Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Branson, Missouri

I've spent the past three days in Branson, Missouri. Branson is billed as something like "the family-friendly capital of entertainment", bigger than Broadway, perhaps. They have something like 70 theatres with live performances.

I didn't come here to see the shows; I came here to drive my parents to meet three couples from church here, so they could all go see the shows. Still, I wound up going to see three shows:

Red, Hot, and Blue - a song-and-dance broadly covering the decades of the 1900's.

Comedy Jamboree - a song-and-dance interspersed with comedy a la "Hee Haw".

Legends in Concert - performances by "legends": Buddy Holly, Marilyn Monroe, George Strait, Ed Sullivan, the Blues Brothers, Elvis. It was particularly funny when seductive Marilyn came into the audience and fingered (literally, on the forehead) my friend David to come up on the stage with her. What a hoot!

I'm glad to have had the experience. It's not my type of usual entertainment, and I certainly balked at the pricing (I think the lowest we paid for a ticket was $14; many were $30, but with shopping around at the discount ticket outlets and coupon books, usually you could get those at a 2-for-1 deal - which is fine if you're not a third wheel, like I have been this trip).

The strip, the main road with most of the theatres and hotels and restaurants, was underplanned by the city fathers; it's just a two-lane with a center left-turn lane. That's been the biggest negative of town. Otherwise, it's a nice little town; size about 6000, most of the amenities you might want, clean. I'm sure there's crime here, but it doesn't feel crime-y.

The performers, and restaurant workers, and ticket sellers, etc, have all seemed like decent folks, many making references to God and country. It's a good place. If you're into live performances, I believe I can recommend this town. (And the pricing of the hotels are lower than anywhere else I've seen (although I'm not a great traveler), and the other prices are normal - not inflated like you might expect in a tourist town.) And the mountainous environment is refreshing for this West Texas dweller.

So pack up the family and come to Branson.

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