The Branson Regional Arts Council announces the cast of the upcoming February 2023 production Mary Poppins – The Broadway Musical at the Historic Owen Theatre in Downtown Branson.

The Producers and Directors wish to thank everyone who participated in the auditions. There was a very large turnout, and we encourage anyone not selected for this show to please consider auditioning for future productions. Unfortunately, there were not enough roles to allow everyone who auditioned a part, so the selection process was very challenging.

Cast note: Rehearsals for this production will begin January 2, 2023 at 6pm at the Historic Owen Theatre. Tickets will go on sale in December.

Congratulations to the following cast members of Mary Poppins

CAST OF MARY POPPINS – THE BROADWAY MUSICAL

  • Mary Poppins- Leah Johnson
  • Bert- Thomas Hayden Reasoner
  • Jane Banks- Cameryn Deibler/Hope Menard
  • Michael Banks- Lee Brown/ Emma Chandler
  • George Banks- Alex Harris
  • Winifred Banks- Sonya Godfrey
  • Mrs. Brill- Abby Reeve
  • Roberston Ay- David Hewitt*
  • Miss Andrews- Kristin Cartwright*
  • Bird Woman- Katy Kohler
  • Mrs. Corry- Liz Sambol*
  • Katie Nana- Rachel Ramberan*
  • Neleus/Valentine- Joey Blackwood*
  • Poseidon- Michael Sager*
  • Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman- Joseph Schumacher
  • Miss Lark- Maddie Hewitt*
  • Von Hussler- Jeremiah Reeve*
  • John Northrbook- Kyle Denton*
  • Miss Smythe- Claire Denton*

Ensemble

Lucas Dahlgren, Kathryn King, Charis Boulden, Somer Dean, Velvet Dougharty, Julie Brinkman, Kayleigh Dominish, Mindy Law, Molly Tennison, April Ebersol, AJ Turner, Melinda Prince, Sarah Sutherland (Mary swing)

Kids Ensemble

Brenna Prince, Luke Johnson, Sebastian Stringer, Maggie Marks, Josslynn Silvy

*also in ensemble

The Branson Regional Arts Council proudly presents a Winter Holiday Youth Production of Disney’s Frozen JR at the Historic Owen Theatre with eight spectacular performances this December.

Directed by Kyle Bradley, the production features a cast of 37 talented young actors from across the Ozarks. Families and patrons of all ages will have a great time at this enchanting musical.

Shows run Thursday (7pm), Friday (7pm), Saturday (2pm & 7pm), and Sunday (2pm) from December 1 – 11, 2022.

Reserved seats are on sale now at BransonArts.org/tix or by calling the box office at 417-336-4255. Community priced tickets are $17.00 Adults (18+), $12.00 Youth (4-17).

Abby Wheeler (Elsa) and Bekah Williams (Anna)

Rated G, for all audiences, Frozen JR is based on the 2018 Broadway musical, and brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life, onstage at the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown Branson. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production.

A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen JR. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood.

With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen JR. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

The cast of Frozen JR includes: Paisley Pritchett (Young Anna), Tensley Asbury (Middle Anna), Bekah Williams (Anna), Sophie Douglas (Anna Understudy), Josslynn Silvy (Young Elsa), Rebecca Barney (Middle Elsa), Abby Wheeler (Elsa), Trenton Bryant (King Agnarr), Macy Everett (Queen Iduna / Elsa Understudy), Emma Spurling (Pabbie), Kate Heard (Bulda), Georgia Griffith (Bishop), Jacob Smith (Young Kristoff), Pace Gillman (Kristoff), Caleb Spurling (Sven), Ben Stevens (Hans), Jack Brown (Weselton), Ella Kroll (Olaf), Jael Frost (Olaf Understudy), Juanita Wilson (Oaken) and Savannah Alkire, Jessica Barney, Olivia Buttram, Paisley Buttram, Kynadee Carter, Emma Chandler, Indy Griffith, Hallie Groff, Katherine Linn, Maggie Marks, Scarlett McManus, Ryan Merrifield, Lundyn Mitchell, Greyson Stevens, Ember Straka, Kate Sutherland and Zoey Viola (Ensemble).

The production crew of Frozen JR includes: Kyle Bradley (Director / Set Designer), Julie Brinkman (Music Director), Karie Dykeman, Kim Hale (Producers), Stephanie Callahan, Ellen Barney (Choreographers), Kellsey Bradley (Stage Manager / Costumes), Brooke Sams (Assistant Stage Manager), George Haltom (Sound Technician / Set Construction), Pamela Meadows (Lighting Director), Abbie Moulin, Lauren Tiefry, Cyrsten Rainey, Gilbert Stevens (Lighting Assistants), Jacob Estes (Wigs), Lorie Best (Volunteer Coordinator), Josh Silvy (Inventory Manager), Marshall Meadows (Photographer), and Jim Barber (BRAC Executive Director/Marketing).


 

PUT YOUR BUSINESS CENTER STAGE…

Businesses or cast families interested in placing an ad in the official Frozen JR PLAYBILL program should visit BransonArts.org/adpayment for more information.

Let our patrons and audiences know that you support youth arts education for residents of our community!

Ad submission deadline is November 18, 2022.


 

AUDITIONS ARE COMPLETE: See Cast Announcement Here!

 

The Branson Regional Arts Council welcomes performers of ALL AGES to attend open auditions for the February 2023 musical production of Mary Poppins – The Broadway Musical, directed by Jacob Deck.

Audition Dates & Times:

  • Friday, November 18, 2022 – 6:30pm
  • Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 11:00am (until 1pm), and 6:30pm

No need to register for auditions, simply show up at one of the scheduled times above.

Location: Historic Owen Theatre, 205 S. Commercial St., Branson, MO 65616

Performance Dates & Times:
February 9 – 26, 2023 (15 shows – Thu 7pm, Fri 7pm, Sat 2pm & 7pm, Sun 2pm)

What to Prepare:
Looking for performers of all ages! Those auditioning are asked to prepare a 60 second cut of a musical theatre song in the style of the show that showcases their range and acting skills. You may also sing from the show. Please bring an mp3 track or youtube karaoke track cued up on your smart device. NO A CAPPELLA auditions.

There will be a dance audition as well. Please come dressed accordingly – wear appropriate clothing and footwear you’re comfortable moving in – a character or jazz or character shoe preferred.

Dance level: Strong dancers versed in musical theatre dance, jazz, ballet, and tap. (There are multiple roles that do not require dancing).

Character Breakdown

Bert: The narrator of the story, is a good friend to Mary Poppins. An everyman, Bert has many occupations, including hurdy-gurdy player, sidewalk artist and chimney sweep. Bert watches over the children as well as the goings on in Cherry Tree Lane. He has charm, speaks with a Cockney accent and is a song-and-dance man. Gender: Male. Stage age: 30 to 35. Vocal range top: F#4/Vocal range bottom: B2.

George Banks: The father to Jane and Michael Banks, is a banker to the very fiber of his being. Demanding “precision and order” in his household, he is a pipe-and-slippers man who doesn’t have much to do with his children and believes that he had the perfect upbringing by his nanny, the cruel Miss Andrew. His emotional armor, however, conceals a sensitive soul. A baritone, George may speak-sing as necessary. Gender: Male. Age: 40 to 45. Vocal range top: Eb4/Vocal range bottom: Bb2.

Winifred Banks:George’s wife and Jane and Michael’s mother. A former actress, she is loving and distracted homemaker who is busy trying to live up to her husband’s desire to only associate with “the best people” as well as be the model wife and mother. She suffers from the conflicting feelings that she’s not up to the job of “being Mrs. Banks,” yet, she is, and more. She has great warmth and simplicity to her tone. Gender: Female. Stage age: 30 to 35. Vocal range top: D5/Vocal range bottom: A3

Jane: The high-spirited daughter of Mr. and Mr. Banks, is bright and precocious but can be willful and inclined to snobbishness. Gender: Female. Stage age: 11 to 12. Vocal range top: F#5/Vocal range bottom: A3.

Michael: The cute and cheeky son of Mr. and Mrs. Banks. Excitable and naughty, he adores his father and tries to be like him. Both he and Jane misbehave in order to get the attention of their parents. Gender: Male. Stage age: 9 to 10. Vocal range top: E5/Vocal range bottom: A3.

Katie Nanna: Jane and Michael’s nanny at the beginning of the show. Overwhelmed and upset, she has absolutely had her fill of the Banks children. Gender: Female. Stage age: 30 to 30.

Policeman: A neighborhood fixture who is respected by and observant of households on his beat. Gender: Male. Stage age: 30 to 40

Miss Lark: The haughty next-door neighbor of the Banks family who treats her dog, Willoughby, as if her were child. Gender: Female Stage age: 30 to 35

Admiral Boom: A retired Royal Navy man and neighbor of the Banks family. A physically large man with a loud and booming voice, he speaks in Navy jargon and has a soft spot for his neighbor, Miss Lark. Can be any vocal range as needed. If Admiral Bloom doubles as the Banks Chairman, he can be a baritone. Gender: Male Stage age: 50 to 50.

Mrs. Brill: The housekeeper and cook for the Banks family. Overworked and harrassed, she’s always complaining that the house is understaffed. Her intimidating exterior is a cover for the warmth underneath. Mrs. Brill doesn’t have a high opinion of nannies in general and Mary Poppins in particular. She does not have to be a strong singer. Gender: Female. Stage age: 50 to 50. Vocal range top: D#5/Vocal range bottom: F#3.

Robertson Ay: The houseboy to the Banks family. Lazy, sleepy and grumbling, he never gets things right and believes himself to be useless. He doesn’t do a lot of singing, but his “Spoonful” solo can be a fun surprise. Gender: Male. Stage age: 20 to 20. Vocal range top: G#4/Vocal range bottom: F3.

Mary Poppins: Jane and Michael Banks’s new nanny. She is extraordinary and strange, neat and tidy, delightfully vain yet particular, and sometimes a little frightening but always exciting. She is practically perfect in every way and always means what she says. A mezzo soprano with strong top notes, she should be able to move well. She can have a more traditional soprano sound, but precision and diction is the key. Gender: Female. Stage age: 20 to 20. Vocal range top: C6/Vocal range bottom: Gb3.

Park Keeper: Uniformed and officious, he makes sure no one breaks park regulations. His life is defined by rules, but he secretly hankers after his childhood. Gender: Male Stage age: 40 to 40.

Neleus: The statue of a young boy posed with a dolphin in the park. Neleus was separated from his father, Poseidon, and misses him very much. A small and lonely being, he is very happy to befriend Jane and Michael. This role is a wonderful opportunity to feature one of the strong dancers in your ensemble. Gender: Male. Stage age: 16 to 16.

Queen Victoria: A statue in the park. Gender: Female. Stage age: 40 to 40.

Bank Chairman: The head of the bank where Mr. Banks is employed, is an Edwardian stuffed-shirt. He can speak/sing his lines if necessary. Gender: Male. Stage age: 50 to 60. Vocal range top: D4/Vocal range bottom: C3.

Miss Smythe: The Bank Chairman’s humorless secretary. Gender: Female. Stage age: 40 to 40.

Ensemble: Annie, Fannie, Valentine, Teddy Bear, Mr. Punch, Doll, Chimney Sweeps, Toys, Parkgoers.

Von Hussler: A businessman seeking a loan from the bank for a shady business deal. He speaks with a German accent. Gender: Male. Stage age: 30 to 30.

John Northbrook: An honest business man seeking a loan to build a factory for his community. He speaks with an accent from Northern England. Gender: Male. Stage age: 30 to 30.

Bird Woman: Covered in a patchwork of old shawls, and her pockets are stuffed with bags of crumbs for the birds. She tries to sell her crumbs for the birds. She tries to sell her crumbs to passersby, who ignore her as if she doesn’t exist. Sings “Feed the Birds.” There can be a gruff, folksy quality to her voice that relfelcts the hardness of her life. Gender: Female. Stage age: 50 to 50. Vocal range top: C5/Vocal range bottom: Gb3.

Mrs. Corry: Owns a magical gingerbread shop. She is a mysterious woman of great age who speaks with a Caribbean accent (or any accent that would make her seem exotic). Gender: Female. Stage age: 40 to 40.

Miss Andrew: George’s overbearing and scary nanny. With her bottle of nasty-tasting brimstone and treacle to keep naughty children in line, she is a bully who only knows one way of doing things – her way. A soprano with an alto belt, there can be some heaviness to her voice along with range. Gender: Female. Stage age: 40 to 40. Vocal range top: F5/Vocal range bottom: Gb3.

Any Questions? Call Karie at 417-336-4255 or edu@bransonarts.org.

Rated PG-13 | for spiked drinks and saucy dialogue
The Branson Regional Arts Council presents the Noël Coward classic, Blithe Spirit, a hilarious Halloween weekend production!
“A world-class comedy.” – TheaterMania

The production is under the direction of Carson Burkett with 5 performances on Thursday (7pm), Friday (7pm), Saturday (7pm) and Sunday (2pm & 7pm ) from October 27 – 30, 2022.

Seating is limited and advance reserved tickets are suggested at BransonArts.org/tix or by calling the Historic Owen Theatre box office at 417-336-4255. Admission for everyone is locally priced at $17 (Adults 18+), $14 (Youth 4-17). The production is Rated PG-13.

The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine (played by Josh Boulden), re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira (played by Charis Boulden) who is called up by a visiting “happy medium,” one Madame Arcati (played by Jennifer Buttel).  Jennifer’s over the top, eccentric character is a role made famous by the late Angela Lansbury in both London’s West End, Broadway and national tour productions.

“A highly efficient laugh machine… Can still keep an audience in a state of tickled contentment.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times
As the (worldly and un-) personalities clash, Charles’ current wife, Ruth (played by Heather Hinnen), is accidentally killed, “passes over,” joins Elvira, and the two “blithe spirits” haunt the hapless Charles into perpetuity.

Heather Hinnen (Ruth), Josh Boulden (Charles), Charis Boulden (Elvira)

“Expertly crafted and effervescent.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Cast member of Blithe Spirit are: Josh Boulden (Charles Condomine), Heather Hinnen (Ruth Condomine), Charis Boulden (Elvira), Jennifer Buttell (Madame Arcati), Jeffrey Stringer (Dr. Bradman), Mindy Law (Mrs. Bradman) and Megan King (Edith).
Production members of Blithe Spirit are: Kim Hale & Karie Dykeman (Producers), Carson Burkett (Director), Adam Hood (Assistant Director), C J McElhiney (Stage Manager), Judah Fox (Sound Technician), Pamela Meadows (Lighting Design), Emily RivereHallie Groff, Lexi Keaton (Spotlight Operators), Megan King (Prop Manager), Anika Bryceson (Costume Design), Kyle Blanchard (Set Design), Sarah Briggs, Kyle Blanchard (Set Construction), Lorie Best (Volunteer Coordinator), Josh Silvy (Theatre Inventory Manager) and Jim Barber (BRAC Executive Director & Marketing).
FIVE PERFORMANCES ONLY! Reserve your best seats now at BransonArts.org/tix or by calling the BRAC box office at 417-336-4255.

The Branson Regional Arts Council has been serving the community since 1965. It was originally founded as the Taney Arts Council by Jean Cantwell and a group of arts minded community members. Jean remained an active member of the organization until her unexpected passing at the age of 92, on March 20, 2018.

Thirty nine years ago, in 1983, Jean was also inspired to bring community theatre to the Ozarks, and with the assistance of a group of friends, Tri-Lakes Community Theatre (also known as T.L.C.) was created. In January 2018, with Jean’s approval and guidance, T.L.C. officially merged into The Branson Arts Council, Inc., allowing the Arts Council to preserve the rich history of theatre in the Ozarks, and build upon the tradition of live community Theatre at the Historic Owen Theatre (built in 1936) in downtown Branson.

In January 1990, Jean Cantwell wrote the following article about the inspiration and creation of Tri-Lakes Community Theatre. Shortly before her passing, Jean gave a copy of this article to BRAC Executive Jim Barber with her permission to publish it online.  We are honored to share her original text of this letter…


TRI LAKES COMMUNITY THEATRE – In The Beginning
by Jean Cantwell

January 1990

Sometimes I think I should shower three times a day, not from an odorous necessity, but the shower seems to be a source location for inspiration.

It’s always a rush to shower and dress before going to the American Association of University Women meeting, or any other meeting, but on Monday, the 1st of October, 1983, I stopped the usual routine of trying to do “just one more thing” to make a relaxing preparation.

I thought about all the new people who had moved to town, many of them very well educated, new professors at the School of the Ozarks and their spouses. New music theatres were being constructed each season, and musicians were coming into Branson by the score. Cosmopolitan retirees who were accustomed to hearing and seeing plays and concerts were my neighbors, and as I regulated the hot and cold water, I suddenly realized the time was ripe for a little theatre program.

Two or three bright ideas shot into my mind for how to organize a theatre group, and a sense of impracticality soon shot them out, but it quickly became evident to me that the perfect place to start a theatre was out of the American Association of University Women. These were people who would enjoy theatre and see the value of having a local group.

As quickly as decency would permit, ideas went down on paper to set up a step by step progression for funding, involving many more people and launching the program. If the A.A.U.W. would permit a new theatre group to operate under their umbrella until a not-for-profit charter could be obtained from the State of Missouri, and if the A.A.U.W. would designate funds for initial operations, plans could be set up to form a Board and start a fund raising program for the first show.

There was no opportunity to take the request to the Board of A.A.U.W. With the excitement of the idea, time escaped, and I arrived at the home of Sherri Millsap as the president called the meeting to order.

At the appropriate time in the New Business section of the meeting, I presented the preliminary plan for starting a theatre. Elnora Sprague was the president. She and the members were receptive. Elnora requested me to do a study and present a plan at the November meeting. She said it was too big a job for one person, and she asked for volunteers to serve on the committee with me. Immediately, Sherri Millsap volunteered. She was joined by Hannah Wolf, Denise Stephens and Carlene Davis. After the A.A.U.N., we scheduled a meeting at my house the following day.

We met two or three times in the next week and talked almost every day. We understood that we had been asked for a feasibility study, but we all agreed that elements for success were in place. We began to plan for a performance in the spring, but we also worked to form an organization that could sustain itself season after season. Each of us started researching other theatre companies. I had lunch with Mike Denniston and Louis Schaefer of the Springfield Little Theatre. Each of us made recommendations stemming from our own experiences.

All five of us would be co-producers of the show. It was evident the success of the first show was necessary to permit a repeat or any sign of permanency. A good director was imperative.

There were local people who were experienced and very good at directing. We could have gone to an established group such as the Theatre Department at the School of the Ozarks or to the Entertainment Department at Silver Dollar City, but we felt if we went to either or any other school department, or music theatre, we would automatically exclude the participation of all the others. Down the road, we would need the cooperation of all the local, artistic people. We needed an outside director who could weld together people from all the groups.

Dr. Robert Gilmore was Vice President at Southwest Missouri State University, and he had also been head of the Theatre Department at S.M.S.U. We decided he would be our best source for guidance.

On the way to Springfield, we decided to select officers among ourselves. Prior to that time, our meetings had been an exchange of ideas with popular agreement on goals. They were set… a show in the Spring and a permanent organization.

Perhaps it was because I was driving the car when we drove together to Springfield. Whatever the reason, I, Jean Cantwell, was selected as president. Hannah couldn’t be secretary, because she got car sick trying to write in a moving automobile. Denise Stephens became secretary. Sherri Millsap had a computer. Automatically, she became treasurer. Carlene Davis was vice president, probably because of where she sat in the car, and Hannah was second vice president. Because she had a few tech courses in college, she also was the costumer and technical advisor.

No matter what Dr. Gilmore had to say, or anyone else for that matter, we decided to proceed with having a play in the spring. We thought he would encourage us, and he did. He drew out a chart of necessary elements in a theatre program on the black board He gave us guidelines on how to proceed, much as he would have done in a class room. Most important of all, when we asked about potential directors in our area, he suggested we call his son-in-law, Terry Bloodworth who lived in the Kimberling City area. His credentials sounded perfect to us. Knowing Terry’s busy schedule, Dr. Gilmore was doubtful that he would accept.

With our inexperience, no funds, no theatre and no scenery, it took a big “sell” job to convince Terry he should be our first director, but once he was convinced, he, too, became like a teacher to us. He told us about his experience with two different community theatres in the South. The word, community, was the key word and concept. We stress it still. It has been important in drawing in all the theatre related organizations in the area. Without the cooperation of each, success would have been impossible.

In the shower again, the name came to me, the Tri Lakes Community Theatre, or T.L.C. Theatre. If Tender Loving Care comes to mind before Tri Lakes Community Theatre, the association of concern and camaraderie is all to the good.

We asked Terry to submit two or three plays he would be interested in directing. Woody Allen’s Play It Again Sam was selected, and we set the dates for March 8, 9, 10, 1984.

To give our letters credibility, we needed letter heads and a logo. Before we could ask, Helen Long volunteered and submitted samples for a logo. We selected two which are still in use.

When we were only a few weeks into our planning, I ran into my 6 foot 4 inch partner playing tennis, bounced off him onto the court and broke my right wrist. Being unable to do the simple, household duties, it gave me a great deal more time to work for T.L.C. Telephone calls and calls on patrons can be done as easily with a broken wrist as a healthy one.

It is no surprise that five women, all of whom have children, would include an educational program in establishing a theatre group. The first idea was to have a children’s play every other year. It was an ongoing discussion to determine whether a children’s play is one performed by adults for an audience of children or a play performed by children. That was the only issue on which we did not come to a decision.

Education for children was not the only area of self improvement we wanted to foster. We provided for Readers Theatre. A group would meet monthly or quarterly to read plays aloud together. From their interest, we would gain an audience for the season, satisfy the desire to be a star without stage fright, and have recommendations for plays to select for performance.

At the November meeting of the American Association of University Women, in place of a feasibility report, I made the report for our committee. It included a complete plan for starting the Tri-Lakes Community Theatre, a play, a date and a director. I asked A. A. U. W. to designate $500 from the treasury and permit T. L. C. to raise funds to place in the A. A. U. W. bank account for the theatre use until we could become a not-for-profit organization on our own. Mrs. Sprague asked for clarification from the National Bylaws Chairman. She said, “It would be a great community project for the Branson Branch to sponsor. It certainly does fall within the scope of A,A,U.W.’s policy. It fits beautifully under the area Cultural interests.” At the December meeting, the motion was unanimously voted upon favorably, and we were ready to begin operations. The Branch also offered to sponsor the Premier Party on opening night.

Fundraising fell to me. At a party, there was a good opportunity to ask Smith Brookhart to make a donation to T. L. C. from the Centerre Bank. He matched the A. A. U. W. donation. Additional donations from the Branson Arts Council and the Security Bank and Trust Company of Branson made it possible for us to fund the first show.

On December 6th, there was a public meeting in the Community Room of the Branson City Hall to announce information about the new theatre group and to sign up actors and tech people. A large group of theatre people attended.

One of the actors, Bob Barnard said, ” When I got a job here, that put food in my stomach, but this project will put the apples in my cheeks.” He won the lead role in Play It Again Sam. Cast members were: Kayla Beatty, Monty Ray Davidson, Martha Steward Wright, Ken Carter, Karin Lloyd, Kim Novak, Sherri Cannedy, Bonnie Arnold, Gail Elmgren, Marla Hragyil and Kathy Diehl. These people represented town people from Branson, Forsyth and Reeds Spring; actors from Silver Dollar City and the Shepherd of the Hills Farm, music show singers and students from the School of the Ozarks.

The Board was fortunate to have the use of the theatre at the Kirkwood Center. Jeff Newkirk and Pat Shue were both very cooperative in helping us. Opening night had the atmosphere of an “uptown night out”.

We went into the Kirkwood only a few days before opening and worked into the night setting up the scenery, setting lights and rehearsing.

We held rehearsals in the American Legion Building in the room that had been the Branson Library. Set construction was done in the south room on the same level. Although it wasn’t warm, it was comfortable and spacious. How we have longed for those accommodations now that none of them are available.

The time came that Buddy Green and his music show went into the Kirkwood. His sophisticated, lighted set and permanent risers prevented our moving in for the Winter Stock season, and the city of Branson tore down the old City Hall, American Legion Building, but that was to come later in the story. Those times in the first two years were loads of fun but always cold. For instance, neither the owners of Kirkwood nor we knew there was no heating element in the heating system at Kirkwood. The construction people had simply neglected to put it in the housing on top of the theatre. Since Branson did not have a Christmas Celebration at that time, there had been no need for heat. On opening night, we froze. I kept turning up the thermostat. It would click and seem to respond, but it only blew more cold air with greater force. We borrowed heaters for the lobby, but it was miserable. The actors were stiff with the cold.

A January 1, 1984 story from the News-Leader states that Bloodworth “has a master’s degree in speech and theater from Southwest Missouri State University… He has directed Corn Crib Theatre in Branson and the Springfield Little Theater‘s production Night Must Fall”.

The News-Leader story continued, “Our long-range goal in establishing TLC Theatre is to bring participation in live theater to the people of the Tri-Lakes area, whether that participation is actively on the stage or in the audience, increasing their cultural enjoyment. We expect plays to be in the non-tourist season, a two or three play season,” said Mrs. Cantwell, who is the group’s organizational president. She said the board hopes TLC also will form a youth group, which would do the season’s third play.

Terry brought in friends from Silver Dollar City who had also been classmates at Southwest Missouri State University. Silky Baldwin headed the tech department. Silky speaks three languages: English, French and Hillbilly. When he told me, “You cain’t do nothin’ I cain’t fix,” I was encouraged to continue trying to paint wallpaper scenery, a task for which I had neither skill nor training. He taught all of us to glue and paint, how to “Dutchman”, or maybe that isn’t a verb. Only a theatre person would know. He never once told us how bad we were at building scenery until he had taught us how to do it better. We built everything from scratch.

Ken Carter was the co-chairman of set construction, and he still works most of the shows, either on stage or in the crew.

Susan Garoutte was costume chairman. Hutch Hutchinson chaired the properties committee. Sue Bisplinghof began a career as chairman of the ushers. We even had a chairman of baby sitters, and that was one of the most important responsibilities for the Barnards, Baldwins and many more. There were 8 or 10 kids to care for on any given night. Pam Ingrum was the chairman.

Donations of materials and money from Branson businessmen were overwhelming and gratefully received. Hannah, Sherri and Carlene became adept at begging everything from a paint brush to lumber.

Andy Miller did the art work for the poster. T.L.C. still owns the original art work, a treasure to keep.

The headline reviews read, “Play Proves Big Success”, “TLC Did It and They Did It Well”, “TLC Premiere Performance Is Big Success”, “Play It Again, Sam‘ Debut Near Flawless”.

Mayor James Martin was quoted, “There was no doubt the talent is here. Branson is ready and yearning for this type of entertainment.”

Ed Wales said, “The play was marvelous. Since it was the premiere production of the play and TLC theatre organization, it was a surprise to see how professionally it was done. It once again proves how many talented people there are in Ozark Mountain Country.”

Betty Strafford organized the beautiful reception around the indoor swimming pool at the Kirkwood Center.

The first newsletter was published February 1984. Jean wrote it, but Sherri ran it through the computer and Xerox machine of Caravel Studios. The T.L.C. Newsletter stated the purpose, announced work dates to the 115 members and had topics headlined “Children’s Workshop”, “Home Readers Theatre” and “Patrons”.

Judy Oetting had agreed to run a summer workshop for children. A meeting of a Home Readers Theatre was to be announced in the newspaper, and a drive to find individual patrons was under way.

Vol I, No.2 of T.L.C. Newsletter also was dated February 1984. It urged members to sell tickets.” Baby sitting services were necessary for the actors and tech people. The newsletter set dates and time. The premier party, around the indoor pool at the Kirkwood Center was called the Big Splash.

The Board met regularly every Wednesday, and each member spent many hours on T.L.C. business throughout the week. A Constitution was developed. Application was made to the Secretary of State of Missouri for non-profit organization status.

Each member worked in some capacity as a producer.

Carlene handled most of the publicity. Sherri ordered scenery materials. She, Hannah and Denise made trips to the lumber yards, hardware stores and any place they could find materials and props. Everyone worked at whichever job needed to be done.

According to the Constitution, the Board would consist of nine members elected at the Annual meeting. The Annual meeting is to be scheduled within 30 days following the spring show and be announced in the program of that show.

The By-laws set out the terms of office for a nine member Board. New members were: Robert Barnard, Clair (Hutch) Hutchinson, Marion Michl and Mark Weisz. The Standing Rules set out the plan to establish the rotation for the original Board members. The original members had already drawn straws to determine of which of us would have the three year term, the two and the one. At a later date, an adjustment of terms was changed when Carlene Davis and her husband took a sabatical. Denise Stephens and her husband moved back to Houston.

Newsletter Vol. II, No. 1 announced a fund raising auction party on the lawn at Millsap’s house on September 22nd. It was a great plan, but it rained and the party was moved to the theatre in the Missouri Conservation Building at Table Rock Dam.

The T.L.C. Children’s Theatre was a huge success.

We were awarded funds from the Missouri Arts Council C.A.P.S. program through the Branson Arts Council. The Play Readers Group met on the second Monday of each month at the American Legion Hall.

The season plays and dates were announced in the T.L.C. Newsletter. Arsenic and Old Lace was scheduled for December 6, 7 and 8 with Marion Michl as director and Mark Weisz as production manager. Terry Brown appeared to grow in the waist line during rehearsals, but it was several months later when her baby was born. Dorothy Douglas Yager and Kitty Snow played the lovable Aunts to David Houseman. Ray Jones and Curt Harris scared us, but we laughed at them as they dealt with Monty Ray Davidson or Teddy Roosevelt. Ken Carter was technical director and set designer. John Meyer did the lighting, Teresa Ayers the costumes. Gail Davis did her first of many receptions. Gerry Garner and Rikky Merrell were properties and make-up chairmen. Please see the program for all the wonderful cast and crew.

Sarah Klinefelter was the director for Once Upon A Mattress in the spring. Sarah promised that the costumes would be beautiful, and they were. At Sarah’s direction, they were made especially for us. Each couple was color coordinated. Blue symbolized the leading lovers, Kate Birdenir and Mark Virkler. Dawn Nicely and David Sloat were the less-than-innocent white lovers. The older Marla Hragyil and Bill Townsend as King and Queen wore sophisticated red. Black Gary Mulkey, red Ken Carter and brown Danny Eakin were the Wizard, Jester and Minstrel. Fred was full of energy, and we had three big hits under our belts. It was fun for me to play in the pit under the direction of Dennis Wolff.

The first quorum meeting of the TLC-OWL One Act, Play Competition Executive Committee met at the home of Jean Cantwell April 24, 1984 at 3:30 P.M. Artie Ayers, Sarah Klinefelter, Stephen Martin, Kayla Beatty and Jean Cantwell were present. Jory Sherman was unable to attend. The minutes show, “Jean Cantwell presented a summary of position papers which resulted from discussions among people interested in starting the competition.”

OWL is the Ozark Writers League. They had responded to co-sponsoring a play writing competition. There was a joint committee to judge manuscripts. The deadline for receiving the scripts was June 1st, 1985. T.L.C.Theatre would perform the winning plays. The winner would receive a $200.00 prize supplied from the Branson Arts Council through Missouri Arts Council funds. Marion Michl was the coordinator for the competition.

Carlene Davis and Denise Stephens went off the board, and Dr. Robert Gilmore and Dr. Fred Pfister were elected at the Annual meeting. Jean Cantwell and Sherri Millsap remained in office as president and treasurer. Mark Weisz was elected vice-president and Hannah Wolf as secretary. Marion Michl, Hutch Hutchinson and Bob Barnard remained as Board members.

Standing committee chairmen were:

Fund Raising, Harold Eastman
Publicity and Promotion, Richard Carr
Social and Hospitality, Anne Cox
House Manager, Laura Dees
Technical Manager, Silky Baldwin
Wardrobe, Teresa Ayers
Home Readers, Martha Hess
Historian, Hutch Hutchinson
Youth Program, Judy Oetting

Bonnie Ewing joined Judy Oetting in working with Mike Kiewitt and Roberta Mohling of the Branson Parks and Recreation Department in the summer drama workshops.

Events that worked quickly became precedents. In addition to an annual fundraising party, an in-house party is held each Fall to kick off the new season. It isn’t exclusive to in-house. Everyone is invited who wants to participate in T.L.C. in any way. We are looking for new members, new talent. Jennifer Justus and Hannah Wolf headed the T.L.C. Roundup Celebration Party September 28, 1985. We were trying to recruit all kinds of talent, including baby sitters.

In the beginning, because. there are so many music theatres in Branson, it appeared there would be no problem finding a location for community theatre performances in the winter season when no tourists were present. Many theatres were eliminated, because they were too large for intimate theatre. It was a shock to discover many did not have any heating system. It was not much of a surprise after that to learn that water systems were drained and everything was shut off and closed down in the off season. To open them and winterize again was expensive, but the greatest expense came from the fact that the utility bill charge came in at the peak summer rate if electricity were used only one day in a month. We could not afford such bills, and even the generous theatre owners who would let us use their facility couldn’t afford us either.

When Buddy Green built a set with multi lights in the flats and risers, the back looked like a wire jungle. There was no place for us in that Inn.

After hours of chasing and negotiation, we almost had a deal at the Braschler’s when the light woman told us there was no heat. There it was again. There was a problem every where.

The Owen Theatre isn’t the warmest theatre in the world either, but we were happy to get in, and our TLC made it warm. The theatre was called Branson City Limits at that time. Silky’s attitude is that you always leave a place better than you found it. He revamped the electrical system, and he built a six foot extension onto the front of the stage which required removing the first three rows of seats. No telling how many times that thing has been put together and taken apart. People who never drove a nail before learned to build and rebuild.

1985 was the perfect year to move into the old Owen Theatre. It was the 50 year anniversary. Special stories were written about the theatre and Jim and Barbara Owen. Barbara Owen was our special guest on opening night of Prisoner of Second Avenue. (Please refer to the scrapbook newspapers and program.) She was introduced from the stage, and she greeted many friends at Gail Davis‘ Reception in the Lobby.

Jana Henleben directed Rick Giles and Janet Brooks in Prisoner of Second Avenue by Neil Simon. We all continued to be proud of the excellence of the actors and crew. TLC covered all of us with loving camaraderie, and I popped a button every time T.L.C. was mentioned.

For each production, there are always three or four, sometimes more, who become totally dedicated to producing the greatest show on earth, and they sacrifice personal time to work as long as needed to complete sets, learn lines or do whatever is necessary.

Bruce Shock’s name began to appear on the tech crew. It was Magellen who was the theatre major, but Bruce got bitten too, and from that time on, his name appears as often as hers.

John and Carol Meyer were the most faithful of scenery builders, back stage workers and concessioniers. House managers have included Laura Dees, Sherri Millsap, Jennifer Justus, and Ray Jones. Reggie Galyean does the still photography, and C. S. Harris handles publicity.

City planners decided the old city hall had to go. We pleaded, but it did no good, and we lost all our storage and rehearsal space. The city lost a landmark. Perhaps it was not entirely beautiful when it was new. ‘Only the old Presbyterian Church building and the empty Security Bank building remain from the early Branson years.

A parking lot is now located where the old City Hall – library – American Legion hall had been. With tears, we moved, but again, we were very fortunate to have space, this time at the Hollister School. It was warm! There was space for us to have Board meetings in the kindergarten room. Tryouts and rehearsals were held there too. We had space to build scenery and store props and costumes in the adjacent workshop room. We made the move from Prisoner directly into the new quarters.

The Board bought casino equipment to use for the T.L.C. Lady Luck Party and auction at the Old Apple Mill Restaurant.

On November 8, 1985, $25.00 per person included dinner and a $10.00 donation to T.L.C. Renting the equipment has been a money raiser too. Bob Barnard takes care of it. and Shirley Spears runs the games. It’s a good combination. Chick Hutner talked Kenny Rogers out of a jacket to auction, and Sherry Herschend got Dolly Parton’s bed partner, her Teddy Bear.

The One-Act Plays that won the prizes were prizes for the audience too. A good character and a good actor make for a terrific show, and the Cat will long be remembered.

M. G. (Marjorie) Schlitz from Cockeysville, Maryland won with Menage A Quatre. Bob Barnard was the Cat. Sherri Millsap was cast as Clara, the Dog, but was forced out by illness. Dawn Larsen-Nicely stepped in from director to lead dog. The cast included Melissa Rose, Craig White, Linda Trimble, Marion Michl and Hutch Hutchinson.

The Will To Get Married by Steven W. Rodgers of Salem, Oregon, was an exercise in “something different” for T.L.C. Theatre, but Director Rick Giles and the cast made a cohesive comedy of it. Some of the actors showed their versatility by appearing in both plays that memorable evening. The English setting starred Hutch Hutchinson, Tom Rose, James Waddell, Gail Elmgren, Michael C. Freeman and George M. Callas.

M. G. Schlitz was invited to Branson to see the performance of her play. Prior to the performance, Hostess-novelist Janet Dailey was on hand to meet her at the Wildwood Flower.

Two more of the one-act winners were performed in the Branson and Reeds Spring High Schools. Bonnie Ewing directed The Road To Parmahdia by Robert Bronstein. Mr. and Mrs. Bronstein from Denver, Colorado, were very pleased with the Branson High School performance.

“Classy People, Classical Music and Classic Cars” was the fund raising party On October 17, 1986 at the Ozarks Auto Show. Classy was an understatement.

It was announced that Bob Gilmore would direct Quilters, but it was still being performed professionally, and we could not get the rights. Instead, he directed The 1940’s Radio Hour. Surely, it was better than Quilters would have been. As a member of the radio band, even I made it to the stage. This whole cast was terrific. What a musical! What talent! Mike Seidner was the musical director. Lynn Baldwin did the set, and Marion Michl and Mark Weisz were the Production Managers. The cast: Hutch Hutchinson, Gail Elmgren, David Houseman, Mike Seidner, Dennis Wolff, Danny Bishop, Michael C. Freeman, Ken Carter, Marty Reilly, Melissa Rose, Jae McFerron, Rick Giles, Carrie Dennis, Sarah Klinefelter, Jana Henleben, Jeff Hankins. Andy Hiller designed the paint on marble columns that made us all think they were marble.

We opened the October 1986 season with a “Casting Couch Party” at Ye English Inn on Downing’ Street in Hollister. Actors know how to barn up a party. The pictures taken with the prop “lady on the couch” are blackmail bait.

The winning One Act play from 1986 was an imaginative but macabre play that was performed for several events by Marion Michl, Bob Gilmore and Hutch Hutchinson. Marion was nothing but a head, but her personality was clearly evident.

Jean Cantwell was Board president, Mark Weisz vice president, Hannah Wolf secretary, Sherri Millsap treasurer, Robert Barnard, C. J. Hutchinson, Marion Michl, Robert Gilmore and Fred Pfister served as members in 1985-86. At the spring Appreciation Picnic – Annual Meeting, the Board was restructured. The new officers were: Mark Weisz, president; Magellen Shock, Vice President; Ted Reed, Treasurer; Jean Cantwell, Secretary. Hutch Hutchinson, Dr. Bob Gilmore, Bob Barnard, Steve Presley and Dr. Fred Pfister were the other members of the Board.

Harvey was not only a big rabbit but also big success,” was the opening quotation from the December 1986 Newsletter. That cast included old favorites like Kitty Snow, Jim Waddell, Patrick R. Maupin, Ray Jones, and Robert Barnard, but there were new comers to the cast, Brenda Haggy, Pat Larsen, Jeannie Perkins, Juanita Reese and D. Kurt Larsen.

Bowman’s Country Restaurant hosted the Double Aces Saloon fund raising party. We had such a good time, the Board agreed to have another casino party the next year too.

Ken Carter starred in Man of La Mancha, directed by Jana Henleben. Dr. Leon Bradley was musical director. Dr. Bob Gilmore and Magellen Shock were co-producers. The cast was full of stars. Ken still sings a La Mancha in Shoji’s show on 76.

Musicals continue to be the biggest draw. There are many reasons. They are appealing. The audience expects to have a good time. Music is positive. Usually, there is a big cast, a big crew and band. All those people do a lot of talking and have relatives and friends who want to see them. Man Of La Mancha scored on all these points. Forty two people are listed on the cast and band page. On a regular basis, those people work at Silver Dollar City, the Roy Clark theatre, Shepherd of the Hills Farm, Shoji Tabuchi Show and many other professional organizations in the Branson area.

We are fortunate to have talented people to cast in TLC productions, but we are also aware that appearing in a T.L.C. dramatic show can be a positive, learning process to add a new facet of experience for many of the performers who come to Branson to become professional performers.

Singing and acting in La Mancha were outstanding.

A patron drive was emphasized in October 1987 by the new officers. Bob Gilmore was president, Magellen Shock was vice-president, Ted Reed treasurer, Jennifer Justus secretary, and Jana Henleben, Marion Michl, Fred Pfister, Lea Trimble. Kevin McPhail and Mark Weisz were Board members.

Without Patrons, T.L.C. could not exist. Each is gratefully listed in the play programs. We look forward to their continuing support.

Not only does Hutch Hutchinson add to the quality in our acting department, but be displays his efficiency as Historian. For instance, he requested this paper. For the T.L.C. Reunion party. Hutch brought exhibit boards from each play to spark memories and reminiscing.

Three plays were scheduled for the ’87-’88 season.

December 10, 11, 12 and 13 were the dates set for The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild in the Owen Theatre. Janet Brooks played Margaret Wild. Jae McFerron, Brenda Haggy, Mike Freeman, Marla Sullivan, Gail Elmgren, Rhonda Campbell, Steve Stewart and Larry Jones were in the cast. Special effects, scenery and costuming were extra bonus points of enjoyment for the audience. What an ape! Roy Campbell, Bruce Shock and Jennifer Justus created the impossible with this show.

Characters were many, but the cast was a few for Greater Tuna. Ed Marshall and J. R. Cox were funny, brilliant and fast-change artists. Marion Michl directed them in a fine production the last four days of January. For the first time, we appeared in the 76 Music Hall due to the generosity of Glenn and Venus Robinson.

Again, we were not able to get rights to perform the show that was announced. Instead of Pump Boys and Dinettes, we saw The Fantasticks on March 17, 18, 19 and 20, 1988. Mark Young and Leon Bradley were play and music directors. The cast consisted of Michael Frizell, Michael Freeman, Ed Marshall, Judith Redington, Dan Embree, Ken Carter, Larry Michael Jones and Gary Mulkey. Kevin McPhail was head of set construction, Navy Folay did lighting, and Betty Moenning was costumer.

The Fall Social Review lead to the opening of The Hound of the Baskervilles December 15th through the 18th. Jim Waddell was the director. We welcomed Monty Ray Davidson back into the community as his Dr. Watson supported Dan Embree as Holmes. The cast included Jim Day, Jae McFerron, John Meyer. Mary Lindsey, Michael C. Freeman, Ronna Haxby and Helen Kimes. Special effects were stunning.

Flappers and their dates celebrated the Roaring 20’s Casino Night at the community room of the Days Inn Motel. Under the guidance of Shirley Spears, Billy Naotti designed the decorations, Linda Sprague chaired the food committee, and Sandy Wilkinson did the invitations and publicity. Even though Bob Barnard had moved to Springfield, he returned to assist with the games.

The January 1989 Newsletter said, “Glenn and Venus Robinson have graciously granted T.L.C. the use of their warm, comfortable and spacious 76 Music Hall for this (The World Of Carl Sandburg) production,” February 2-4. It was a great one, and yes, warm and comfortable for a change, but it was not warm outside. The first three scheduled performances had to be cancelled due to an ice storm. The Robinsons allowed us to stay in for two performances the following weekend. Under the direction of Bob Gilmore, the cast included Marion Michl, Julie Bloodworth, Don Ousley and Jim Meikle.

Since we deal with Winter Stock, it should be no surprise that weather can be a hazard to our productions. We could predict the first snow or an ice storm by guessing it will hit simultaneously with at least one of our opening nights. The World Of Carl Sandburg was cancelled for the first three nights and postponed until the following weekend.

T.L.C. again took the lead in encouraging playwrights by producing Tucker. Gary Mulkey wrote the script, and Danny Eakin wrote the music and lyrics. Arrangements were written by Mitch Kiersey. It was a privilege to cooperate with our local talent to create a fine Ozarks musical. Jim Moeskau was the musical director. He and the cast of sixteen rehearsed at the Tri Lakes Adult Community Center in preparation for the premiere at the Owen Theatre. Jeannie Moeskau did the choreography. Patrick Maupin was tech director with Roy Campbell doing the light design and Ken Carter set design. Toni Marks did make-up, Gretchen Rooney did costumes. We were proud of the production and congratulate Mulkey and Eakin on a very successful show.

At the Annual Meeting, Magellen Shock passed the president’s gavel to Lea Trimble. Marion Michl is secretary, Jennifer Justus is treasurer, and Jean Cantwell is Vice President. Ted Reed, Fred Pfister and Mark Weiss went off the Board. Shirley Spears and Roy Campbell have been added.

Now that T.L.C. has moved into new headquarters under the C. B. Auto Parts Store, it was the location for the Fall Social Review. It is a pleasure to visit the headquarters. We have a telephone to call our own, lights, cables, a saw, paint, a ladder, a desk, a filing cabinet, costumes (or old clothes, depending upon your view point) some furniture and props. That’s a long way from nothing in 1983. It isn’t enough. We need a light board. We need more light instruments. We need a home we can call our own. There was an extensive campaign in the Spring of 1989 to convince the City Council that we should be included in any community building to be constructed. The location of such a building is a determining factor in regard to its size and use. No decision has been made at this time.

In the usual snow flurry, The Gin Game opened at the Owen Theatre December 7th, 1989. It was an excellent. production with Marion Michl as the director and female lead. Michael Freeman was her partner or opponent, again, depending upon your viewpoint. Kevin McPhail was chief tech man. Because S.M.S.U had recently had a problem with subject protect, I anticipated we might have a language problem. Fortunately. nothing developed except excellent performances.

Children’s Theatre has become a part of the City Summer Program. They continue to receive funds through the C.A.P.S. program of the Missouri Arts Council. It is successful, a strong contributor to the good life for Branson children.

Magellen Shock will be assisted by Craig White in producing The Odd Couple. (this was the end of the original letter that Jean provided on this subject).

 

The Branson Regional Arts Council invites the general public to attend the 2022 Annual Member Meeting and New Artist Reception at the Branson Convention Center Art Gallery on the 2nd Level Concourse in Downtown Branson.

This FREE Community Event will be held THIS Sunday, September 25th from 6-8pm

Everyone is welcome! You do NOT have to be a BRAC member to attend!

The annual member meeting will run until approximately 6:30pm, and will provide an opportunity for elections of new board of directors as well as announcements regarding several new, exciting events and theatrical performances slated for 2023.

The short meeting will be followed by an evening of incredible artistry, as we introduce several new artists joining the Art Gallery Exhibition.

The fourteen artists selected for this six-month exhibition include: Mary Arneson, Meike Aton, Diana Bogardus, Jennifer Buttell, Lee Copen, Crystal Davis, Charles Herchert, Brent Holland, Jasmine Hutton, Vic Mastis, Audrey Bottrell Parks, Gary Parks, Terena Terry, and Whitney Weibel. Their creative works will be on display and available for purchase through mid-March 2023.

NEW ADDITIONS THIS YEAR include live, cabaret performances by BRAC performers as well as a special invitation to anyone who has ever participated in Tri-Lakes Community Theatre productions here in Branson. We are calling it the TLC Cast Reunion, and we plan to share some fun memories of the early days of community theatre in the Ozarks! This cast reunion also includes anyone who has ever participated in a BRAC theatre production over the past four years!

Bring yourself, or a group of friends and enjoy this FREE community event!

The Branson Convention Center Art Gallery has been visited in past years by approximately 100,000 people annually. Several of the featured artists will be attending the reception to discuss their work, and members of the Branson Regional Arts Council Board will be there to answer any questions. Refreshments will be available as well.

Deceased Board Member and Beloved Friend of the Arts, Robert Cohn, enjoyed an earlier Artist Reception. His dedication and hard work to initiate and develop the Branson Convention Center Art Gallery will not be forgotten.

The Branson Regional Arts Council is proud to present the musical theatre favorite, Hello, Dolly! 

The production is under the direction of Jacob Deck with 12 performances on Thursdays (7pm), Fridays (7pm), Saturdays (7pm) and Sundays (2pm) from Sept 8 – 25, 2022.

Seating is limited and advance reserved tickets are suggested at BransonArts.org/tix or by calling the Historic Owen Theatre box office at 417-336-4255. Admission for everyone is locally priced at $17 (Adults 18+), $14 (Youth 4-17). The production is Rated G | All audiences.

This musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s hit play The Matchmaker bursts with humor, romance, energetic dance and some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history. The romantic and comic exploits of Dolly Gallagher-Levi, turn-of-the-century matchmaker and “woman who arranges things,” are certain to thrill and entertain audiences again and again.

Hello, Dolly! is one of the last great musicals from Broadway’s “golden age!”
– The Austin Chronicle

Sarah Williams stars as Dolly Levi

The show has become one of the most enduring musical theater hits of all time, with four Broadway revivals and international success. It was also made into the 1969 film Hello Dolly! by 20th Century Fox, which won three Academy Awards, including Best Score of a Musical Picture and was nominated in four other categories, including Best Picture at the 42nd Academy Awards.

The Branson Regional Arts Council production stars Sarah Williams as Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi, in a coveted role that has been portrayed on stage and screen by such Broadway veterans as Carol Channing, Mary Martin, Barbara StreisandBernadette Peters, Pearl Bailey, Bette Midler and Betty Buckley.

“A musical comedy dream…Wow, wow, wow indeed.”
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Sarah is returning to the Historic Owen Theatre stage after appearing in several previous BRAC productions including Annie, Beauty and The Beast, A Christmas Carol, 9 to 5 The Musical, and The Little Mermaid.

“Classic Broadway at its best.”
Maya Stanton, Entertainment Weekly

Cast members of Hello, Dolly! include:

  • Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi – Sarah Williams
  • Irene Molloy – Sarah Sutherland
  • Cornelius Hackl – David Hewitt
  • Barnaby Tucker – Joey Blackwood
  • Minnie Fay – Molly Tennison
  • Horace Vandergelder – Lamont Wade
  • Ermengarde – Savannah Turner
  • Ambrose Kemper – Dylan Whatley
  • Mrs. Rose – Loran Polson
  • Ernestine – Jennifer Butell

Ensemble actors include:
Melinda Prince, Megan Rodgers, Ashley Rodgers, Somer Dean, Pace Gillman, Sariah Lee Wertman, Joseph Schumacher, A.J Turner, Hallie Groff, Dallin Hughes, and Nathan Sutherland.

Hello, Dolly! is one of the most award winning musicals in History!

Winner! Ten 1964 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Author and Composer/Lyricist
Winner! The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
Winner! Two 1968 Outer Critics Circle Awards
Winner! The 1968 Theatre World Award (Jack Crowder)
Winner! The 1970 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance (Ethel Merman)
Winner! Four 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical
Winner! Three 2017 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Reserve your best seat tickets now at BransonArts.com/tix or by calling the Historic Owen Theatre box office at 417-336-4255.

The Branson Regional Arts Council invites the general public to attend the 2022 Annual Member Meeting and New Artist Reception at the Branson Convention Center Art Gallery on the 2nd Level Concourse in Downtown Branson.

This FREE Community Event will be held on Sunday, September 25th from 6-8pm

Everyone is welcome! You do NOT have to be a BRAC member to attend!

The annual member meeting will run until approximately 6:30pm, and will provide an opportunity for elections of new board of directors as well as announcements regarding several new, exciting events and theatrical performances slated for 2023.

The short meeting will be followed by an evening of incredible artistry, as we introduce several new artists joining the Art Gallery Exhibition.

NEW ADDITIONS THIS YEAR include live, cabaret performances by BRAC performers as well as a special invitation to anyone who has ever participated in Tri-Lakes Community Theatre productions here in Branson. We are calling it the TLC Cast Reunion, and we plan to share some fun memories of the early days of community theatre in the Ozarks! This cast reunion also includes anyone who has ever participated in a BRAC theatre production over the past four years!

Bring yourself, or a group of friends and enjoy this FREE community event!

The Branson Convention Center Art Gallery has been visited in past years by approximately 100,000 people annually. Several of the featured artists will be attending the reception to discuss their work, and members of the Branson Regional Arts Council Board will be there to answer any questions. Refreshments will be available as well.

Deceased Board Member and Beloved Friend of the Arts, Robert Cohn, enjoyed an earlier Artist Reception. His dedication and hard work to initiate and develop the Branson Convention Center Art Gallery will not be forgotten.

Calling All Kids Ages 7-12!!! Come audition to be a part of Crescendo /krəˈSHenˌdō/!

The Branson Regional Arts Council is gearing up for the return of an exciting educational youth performance troupe featuring children who love to sing, dance and act!

BRAC’s Crescendo Audition Info:

  • Saturday, September 17, 2022 from 12pm – 2pm
  • Historic Owen Theatre (205 S Commercial St, Branson, MO 65616)
  • Class Schedule: Thursdays 4:00pm – 5:30pm
  • Dates: Sept 22 – December 17, 2022

      Click Here To Register

      Members of Crescendo will meet on a regular basis (see class schedule below) and will be presenting two public performances of an exciting musical in December called A Year With Frog & Toad at the Historic Owen Theatre.

      Crescendo: “Meaning growing, as in swelling of sound, or becoming louder.”

      Students will have fun developing their performance skills in the areas of voice and dance, while gaining new friendships, skills and increasing their confidence.

      The students will learn and perform under the direction of their talented and qualified instructors Jacob Deck and Julie Brinkman.

      Additional Audition Notes:

      Those auditioning will be asked to sing a cut from a song of their choice, no longer than a minute. Karaoke or mp3 track preferred, but a cappella is also welcome.
      There will also be a short movement call at the end of the singing portion of the audition. Everyone is encouraged to wear clothes that they can move in. Jazz shoes or tennis shoes preferred.

      Crescendo Class Schedule (Thursdays 4:00 – 5:30pm)

      • Sep 22, 29
      • Oct 6, 13, 20, 27
      • Nov 3, 10, 17
      • Dec 1, 8, 15
      • A Year with Frog & Toad musical – Dec 16 & 17, 2022

      Tuition & Fees (if selected):

      • $25 Registration Fee* (covers entire class schedule).  *Grant & Scholarship funding has been applied to keep cost affordable

       We prefer you audition in person, but if you absolutely cannot make it, video submissions or other questions can be sent to edu@bransonarts.org no later than September 9, 2022.  The easiest way to submit your video auditions is to upload it to YouTube, set the video to unlisted, then email the link to BRAC.

      The Branson Regional Arts Council is holding auditions for new students to participate in the 2022-2023 Staccato Show Choir on Monday, September 12, 2022 at 4pm. Auditions will be held at the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown Branson. No pre-registration required, just show up prepared to audition!

      We are looking for students between the ages of 12-18 who have a passion for performing and building their skills.


      BRAC’s Staccato Audition Info:

      • Monday, September 12, 2022 from 4-6pm (be prepared to stay the entire time)
      • Historic Owen Theatre (205 S Commercial St, Branson, MO 65616)
      • Class Schedule: Saturdays 9:00am-11:00am (rehearsal times may be adjusted to work best with the troupe)
      • 1st Semester Dates: Saturdays, Sept 12 – December 10, 2022
      • 2nd Semester Dates: Saturdays, Jan 7 – April 15, 2023

      Tuition & Fees (if selected):

      • $50 Registration Fee* (covers two semesters).  *Grant & Scholarship funding has been applied to keep cost affordable
      • Costume and/or Dance Shoes are Required at cost to student. *Hardship Scholarships possible on request

      SEVERAL NEW CHANGES are being implemented to create an EVEN GREATER performing opportunity than ever before!

      While Staccato will STILL be an ADVANCED MUSICAL GROUP that combines a challenging music repertoire with entertaining choreography, this year we will be incorporating an ON-STAGE ACTING/STAGE PERFORMANCE aspect as we use the season to put together a MUSICAL!

      Under the direction of Jacob Estes, students will focus on elevating their “triple threat” skills and applying their formal training into a lively, MUSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION! (More details on this soon!)

      Through the season, our members will all work towards a common goal while studying:

      • ADVANCED MUSIC THEORY
      • VOCAL & PHYSICAL WARM UPS
      • MUSICAL THEATRE VOCAL TECHNIQUES (belting, mixing, telling a story)
      • STAGE ETIQUETTE
      • HIP HOP – JAZZ – MUSICAL THEATRE DANCE

      Staccato Audition Information:

      Please have two contrasting songs, one minute in length, each in the style of a musical theatre / pop song. (You will  most likely only be asked to sing one, but have two just in case we need to hear more).

      • Submission songs must be no longer than 60 seconds.
      • Please, NO a cappella singing
      • Bring an MP3 instrument track (on Bluetooth phone or ipad type device, we provide speaker)
      • Please be prepared to dance (arrive in dance-wear for the entirety of the audition)

        We prefer you audition in person, but if you absolutely cannot make it, video submissions or other questions can be sent to edu@bransonarts.org no later than September 11, 2022.  The easiest way to submit your video auditions is to upload it to YouTube, set the video to unlisted, then email the link to BRAC.

      GOOD LUCK… and now enjoy videos from past Staccato performances…

      The Branson Regional Arts Council is seeking area artists to be featured in a new six-month exhibition at the at the Branson Convention Center Art Gallery, that officially opens on Sunday, September 24, 2022 and runs through March 17, 2023. *end date subject to change

      Artist applications are being accepted now for  a limited number of artists for this exciting and highly visited gallery exhibition.

      Please submit digital images or portfolio of available work for any of these exhibitions by using the artist submission form or button below.

      CALL FOR ARTISTS - SUBMIT HERE

      • Selected artists will be required to submit a $50 Participation Fee and also have an active BRAC Membership ($20 Annual).
      • All featured artists displayed works will be made available for sale to the public through an online version of the gallery.

      For any questions, please contact Karie at 417-336-4255.

       

      Branson Convention Center – Art Exhibit

      Branson Convention Center Art Exhibition

      The Branson Convention Center Art Gallery is located on the second level promenade of the venue. Twelve to Fourteen Ozarks area artists are featured on a rotating basis.  All works are available for sale with a small commission benefiting the Branson Regional Arts Council. This exhibition is free to the public and open year round.

      NOTE: This is a juried show, so all submissions will be reviewed by a committee before being accepted in the display.

       

      Open Auditions for Blithe Spirit 

      The Branson Regional Arts Council is holding open auditions for a Halloween weekend play production, Blithe Spirit, with 5 hilarious performances at the Historic Owen Theatre. (205 S Commercial St, Branson, MO 65616)

      Audition Date: Sunday, September 4th, 6pm-8pm
      Notes: You may be asked to stay the entire two hours.
      No need to prepare anything as you will be paired with others to read sides from the play.
      If you have a headshot and resume, please bring one, but we will also have audition forms that will be sufficient.

      For questions please contact Karie at 417-336-4255 or edu@bransonarts.org.

      Please review the proposed rehearsal schedule below and make known conflicts with any and all rehearsals and performance days on your audition form.

      Rated PG-13 | for spiked drinks and saucy dialogue

      The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who is called up by a visiting “happy medium,” one Madame Arcati. As the (worldly and un-) personalities clash, Charles’ current wife, Ruth, is accidentally killed, “passes over,” joins Elvira, and the two “blithe spirits” haunt the hapless Charles into perpetuity.

      Blithe Spirit Character Descriptions: 

      Charles Condomine
      Charles Condomine, a novelist. Charles is bright, sophisticated, articulate, and debonair
      but somewhat at the mercy of his wives, past and present. His interest in spiritualism as a subject for a novel
      leads Charles to ask Madame Arcati to dinner and a séance. He is skeptical but becomes a believer when the
      ghost of his first wife appears—and stays.

      Ruth Condomine
      Ruth Condomine, Charles’s second wife. Like her husband, Ruth is witty and sophisticated,
      and she is quite the society matron. Ruth is a bit stuffy and a little predictable. She is convinced that Charles has lost his mind when Elvira appears. Ruth acts as a concerned wife, trying to restore Charles to normalcy.

      Elvira
      Elvira, the ghost of Charles’s first wife. Only Charles can see or hear her. In life, Elvira was spirited,
      outgoing, wild, and carefree. In death, she is no different; she socializes with Genghis Khan. She does love
      Charles, if somewhat casually, and is jealous of Ruth.

      Madame Arcati
      Madame Arcati, the local spiritualist and medium. Elderly but spry, Madame Arcati comes
      into the play talking to an eight-year-old contact on the other side. She truly is in contact with the other world
      and inadvertently is the “medium” through which Elvira is called back to this one. She is eccentric, effusive and
      boisterous.

      Dr. George Bradman
      Dr. George Bradman is a good friend of the Condomines who is invited to dinner and
      the séance. He is entirely skeptical of anything to do with the occult but tries his utmost to go along with the
      proceedings for the sake of Charles’ research.

      Violet Bradman

      Violet Bradman is Dr. Bradman’s wife. Simple and naïve, she is quite excited about being in
      the presence of the medium, whom she finds fascinating.Edith
      Edith is the Condomine’s new maid. She is nervous and tears around at breakneck speed trying to do
      things right and make a good impression.The Creative Team:
      Director: Carson Burkett
      Assistant Director: Adam Hood
      Stage Manager: C.J. McElhiney 
      Stage Manager Apprentice: TBD
      Props Mistress: Megan King
      Set Design: Kyle Blanchard
      Costume Design: Anika Bryceson
      Dialect Coach: Josh BouldenRehearsal Schedule: October 2-26, 2022

      • First week 10am-1pm, M-F (Oct 2-7)
      • 2nd & 3rd weeks 7-10pm, M-Sat (Oct 10-15, 17-22)

      Performance Dates: Oct 27-30, 2022 (Thu, Fri, Sat 7pm, Sun 2pm & 7pm)