In the world of Broadway musicals, there’s a term to describe a song that stands out above the rest of the selections. A song or a performance that is so over the top that it’s known as a showstopper. Steve Wynn has brought a show to Las Vegas that is simply known as ShowStoppers because every song and every performance is a pinnacle of magical interpretation.

I had the pleasure of seeing this magnificent show on my last trip to Las Vegas and for those of you that read that first blog, you know how much I loved it, but I have to say, this time around, it was even better than I remembered. From the first sweet musical note to the final curtain and exit music, I was enthralled, enchanted and completely entertained. There is no other show that compares to this extravagant production that encompasses the best of the best. Both in musical selection and in the talented performers that do what they do so extraordinarily well.

When I first saw this show, I absolutely raved about the lead female cast members and I have to tell you that I’m in awe of the three gorgeous and talented women that grace the Encore theatre six nights a week. One of the leading ladies left the show recently and I knew that Kerry O’Malley was irreplaceable. I was convinced that no matter how good the new female lead was, she wouldn’t be able to touch the performance of Ms. O’Malley.

Well, I was wrong. Rachel Tyler is a beauty that hails from the United Kingdom and has a resume that includes national tours with Mamma Mia, Grease, Fame and The Rocky Horror Show. Ms. Tyler was every bit as good as her predecessor, while still bringing something new and vibrant to the stage. Her voice is unbelievably strong and her stage presence was so powerful that from her first song, she had touched my heart and brought my emotions right to the surface. By the last song, I had tears running down my face and goose bumps on my arms. She’s believable, she’s natural and above all else, she’s definitely a star.


Joined by the two other female leads, Lindsay Roginski and Nicole Kaplan Fenton, she easily could fill the shoes of any great Broadway performer. The three of them together on one stage, makes this show worthy of the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence, informally known as the Tony Award. I can’t say enough about these three stand out performers, but I will say that they make me wish I had just a smidgen of their talent.


The biggest difference between this show and the last one I saw was how impressed I was this time by the male leads. Randal Keith, David Burnham and Andrew Ragone were at the top of their game with this particular performance and I was more impressed than ever with their vocal range, powerhouse voices and stellar performances. Randal Keith was born to perform and he easily has one of the best voices out there. David Burnham and Andrew Ragone bring a masculinity to stage that rounds out the sweetness of the ladies.


Every song in this amazing show quickly becomes a favorite with hits from shows like, Cabaret, Chorus Line and Chicago. Not only was I mesmerized by the lead vocalists, but I was also blown away by the cast of fabulous dancers. All of them are extremely talented and lend so much to this production. There were three stand outs for not only their fancy footwork, but by their shining personalities. Natacha Bachour is a gorgeous creature that stood out in every thing she did. Stefan Raulston is the dance captain and with good reason. His smile, his easy moves and his connection with the audience makes him someone to watch. However, the dancer that caught my attention and made me want to know more about who she is and where she comes from is, Genise Ruidiaz. This young lady hails from Miami, Florida and throughout each and every performance, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by her beauty, her acting and her flawless dancing.


Every performance and every song from ShowStoppers is simply the best. I would like to tell you about all my favorite moments, like the jailhouse scene from Chicago that has world class pizzazz with lovely leading lady, Lindsay Roginski. Then another favorite was Nicole Kaplan Fenton singing alongside David Burnham in Money Money or when she plays the adorable Lola in A Little Brains, A Little Talent. This petite, uber talented lady could easily be mistaken for Kristen Chenoweth except she brings her own perfectly suited personality to life when she performs each of her fantastic numbers. I would also like to tell you how magical and powerful the newest cast member, Rachel Tyler was when she sang, Don’t Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl. I thought I had seen a great show, I thought I had witnessed polished talent, I thought the show was as good as a show could be, until Ms. Tyler came out and nailed this classic number from Funny Girl. It doesn’t get better than that. Ms. Streisand should be jealous.

If you have never seen a Broadway musical, or if you have seen them all, you will still want to go see Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers. It is the epitome of the greatest songs from the all-time best Broadway shows. Even if you don’t think you like Broadway, you will still be pleasantly surprised and leave the theatre feeling something you didn’t expect to feel. There is nothing like live musical theatre and with this show featuring a thirty-four piece orchestra conducted by Maestro Dave Loeb, you will be entertained in a way you’ve never been before.




Jim Stafford and Brother Brother

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I had the pleasure of getting to see a legendary performer in Branson last week. Jim Stafford has his own theatre and has been performing in our little town for 25 years! I haven’t had the pleasure to interview the man that made such songs as, “Spiders and Snakes” and “Swamp Witch” famous, but I somehow feel like I already know him. I grew up watching his t.v. show and listening to his songs on the radio. He was one of the first entertainers that I remember that combined music and comedy. Before the show, I wondered how he was going to fill up two hours, but once the stage lights came on showing him sitting on the front of the stage with his acoustic guitar, I no longer had to wonder.

Jim Stafford has a gift for making you feel like he’s just an ordinary guy that happens to play a guitar pretty well and likes to tell jokes. His demeanor on stage was relaxed and professional while entertaining a sold-out audience. Once again, a favorite word of mine to describe most Branson performers is, humble. Jim definitely fit that bill. The entertainers in this town act like regular folk that just happen to have extraordinary talent. Jim dazzled everyone with his mastery of both the guitar and banjo. He also made us laugh with his off-beat, somewhat dry, sense of humor. No stunts, no over the top gags, just straight out music and funny stuff that made the evening very enjoyable.


Jim Stafford has also done something unique and inspiring. He shares the stage with a couple of brothers who cleverly call themselves, Brother Brother. In a world concerned more with egos and money than the purity of art, it is rare that someone older and experienced gives encouragement to a newer generation on the same scale as Jim Stafford.

A few years ago there was a chance meeting between two teenaged boys and a veteran musician and performer. Before long, Jim Stafford started going to the small venues that these two brothers were playing across the state of Florida. He was gracious and interested but most of all, he saw something in these two young men that was definitely worth seeing. He saw that “it” quality. Not only can these two boys keep up with his picking on stage, but their very personalities shine with a light that isn’t often witnessed in today’s youth. These boys are the real deal and take notice of them now, because I predict within a short time, Brother Brother will be a household name.


If you didn’t know the background story of who Bradley and Brett Anderson are and where they come from and what supportive, wonderful parents they have, you would think they were Jim Stafford’s sons. Not that they necessarily look like the famous entertainer, but when you see the three of them on stage together, there’s a bond that cannot be missed. There’s pride from Jim when they both can keep up with him and there’s simple adoration and gratefulness from the boys. There’s a quality to the performance when all three of them are playing that elevates each of their abilities to that really special place. They make magic happen!

I did have a chance to sit and talk with Bradley and Brett and their parents. I found Dwayne and Angelia Anderson to be the kind of people that you want to nominate for parents of the year. They are grounded, they are supportive of the boys’ dream and more than anything, they are involved in the best possible way. You can tell that the family is tight-knit and loving. Angelia laughingly told me that “I am not at all a stage-mother.” And, that’s the key. This family is doing this together and after copious amounts of prayer, they are in a really good place. I also had a chance to meet, “Grandma Grandma” and it was easy to see right away where this family gets it’s sense of values and determination.

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There are numerous shows that you can see while in Branson. But, if want to combine something familiar and something new, this show at the Jim Stafford theatre is a “must see.” You’ll sing along to the songs that Jim Stafford made famous and you’ll rejoice that there’s a couple of youngsters just starting out, that have such obvious talent and love for the art of music. The blending of the old with the new makes this show relevant and memorable all at the same time.

Branson Ducks

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I had the pleasure yesterday of acting like a tourist and riding the Branson Ducks. There are several of these tours throughout the country, but I can’t imagine any more beautiful than the one here in Branson. A “Duck” is an amphibious vehicle that travels on both land and in the water. My friend, John Fullerton, set this up for me and I can’t wait until I write the chapter in the book on this wonderful guy. Not only is he a historian, uber talented musician and devoted family man, he has also been associated with the Branson Ducks since he was a small child. Not only did I get to see the sights and ride in this unique attraction, but I was also privy to a history lesson on the origins of these trucks.

Yes, they are technically trucks. Originally designed in 1942 under the military auspices of Sparkman & Stephens and General Motors Corporation, they were used to transport troops and goods over land and water. The DUKW 2 1/2 ton, 6×6 was instrumental during World War II including during the Normandy Invasion in 1944. Maximum land speed is 50 m.p.h. and maximum water speed is 6 m.p.h. For land operation, the Ducks utilize six wheels powered by a six-cylinder valve-in-head engine. When in the water, the Ducks use a marine type propeller powered from the engine through the transmission and a water propeller transfer case.

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Something that you don’t see often in our world anymore is the repurposing and reutilization of items that are no longer needed in the capacity in which they were built or manufactured. The DUKWs were built solely for short term use by our military and served that purpose well. Thankfully, years after the war ended, these unique vehicles were refurbished and repurposed and became known as Ducks. There will be an entire chapter of the book devoted to the story of the Ducks made possible by the man that knows more about them than probably anyone else in history, John Fullerton.

Yesterday, however, was not about the history of these amphibious vehicles, it was about doing something fun and unique. So, I pulled down my shades, hung my “quacker” around my neck and grabbed the front row seat directly behind our driver and guide, Capt. Reno. We pulled out of the loading area and proceeded directly down Hwy. 76, which in Branson, is known as “The Strip.” We quickly turned off and took a more leisurely route which can be easily missed if you’re in town visiting. There are no windows in the Duck and it made for an incredibly fun ride through town with the wind blowing everyone’s hair. Made me feel a bit like a kid again and riding with all the windows down.

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The tour winds through the beautiful country-side before carrying us to the top of Baird Mountain. Not only is it a breathtaking view of Table Rock Lake all the way to the Arkansas line, but they also have a display on top of the  mountain honoring our military history. This is Branson and the tribute was touching and so appropriate. We are called the most patriotic city in America with good reason. Branson Ducks have created a salute to our armed forces that includes a hill-top display of the Stars and Stripes.

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Capt. Reno was engaging and knowledgeable while he drove the Duck and pointed out things of interest. He had some funny stories and some historical references that told us more about this area. He knew exactly where to stop to get the best pictures and he made sure to encourage us all to use our quackers when another Duck pulled to the top of the mountain. The two drivers had a comical exchange about the fastest way down the mountain that made most of us laugh and a few of us apprehensive about what route Capt. Reno would decide to take.

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The trip down the mountain was done by the usual road and not the short cut that was mentioned. We came to a tree with a fork and as we were slowly ambling along, the driver stopped and there to the side of the road, not twenty feet from where we were, was a young deer. It was awesome to see one of these beautiful creatures up close and in the wild. This is a protected wilderness area and thankfully, no hunting is allowed, so this little guy showed no fear as we all snapped his picture and oohed and aahed over him.

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Not long after descending down to the highway, we turned off where the Branson Belle is docked. Capt. Reno turned off the motor and seriously instructed us on how to use the life jackets in the unlikely event that we needed them. After a fairly quick demonstration, Capt. Reno started the Duck back up and then proceeded to drive through the trees. The launch leading down to the water is very narrow and until we were right upon it, it looked like we were just driving through the trees into the lake. The weird part was that even once I could see the launch, my stomach still flip-flopped a bit as I realized we were driving right into the lake. It was explained that because Table Rock Lake is at such a high level, that we had to enter very slowly as to not veer off and crash into one of the numerous submerged trees.

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Soon after we hit the water, Capt. Reno said it was his break time and asked for volunteers to pilot the craft. I was the first to raise my hand and quickly took my place at the helm. What a blast! We were not going fast, but the water was a little choppy which made for a quicker heartbeat. However, with the wheel in my hands and an explanation about how I was steering the propeller, I felt like a true maritime captain. At least for a couple of minutes.

The captain allowed some others to try their hand at piloting and though they were good, they hadn’t sliced through the clear lake water with the same enthusiasm as I had, so I really have to say I was the best honorary captain of the day. I even got a certificate proving that, once we got back to land.

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Back on dry land, Capt. Reno blasted the stereo with Willie Nelson’s, “On the Road Again.” Once again, just perfect. We gathered up speed and flew down the highway back into Branson with most of singing along to Willie.

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Once back in town, we drove the length of the strip and our guide told us about some of the theater’s and their history including the Baldknobber’s and The Presley’s. We quacked at passing Ducks and road workers before we finally pulled back into the station. What a great day in the Ozarks with picture perfect weather and views that just took my breath away. I might live to be 100, but one of my fondest memories will always be of driving my first Duck.

There are so many things for visitors to do and see while they are in town, but I doubt any of them will be as much fun as the Branson Ducks. So, next time you’re in town, stop in and take a couple hours out of your afternoon for a one of a kind sightseeing tour of Branson and Table Rock Lake. The Branson Ducks also has a station on the Branson Landing where they tour that end of town and splash into Lake Taneycomo. Don’t forget to get your own set of “duck lips” so that you too, can quack with the best of them.

Journey Branson


There’s a little theatre here in town that isn’t that big. It doesn’t have balconies or a fancy lobby, but the sound that comes from this charming venue is some of the best you’ll hear in Branson. I had the opportunity to go see Journey Branson and I’m so glad I did. As soon as the band took the stage, and the first rock-n-roll beats filled the house, I found that little piece of my heart that had been missing. My love of head banging, hip swinging, bass-thumping music.

Jon Sousan is the mastermind that brings something different to Branson with his vision to take a store front and turn it into a little rock-n-roll tribute theatre. In addition to the Journey tribute, Jon also offers tribute shows to the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and Creedence Clearwater Revival. After listening to the guys do an amazing job with the Journey songs, I know I will be back for the rest of the shows. Jon Sousan is not only the driving force behind bringing classic rock to Branson, he also produces the shows, manages the theatre and either sings vocals or plays in each of these great shows.

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Bucky Heard is the front man for the Journey tribute concert. I call it a concert rather than a show because that’s how Bucky referred to what they do. It’s a rock concert. And, it was the best rock concert I’ve ever attended. Yeah, I know that’s saying something, cause I’ve seen some of the best, but the difference is the intimate setting and the amazing talent that is on that little stage. While I loved Journey, I was never a big fan of Steve Perry. After hearing and seeing Bucky perform these memorable tunes, I decided that this local Branson musician should have been given the lead in the real Journey band.

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Bucky belted out all the famous songs with heart and soul that Steve Perry could only pretend to have. Bucky shared a piece of himself with every note he sang. I loved him in this show and was so impressed by his strong vocal ability that it made me want to hear him sing Carmen. While Journey is nothing like opera, I believe that the guy headlining this show could do some Pavarotti covers with as much style as he did the Journey songs. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s such a likable guy. Whether he’s on stage or talking a mile a minute to one of his fans at intermission, you just can’t help but to like this affable man.

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Joining Bucky on stage is one of the tightest bands I’ve ever heard. Tony Bones Irasson plays lead guitar and is quite possibly the best I’ve ever heard in this genre. He’s uber talented, feels the music and owns the guitar licks he puts down. He’s also one of the nicest, most humble guys I’ve ever met. I spoke with him during intermission and had to pry some facts from him concerning his background. He embarrassingly told me, “I just play the guitar.” Yep, it might be rock-n-roll, but this guy has the heart of a hillbilly for sure. There’s a reason guys like him come to Branson.


Doug Clifford is the guy driving the beat on drums. I’ve always thought that drummers have to be the hardest working part of any band, considering the energy it takes to make the rhythm happen. Doug certainly gave it his all and did it in perfect sync with Bryan Lawson.


Now, let me say one thing, when you think bass player for a hard-hitting rock band, a certain image comes to mind. Well, that image is really Bryan Lawson as he is the epitome of talent, long-hair, stage presence and looks. He looks like he eats and breathes Led Zepplin and Whitesnake tunes and has absorbed a little of Cliff Williams from the AC/DC band. He and lead singer, Bucky, are fun to watch on stage and you can tell that they have a real friendship off the stage.


One last guy I have to talk about. Richard Kittleman, also known as The Maestro, is the keyboardist for this tribute show. Once again, Jon Sousan made a perfect choice when putting this act together, he chose this local, but legendary, musician. When not playing at the Branson Tribute Theatre, Richard plays in a number of local bands and also plays for the great Roy Clark. No wonder this show is that good.


Branson is known for it’s hillbilly humor, back-woods humility and of course, country music. But there’s a little corner in town that offers up the most unique entertainment in Branson. You need to catch a couple of shows here and relive your high-school days with some old rock-n-roll. The shows are intimate enough to make you feel like you’re listening to your best friend’s “garage” band, but so high quality, that you find yourself thinking that you’ve traveled back in time and finally won that back-stage pass from the local radio station.


As I was leaving the show that day, I was reminded of a farmer’s market that my mom used to go to early on Saturday mornings. We would get to the home-made stands and my mom would buy tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. There were any number of fruits and vegetables and being a kid, those kind of things didn’t really excite me. However, always up by the cash register were the real goodies. Not fruits or veggies, but cakes and pies and homemade apple butter. That was my favorite part of the whole day and even my mom couldn’t resist picking up something delicious to have as a treat after all those healthy foods.

Well, Branson is the farmer’s market and it’s one of the best in the world. We offer top quality produce that is organic and tasty. You can go to a country show, The Titanic Exhibit or one of the excellent magic shows that we have in town. You can taste country, and gospel and funny. All the fare in this town is blue ribbon awarded and the bounty is beyond belief. But, it’s heavenly to find something sweet, something a little decadent at the end of the shopping trip. This Journey tribute band and the guys in it were like finally getting to the cash register and finding the goodies. In my mind, they were the cupcakes.


The Hits Starring Collin Raye


There is a theatre here in Branson that is legendary. On May 1,1992, Andy Williams opened his own theatre and named it appropriately, Moon River. I had a chance to go see an incredible show there and I was not disappointed in either the building or the entertainment.

The Hits Starring Collin Raye is a show that includes some of the fifteen number one hits that Collin Raye has written, produced and recorded, but also includes some of his favorite songs that of course, were a lot of my favorite songs. I have to be honest and admit that I wasn’t quite sure who Collin Raye was. Yes, I had heard the name and I knew he was a country star, but I couldn’t have named a song he did before I saw this outstanding show. Now, he has gained a fan for life and the only regret I have is for not discovering him earlier than I did. He’s that good.

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Collin started the show with Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and I knew that I had to immediately throw all my preconceived notions out the nearest exit. He had me from that first song. I also have to mention that his band was maybe one of the tightest, hard-hitting bands I have heard. It was also great to hear the audience singing along on so many of the songs including Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.”

Collin Raye has a beautiful voice with rich, high tones and he was pretty much pitch perfect throughout the night. When he did his own hit, “Love, Me” the tears started flowing and the only time they really stopped was when Chipper Lowell provided some magic and comedy. If you have never heard, “Love, Me,” please do yourself a huge favor and go take a listen. If you don’t at least tear up, then I don’t see how we can be friends. It’s a beautiful love song that will pull at your heart strings in the best of ways.

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There’s also a segment of the show that Collin pays tribute to Glen Campbell. There’s a short clip on the big screens in the theatre of Collin Raye presenting the Pioneer Award to Glen Campbell when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Collin explains that it was one of the greatest moments of his life and you could feel his sincerity. He then sang, “Gentle On My Mind.” For those of you that aren’t familiar with this song or are too young to remember it, it’s another one that you absolutely need to go listen to. The song brings forth poignant memories for me as it’s one I can remember my dad singing. The guitar intro on this song has to be one of the most recognizable ever and by the time Collin had finished the two song tribute, I was close to sobbing. Collin pointed out that they don’t write songs like this anymore, and I absolutely concur.

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As much as I like the good tears and the emotions this wonderful show brought out in me, I was thankful and relieved when funny-man, Chipper Lowell took the stage to entertain us for a few minutes. I had never seen Chipper live before, though by chance, I had caught him on Masters of Illusion just a few nights before the concert. My first thought within a minute of his routine was that he’s Carrot Top without the bright orange hair and a lot less frenetic. Honestly, I liked him much better than Carrot Top and actually found myself laughing at his interaction with members of the audience. He does funny magic and a juggling bit and works out of a large trunk that holds all his gags and props. Chipper Lowell provides the perfect interlude with just the right amount of levity. It was also fun texting back and forth with Chipper during the intermission and of course, this is Branson, so these great entertainers are really that accessible. Yep, so accessible and friendly that I’m sure I almost made Chipper miss his cue to start the second half while I was busy blaming my stupid smart phone for spelling a name wrong three times!

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Collin Raye returned to the stage after Chipper’s opening act and wowed me once again. Another person that really stood out was Shaunna Larkin who plays fiddle and mandolin as well as singing back-up vocals for the country crooner. This young lady was outstanding on the fiddle and I loved when her and Collin launched into “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” which is a classic Charlie Daniel’s song. Ms. Larkin absolutely made that fiddle sing. I really have to give kudos to the entire band and tell you that they are one of the hottest sounds around. Really tight and clean and simply kickin’ it!

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This phenomenal show had old favorites, new favorites and I loved all of it. However, one of the most emotional moments came at the very end of the night when Collin Raye surprised me once again and did a song by of all bands, New Direction. He did a cover of their “Story Of My Life” that he sung so well and with such heart that I could believe he had actually written the song. This man is a top-notch, professional performer while managing to maintain his selfless humanity. I did get to meet him, Chipper Lowell and Ross Thomas after the show and I understand why they fit in so well in Branson. They’re exemplary guys that went out of their way to meet with their fans, sign autographs and take a couple hundred pictures. This is one thing that makes Branson so unique and so soul-inspiring. The people like Collin Raye and Chipper Lowell that do their jobs so well that it really stops being a job and simply becomes something magical.

The Hits Starring Collin Raye is only in Branson for a limited engagement and I can’t encourage you enough to go see this quality family show. You’ll not only be entertained for a couple of hours but you will walk away feeling better than when you went in.

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Baldknobbers Jamboree


A few weeks ago I found out that one of my favorite shows in Branson would soon be adding a new female voice to their cast. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that Tammy Beebe was the performer they had brought onboard. I had a chance to see this wonderful, family show a few months ago, but couldn’t wait to see the new production with an added female singer. I had the opportunity to attend their wildly entertaining show last night and I was not disappointed.

The Baldknobbers Jamboree has a variety of songs including a patriotic medley, gospel and current country hits. Between the songs, there’s old-style comedy featuring Hargus Marcel and Droopy Drawers, Jr. These lovable, bumbling sidekicks are played by Jerl Adams and Tim Mabe. The interaction between the two of them combined with their silly antics had people laughing out loud and you couldn’t help but to love the skits. Brandon Mabe plays the straight guy and does a great job being the only “normal” one on stage. It’s Ozarks comedy at it’s best and it also dates back to the beginning of this family show way back in 1959. This funny comedic team only get better with time.


The Baldknobbers show has a great band that includes, Johnny Dumplin’ Cox, Mike Ito, Nathan Agdeppa, Jerry Adams, Jonathan Black, Pete Generous and Brent Mabe on bass and band director. Between the great songs, goofy comedy and emotional numbers, there’s a constant beat that runs through the show. It’s the sound of big-hearted, loving people that put themselves and their talent out there six nights a week.

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I know that I’m not supposed to have a favorite, but I do. As soon as the curtain rose and I heard Brandon Mabe with his sweet, southern drawl, I liked him best. He’s handsome and charming, but when he sings a pretty song, the women in the audience all swoon at least a little. There’s also a crinkling at his eyes that make you know his smile comes from the heart. Brandon is just plain likable and the perfect front man for his family show. He also puts up with the antics from Hargus and Droopy in a comically stoic way that lends credibility to the comedy routines.


And, then, Patty Mabe sings a song with such attitude and sass that I quickly have a new favorite. This talented woman sings with a growl in her voice and a swagger to her step. When Patty belts out a song or sings the harmony lines, she believes every word she’s singing and she convinces everyone who hears her that they need to listen to what she has to say. She’s one classy lady who I’ve come to admire and respect as much as anyone I’ve ever known. So, Patty was the definite favorite of the night.


I know I’m always slightly skewed in favor of the girls, because I love the pretty dresses and glittery outfits, so it’s no wonder that my mind was swayed to another absolute favorite in the form of Megan McCombs. No matter how many times I see this young woman both on and off the stage, I am stopped dead in my tracks by her beauty. She’s stunning, demure and petite, but has a voice that reaches the heavens. When she stepped out in the gorgeous lavender dress and began her sweet,sweet song, there was absolute silence in the theatre except for the girl on stage.  Megan makes you feel every note as if you were living it, so of course, there were tears from me. She’s riveting in her performances and is a true professional with every note she sings and every gesture she makes. How could she not be my favorite?


Yeah, but then there’s the Dreamy Cowboy. For those of you that read my first review of this phenomenal show, you’ll know that’s the nickname that I gave to Denton Mabe. This young man has only to sing in his quiet country voice and look at you with his soulful eyes for the vote to quickly turn to Denton in the favorites category. He’s quiet and dignified and gives a near perfect performance in this show. Deton has small-town manners and world-class charisma. So, he was definitely my favorite.


And, then, there was Tammy Beebe. I’ve written an earlier article on Tammy and I’m sure I will repeat much of what has already been said, but, I really can’t rave enough about this woman. First and foremost, she has one the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. She literally wears it on her sleeve and is a fine example of humanity at it’s finest. Get beyond her caring and generous nature and you find a woman that is genuinely happy with who she is. And, she should be. She’s over the top talented with a voice range to rival any pop-star. Add to that, she’s classically beautiful with a face that Michelangelo would have wanted to paint. Ms. Beebe is the total package and yet has a graciousness about her that welcomes you to her world. Have to say that Tammy was my favorite.

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It all started more than half a century ago when four brothers and a friend decided to entertain folks with music and laughter. The Mabe family has carried on their tradition in the best way possible; with love for each other and for the people that come to their shows each night. At intermission, they all come out and greet their fans. They sit on the edge of the stage and sign autographs. They get hugs and handshakes and they pose for pictures with the grand-kids. But, what they really do is bring a couple hours of fun, love and laughter into our lives. At the end of the night I finally did decide on a favorite and it’s called the Baldknobbers Jamboree.

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Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers


A big thanks to my best friend for procuring center-stage seats for one of the best shows in Las Vegas. This is the same man that took me to my first Broadway production more than two years ago and because of that introduction, I have fallen in love with this genre of art. Broadway shows tell a story through music and you get the best of both worlds. You get to see a marvelously acted story and you get to hear a grand musical concert.

Steve Wynn and the creators of ShowStoppers brings its audience to the absolute pinnacle of musical performance with a cast of sixty-six singers, dancers and musicians. The orchestra is led by Conductor Dave Loeb who does a legendary job in directing the music for each of the numbers. The curtain rises after a short audio introduction by Steve Wynn explaining what we’re about to see and experience. He tells us that a “showstopper” is a musical number that is so outstanding and so over the top that it literally stops the show. Sometimes, it will be a piece from the beginning of a show and sometimes, it can be at the end. Mr. Wynn decided that we needed a show where every song is the showstopper. I couldn’t have imagined what then took place for the next ninety minutes.


There were more than twenty hit songs from classic Broadway, including personal favorites like, “Together (Wherever We Go),” “Cabaret” “If My Friends Could See Me Now” and “One.” These sensational showstoppers were garnered from such greats as, “Mame”  “Annie Get Your Gun”  “A Chorus Line” and many more. There were six vocalists featured in the show and while they were all uber talented, I have to say I had my favorites. The three male leads are, Randal Keith, David Burnham and Andrew Ragone. These guys are all so versatile and are experienced actors and singers with impressive credits ranging from top Broadway shows to movies and television that we would all know.


The guys were great, but, the three lead female performers were the best I’ve ever seen. Maybe because as a little girl, I was entranced by opera performers or the pictures my mom used to bring home from the Reno showrooms. There’s something old-world style about glamourous dresses and trendy coiffures. The first woman to blow me away was, Kerry O’Malley. What a classically beautiful performer with a voice more powerful and authentic than any I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing live. She’s mesmerizing in all of her stand-out performances and I swear by the end of the night that I had a little crush on this amazing lady. When she sings, she commands you to pay attention and to feel. Feel each note as she wrings it from her soul for the benefit of the hundreds of people that show up for this show each week at The Wynn Las Vegas.

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Kerry O’Malley could star in this show and it would be good, but add in the other two female singers, Nicole Kaplan and Lindsay Roginski, and you have the epitome of Broadway and you have a compilation of true “Showstoppers.” Nicole gives a genuinely cute performance in many of the songs including an interaction with a lucky audience member when she does, “A Little Brains, A Little Talent.” She’s as gorgeous as any Vegas showgirl, but has an obvious sense of humor and comedic talent up on stage. I loved her air of innocence and approachability with every song she sang.

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Lindsay Roginski was the stand-out performer of the night for me. With this sensational show and cast, that’s saying a lot. There wasn’t one member of the ensemble that were not stars in their own right and it’s really unbelievable the amount of talent that Steve Wynn found for this incredible production. However, there was one strikingly beautiful performer that instantly drew out the heart in me and that lady was, Lindsay. It’s hard to name just one thing about this performer as there’s so much to draw from. She has a great voice, she’s more gorgeous than a Victoria’s Secret model, she’s tall and willowy, she makes you think of the girl next door or the famous pin-up posters from an earlier generation. She’s all those things and yet, there’s something more. Something that brings to mind the golden age of Hollywood, the glitz and glamour that used to be old Las Vegas. I could easily imagine Ms. Roginski draped on the arm of Frank Sinatra or a young Howard Hughes. She has something; a ‘je ne sais quoi’ quality. She has IT. That something special, that something destined to make her a star.

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Showstoppers has incredible sets and colorful costumes and part of the fun was getting to be dazzled again and again when the curtain would rise to some spectacular scene or a stage full of sequined performers. It’s hard to say that I had favorite numbers as they were all so brilliantly performed. But, if I’m hard pressed, I loved the numbers from “Cabaret” and “Chicago,” probably because I knew the shows and really knew the songs.

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One of the most poignant moments of the night came in the form of a duet between Randal Keith and Kerry O’Malley. It was the song, “Anything You Can Do” and though there were many other numbers more flashy and complicated, there was none that touched me as a human more. The two of them not only sang the song creatively and brilliantly, but put enough of their own personalities into it, to make it relatable and funny. There’s a part of the song that Randal sang in such a way as to actually make his co-star laugh for real. Not acting, not pretending, but really having fun on stage. When performers can make you feel like that, there’s a magic that is unattainable in any other venue.

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Millions of people visit Las Vegas every year. Some go for the gambling, some go for the shows and some go to do things that can only be mentioned when in Las Vegas. The next time you find yourself in the desert of southern Nevada and are looking to have a “real” experience, you have to make your way over to the high-end, luxurious complex known as Wynn Las Vegas. Then you have to shell out a few bucks (okay, more than a few, but you get what you pay for.) and go see this perfectly suited to Las Vegas show. It’s a taste of yesteryear and some of our favorite Broadway shows. Bring the kids if you can afford it. While it’s not geared for a younger audience, this production keeps it fairly clean and there’s nothing like exposing a younger generation to art and culture that is on this level.

Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers could just possibly be the best Broadway show out there, even if the Las Vegas strip is a long way from New York. This show will leave a mark on your heart. For me, it was one of those special, magical nights that makes me so thankful to be living my life. Another perfect night of friendship, Broadway and songs that I’m still humming three days later.

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