You just never know what a casual tip will lead to. In this case, it led to my birthday spectacular surprise.
In a conversation with a fellow musical show lover, Bill learned that Branson, Missouri, was not just a country music town. It was Broadway in the Midwest—a mecca for top talents.
Knowing how much we both love musical theater a la Broadway, a light bulb blinked over Bill’s head, and the next thing I knew we were headed off to Branson to indulge our entertainment senses with five whole days of fabulous concerts, shows and reviews from the best seats in the house. I could not have been more enchanted.
We arrived at the new Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing and from our balcony, surveyed the city’s pulsating opportunities for dining, shopping, browsing, watching street performers and just strolling around. It was a shopping paradise, and I could have been content with just that.
But no. Bill had an agenda. He had filled our afternoons and evenings with star-studded performances that he had personally selected from a menu of approximately 45 choices. That’s how prolific Branson’s entertainment possibilities are on any given day. And there we are, right in the middle of it all.
We began our entertainment odyssey in front-row seats of a huge theater, and in the spotlight were the legendary Oak Ridge Boys. What a toe-tapping evening! These extraordinary performers are as famous for their American folk renditions as they are for their passionate gospel music. It was a “down home” night for us with so many familiar favorites, and the audience shared our enthusiasm by singing along. Want to hear my version of “Elvira”?
On Day Two, we shopped ’til we dropped but saved energy for that evening for our next theatrical adventure: an evening with SIX. Who, you ask? Well, I did too. But believe me, they were unforgettable. Here were six brothers whose high energy took entertainment to a new and unique level. Using only their voices, they were their own singers and musical instruments—percussion, brass, harmonies. An entire choir and orchestra floating out of their mouths to a spellbound audience. Our eyes couldn’t believe our ears.
Day Three began with a fairy-tale experience. We visited a rain forest with a butterfly palace, where we walked among thousands of butterflies from all over the world. It was color in motion! And, as luck would have it, our matching yellow shirts delighted the butterflies as their swirled about us and alit on our heads and arms. Talk about being at one with nature!
That afternoon was yet another enthralling theater experience—the Twelve Irish Tenors. This remarkable singing group mastered everything from “Danny Boy” to “Nessum Dorma,” with renditions of every musical genre from jazz, pop and Irish folk songs to opera. But let’s not be too stuffy. That evening in our blue jeans and T-shirts, we delved into another music adventure, this one billed as “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” a two-hour live nonstop program of the greatest hits from the 50s. I had forgotten how nostalgic that music could be. Where were my saddle oxfords when I needed them?
Day Four was a “banner” day (pun intended) for the musical theater magic of “Broadway: the Star-Spangled Celebration.” Let me catch my breath. Picture the large stage alive with top talents celebrating music from all the Broadway classics: Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Chicago, Cats, 42nd Street and more. Absolutely heavenly. And as an added little perk, shy little me asked the gentleman sitting next to me why he was taking notes. Turns out to my delight, he was the theater critic reviewing the show for the local newspaper.
Our last evening continued our Branson musical theater adventure with the perfect finale to a sublime four days. What more could I possibly ask for than an evening with the world-famous Eagles? This was their “Take it to the Limit” show, and believe me, it did. It included three of my all-time favorites—”Hotel California,” “Take It to the Limit” and “Desperado”—and there they were, the Eagles, almost in touching distance. I was certain they knew I was there and they were singing to me!
Yes, dear readers, music filled our souls and, in my case my morning shower, for many months to come. And even now, when I hear my favorites, I drift back to Branson and remember moments of bliss. I was the birthday honoree many times over. And I am reminded more and more that birthdays are not time clocks. They are celebrations of life.
As we spring forward now into summer, may I remind you that in June, July and August, you become the feature in my Musings column. Oyster Pointer invites you to share your favorite book with our readers and you can win a Barnes & Noble gift card! Join us for our Annual Summer Book Review Series. Tell us the name of a book you absolutely loved. Include a brief plot summary and your personal review. Just for fun, let us also know your favorite book nook—the beach, your porch swing, wherever you love to cozy up with a great read!
Submit your review now—or by May 19. The first 12 reviewers will receive a Barnes & Noble gift card. Please send your review to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.