Up early, eat breakfast and head down to board the bus for yet another busy day in Branson. Today we are scheduled for two Christmas shows and a dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle.
First stop was the show “Christmas with the Twelve Irish Tenors at the King’s Castle Theater. We entered the theater and we were immediately shuttled to a corner at the back of the theater to take a group photo. Great, I thought, we’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance block a few moments to get us all together.
I loved everything about this show. The stage was so decorated so simply. Wish I could show you but there were absolutely no pictures allowed. Just twelve white trees in the background with twinkling lights that were illuminated throughout the show with various colors of light and once in a while images of snowflakes on the side walls. The only people on the stage were the tenors themselves entertaining us with a variety of Irish Christmas songs, several Barry Manilow songs, a holiday medley and just a touch of opera.
Just to give you a flavor what we were treated to, they sang, “I Write the Songs”, “Danny Boy”, “Christmas In Kilarney”, “Rosie O’Grady”, “Silent Night”, “Little Drummer Boy”, “What child is this?”, “Nessun Dorme”, “Music of the Night”, and “La Donna E Mobile” and many more. I thought their selection of songs was wonderful, just wonderful. The tenors kept us engaged throughout their performance with period sprinklings of comedy and each performer had a chance during the morning to showcase their individual talents.
During the few days we were in town, we drove up and down the main road quite a bit and each time we passed a restaurant with a huge chicken statue outside. I kept saying to Randy that I had to get a picture of that chicken but the bus was always going to fast. Well, today I got my chance. Today we were stopping at the Great American Steak and Chicken House for lunch. Because we were a group, we were given several choices for lunch to choose from. I decided to get a small bowl of soup and a salad. After eating lunch, I decided that the photo of the chicken I took was the best thing about the restaurant.
We ate with John and Lorraine. Lorraine decided that she needed to walk a bit and since we were not far from out hotel, she would walk. I decided to walk along. As we neared the hotel we noticed that the bus was coming up the hill. Off Lorraine started running with me a few steps behind to get to the front door of the hotel before the bus. We made it and had fun waving to everyone as they pulled up to the hotel door.
Next stop was a dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle. The paddle-wheeler cruises on Table Rock Lake and includes dinner and show. We were going to see a Christmas show titled Made in America. But first, Randy and I walked around all three decks, walked aft to see the huge paddle wheels and then visited the wheelhouse and listened to the captain who answered many questions about the boat.
Our dinner was really quite good. The first course was a refreshing salad with a sweet Vidalia onion dressing. The second course included a portion of beef roast, glazed chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas. Dessert was a wonderfully sinful lemon-berry torte with a caramel drizzle. The entire meal was yummy!
Our host for the evening was comedian and illusionist Christopher James. During his act, James looked to the audience for assistance and called on two cruisers. I was one of them. I helped with several illusions while on stage and had a great time. What is really funny is that I was never nervous but rather felt very comfortable under the lights.
The rest of the entertainment included the music of aerial violinist and pianist Janice Martin and the singing group The Showmen. Everyone in the audience was amazed when Martin climbed high and started playing the Nutcracker Suite on the violin. To say that you could hear a pin drop in the theatre would be an understatement. Ms. Martin is a very talented entertainer.
Our next stop took us to see the Shoji Tabuchi Christmas Show. Several people on the bus were very excited about attending his particular show either they had seen him before or had heard a great deal about his talent. The opening of the show was quite unique with performers dressed as animals walked/ran through the theatre and then balloons were released with the audience taking great delight in batting them here and there.
Before getting comfortable, many theatre goers headed for the ladies and gentleman’s room. Now, I know what you are thinking but that was not the reason. Evidently, these rooms were to be seen, to be believed. The ladies’ room was filled with theatre goers snapping pictures of the Nativity scene, beautiful Christmas trees, orchids, chandeliers, and a huge Santa.
Shoji is a very talented violinist who emigrated here from Japan. Shoji played music from various genres. He played a mean version of the Orange Blossom Special. The show was entertaining but did not live up to the expectations of several on the bus.
The Shoji show was the last official event for the day. However, Brian, our wonderful bus driver, decided to treat us to a drive-through, animated light display call The Trail of Lights. We saw holiday, patriotic and Christmas lighted displays. We all thought it was a great way to end the day.
Finally back at the hotel, a group got together at the café for a little wind down time and a cold drink then off to bed.
Tomorrow is our last day in Branson and it is going to be a busy one.