Branson Regional Arts Council To Purchase Historic Owen Theatre

The Branson Regional Arts Council has entered into a contract to purchase the Historic Owen Theatre at 205 South Commercial Street in downtown Branson, Missouri.

Local residents Ron and Diane Mathes have owned the venue for many years, providing a showcase for a variety of live music shows including the current productions “A Neil Diamond Tribute” starring Keith Allynn, and “Carpenters Once More,” starring Dianna Lynn. Both shows have a full schedule through mid-December, with the Arts Council assuming operation of the venue in January 2018.

“We truly appreciate that the Mathes’s understand and support the vision of the Branson Regional Arts Council in our quest to improve the lives of area residents and visitors by providing artistic and theatrical community programs,” said Executive Director Jim Barber. “After 52 years as an organization, the Arts Council will have, for the first time, a permanent venue dedicated to presenting community theatre and other arts related programming. This investment will be a catalyst for new economic growth opportunities through arts initiatives that serve our entire area,” added Barber.

(Left to Right) Dr. Hayden Head (BRAC Board Member), Lisa Murphy (BRAC President), Ron & Diane Mathes (Owen Theatre Owners), Harry Styron (BRAC Attorney), Jim Barber (BRAC Executive Director), Kim Hale (BRAC Board Member).

Built in 1936, Branson’s very first theatre was originally owned by Jim Owen, who served as Mayor of Branson for 12 years and achieved International fame as the “King of the River,” for entertaining tourists, corporate executives and even Hollywood celebrities with his popular White River float trips. His passion for promoting the natural beauty of the Ozarks, and his extraordinary entrepreneurship attracted guests such as Gene Autry, Joe DiMaggio, Forrest Tucker, Charleston Heston, and Rose O’Neill.

The Owen Theatre was initially called the “Hillbilly Theatre” and incorporated large, hand painted Ozarks scenes by famed area artist Elsie Bates Fruend, who Mr. Owen lovingly referred to as his “Hill Girl.” Elsie’s paintings and custom jewelry were also displayed in a small, lobby gallery. Several years ago, the City of Branson and the Branson Arts Council commissioned a bronze plaque, which is still on display at the theatre entrance to commemorate Elsie’s work.

Jim Owen had a long list of credentials. His career began as an advertising manager for a Jefferson City Newspaper. After visiting the Ozarks in 1933, he fell in love with the area, making it his permanent home. Before his death in 1972, he had owned a drug store, theatre, and an auto dealership. He was president of a bank and even wrote a fishing column for the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, AR. In addition, he owned champion fox hounds and bird dogs, produced his own brand of pet food, and owned a large dairy. In addition to that, he authored a book entitled: “Jim Owen’s Hillbilly Humor” and became the subject of feature magazine articles in Look, Life, and The Saturday Evening Post, with his hilarious and heartwarming stories of life in the Ozarks.

The theatre was designed for Mr. Owen by Carl and Robert Boller of Kansas City, Missouri. The Boller Brothers, who’s family roots were in Vaudeville, are credited with designing, or consulting on the design of, over 300 classic theatre venues nationwide, ranging from small vaudeville houses to large movie palaces. Each theatre was unique, with designs influenced by the history of the towns in which they were located.
Approximately 20 of the Boller Brothers works are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

By the end of the 1920’s, the brothers were well established as specialists in the architectural field of theater and movie palace design. The stock market crash of October 29, 1929, lead to the great depression, nearly destroying the Boller Brothers firm due to cancelled contracts. By June 1932, Robert, now close to bankruptcy, was forced to close the Kansas City office and move his family to a cabin in the Ozarks in hopes of weathering the bad economy. Over the next few years, he received a handful of commissions, including the design of Branson’s very first movie house, the Owen Theatre. These jobs were enough to allow him to move back to Kansas City and reestablish a small home office where he focused on theatre remodeling, as well as a few new venues of simple modern design.

While many of the Boller Brother theatres have now been demolished or renovated, the Branson Regional Arts Council is excited for this opportunity to preserve the original aspects of the Historic Owen Theatre, while providing a wide variety of artistic, cultural and educational opportunities that support, strengthen, and enhance the lives of Branson area residents and visitors from around the world.

Shakespeare In The Park Tickets On Sale Now

Shakespeare In The Park Tickets On Sale Now

 

ADULT TICKETS
$15 (18+)




STUDENT TICKETS
$10 (show id)




YOUTH TICKETS
$5 (12 & under)




 

 

Arts Council Members may purchase tickets at the gate for $10 (must show current membership card)
Not a member? CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS WILL ALSO BE SOLD AT THE GATE – CASH or CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED.

The Branson Regional Arts Council is proud to present Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the cast of FORTE Theatrical Productions and members of the Branson Regional Arts Council Youth Troupe.

Location:

Chad A. Fuqua Memorial Park (Next to Hollister City Hall & Train Depot)
312 Esplanade Dr.
Hollister, MO 65672

Dates & Times:

  • Sunday, July 30, 2017 – 6:30pm – Artisans, 7pm Youth Troupe & Main Show
  • Monday, July 31, 2017 -6:30pm – Artisans, 7pm Youth Troupe & Main Show
  • Sunday, August 5, 2017 – 6:30pm – Artisans, 7pm Youth Troupe & Main Show
  • Monday, August 6, 2017 -6:30pm – Artisans, 7pm Youth Troupe & Main Show

Seating Availability:

  • Audience members should bring their own folding chairs or blankets to sit on
  • A limited supply of chairs we be available to rent for $5 each
  • Seating location is first come, first serve

Parking:

Parking is available next to Hollister City Hall, or you may park on Historic Downing Street and use the stairway up to the park area.

Things To Keep In Mind:

  • This is an outdoor concert, so you might want to bring an umbrella or poncho in case of light rain.
  • You may wish to apply insect repellent spray to your shoes and pants before attending.
  • Water and other refreshments will be available at the park.

Branson Show Awards Presentation Monday June 26th

BRANSON SHOW AWARDS PRESENTATION MONDAY JUNE 26th!

The Branson Regional Arts Council is pleased to sponsor the Branson Show Awards once again this year.

2016 BRANSON SHOW AWARDS PRESENTATIONS

  • Monday, June 26th
  • Jackie B. Goode’s Uptown Cafe, 285 MO-165, Branson, MO 65616
  • Presentations between 2:30pm and 4:30pm CST

2016 Award Winning Branson Performers and Shows will receive their awards at an informal reception this Monday at the Uptown Cafe. The public is invited to drop by and cheer on your favorite artist as they receive their award. Food and refreshments may be ordered at the restaurant.

2016 Branson Show Awards Winners are…

BEST SHOW – Clay Cooper’s Country Express
BEST LEGACY SHOW – Barbara Fairchild
BEST NEW SHOW – Rock and Roll Revival
BEST COMEDY SHOW – Smoke On The Mountain
BEST GOSPEL SHOW – New South Gospel
BEST VARIETY SHOW – The Duttons
BEST THEATRICAL PRODUCTION – Moses
BEST MORNING SHOW – The Bretts
BEST SHOW FOR FAMILIES – Amazing Pets
BEST MUSICAL FAMILY – The Haygoods
BEST TRIBUTE SHOW – Carpenters Once More
BEST DINNER SHOW – A Tribute To George Strait
BEST MATINEE SHOW – #1 Hits of the 60’s (& 50’s too)
BEST SHOW LIMITED ENGAGEMENT – Arizona Keepsakes
BEST PATRIOTIC SALUTE – Clay Cooper’s Country Express
BEST MALE VOCALIST – George Dyer
BEST FEMALE VOCALIST – Tamara Tinoco
BEST SINGING GROUP – Statler Brothers Revisited
BEST FEMALE SINGING GROUP – Branson Dreamettes
BEST MALE SINGING GROUP – New Jersey Nights
BEST QUARTET – Million Dollar Quartet
BEST BAND – Labamba
BEST KEYBOARD – Darrell Croy
BEST LEAD GUITAR – Wayne Severson
BEST BASS OR UPRIGHT – Larry Alred
BEST DRUMMER – Josh Gabriel
VIOLINIST OF THE YEAR – Amy Dutton Arambulo
BEST HORN – Marvin Short
BEST INSTRUMENTALIST – Katherine Haygood
BEST TRIBUTE ARTIST – CJ Newsom
BEST IMPRESSIONIST – Terry Sanders
COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR – Terry Sanders
BEST PHYSICAL COMEDY – Jordan Gabriel
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR – Andrea Brett
BEST DANCE TROUPE – Country Express Dancers
BEST FEMALE DANCER – Jennifer Turner
BEST MALE DANCER – Steve Parish
FEMALE ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR – Heather Gentry
MALE ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR – Timothy D. Dutton
YOUNG MALE ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR (age 11-17) – Timothy J. Dutton
YOUNG FEMALE ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR (age 11-17) – Nadia Cole
BEST MAGIC SHOW – Illusionist Rick Thomas
BEST DUET – Shane Vorhaben & Dave Sanders
BEST MASTER OF CEREMONIES – Mike Patrick
ENTERTAINERS OF THE YEAR – Hughes Brothers, IT
BEST CHRISTMAS SHOW – Maxine’s Christmas Carol