund. All donations are 100% tax deductible. Checks may be mailed to: Branson Regional Arts Council, PO Box 2004 Branson MO 65615.