Branson is the Las Vegas of the Midwest sans the liquor and debauchery. With many venues staging two to three performances a day, it’s Americana on steroids.
When it comes to achieving the American Dream, Shoji Tabuchi epitomizes it. He arrived in San Francisco from his native Japan three decades ago with $500 and just a few words of English. The violinist/singer/entertainer now performs in his own decked-out theatre and for years The Shoji Tabuchi Show has been rated one of the top variety acts in part thanks to a huge loyal following
The Baldknobbers motto is “The Show that Started it All!” In 1959, four Mabe brothers, known as the Baldknobbers, began entertaining visitors on the Branson lakefront. Generations of Mabes carry on the family tradition of great country music with a good dose of comedy mixed in.
A great place for a stroll down Memory Lane is at the Legends in Concert at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. The show features tribute performances by “stars” such as Buddy Holly, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Bette Midler, Johnny Mathis, Dolly Parton, The Blues Brothers, and of course, Elvis.
Other top acts are The Presleys’ Country Jubilee and the Grand Jubilee, Jonah at Sight and Sound Theatre, a magic show performed by a band of renowned prestidigitators known as The Revolutionists, and the Acrobats of China featuring the New Shanghai Circus. The late, great Andy Williams personally designed and helped create the Moon River Theatre named after his most memorable song. The 48,000 square foot structure opened its doors in 1992 and continues to bring all-star performers to the stage including The Osmonds, The Lennon Sisters, and Charley Pride.
No visit to Branson would be complete without a visit to Silver Dollar City which developed around Marvel Cave – a wet limestone cave which features the Cathedral Room, the largest cave entrance chamber in the United States. The theme park above features a variety of attractions from its top rated wooden roller coaster “Outlaw Run” to world-class theatre performances to culinary classes in an authentic 1880s timber-frame farmhouse.
Stepping back in time is also possible at the Titanic Museum featuring over 400 personal and private artifacts from the doomed ship or antiquing along Branson’s Main Street.
All Photographs Are © Mark Edward Harris
Mark Edward Harris Photographer Bio
After graduating from California State University, Los Angeles with a Master of Arts Degree in Pictorial/Documentary History, Mark Edward Harris started his professional photography career doing the stills for the Merv Griffin Show and various television and movie companies. When the show ended in 1986 he set off on a four-month trek across the Pacific and throughout Southeast Asia, China and Japan. The images created on that trip brought attention to his travel/documentary photography. He since has visited and photographed in over eighty-five countries.
His editorial work has appeared in publications such as Life, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine as well as all the major photography and in-flight magazines. His commercial clients range from The Gap to Coca-Cola to Mexicana Airlines. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.
Website: Mark Edward Harris
Travel Website: ExploreBranson.com