He’s No Dummy, But His Friends Sure Are

You never know who is going to turn up in Branson! A special group of people were in town recently at the RFD-TV Theatre. Well, not exactly a group of ‘people’. It was Terry Fator and his friendly gang of puppets.

A master ventriloquist, singer, comedian and celebrity impressionist, Fator won the hearts of millions of NBC-TV fans as he was crowned the 2007 “America’s Got Talent” $1 million prize winner. Branson’s own talented family, The Duttons, fared well on the program, making into the the Top 10 in 2007’s competition.

Fator has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and on Oprah Winfrey’s show where fellow guest Simon Cowell (of American Idol fame) exclaimed ‘You’re one of the best entertainers in the world!’

Beginning in February, 2009, Fator and friends will be headlining at Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel kicking off a five-year $100 Million dollar contract. He continues to sell out concerts nationwide with his mesmerizing ability to combine superb ventriloquy, yes that’s a real word, with amazing celebrity singing impressions.

Congratulations, Terry. Enjoy Las Vegas and stop back by Branson anytime.

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America’s Got Talent Finalists Coming to Branson

There was a definite Branson connection when it came to some of the finalists on this summer’s hit NBC television show, America’s Got Talent – and that connection is about to get a lot stronger.

The Duttons, a Top Ten Finalist, have invited other finalists from the show to perform at the Dutton Theater in Branson for a limited engagement beginning Monday evening, September 17th.

“This all started as a request from David Hasselhoff to help some of the acts from America’s Got Talent pursue their dreams to continue performing,” said Sheila Dutton, matriarch of the talented family.

“During the course of the competition, all of the contestants got to know each other and became friends. When we made the offer to open a show here in Branson for a fall run, word got around and it wasn’t long before the phone was ringing off the hook. Everyone is so excited to come here.”

Each show will feature at least three of the finalists. The opening week will include the Calypso Tumblers from New York, singer Robert Hatcher from Cincinnati, the Glamazons from New York, and Branson’s own Johnny Lonestar. Subsequent weeks will feature Cas Haley, Julienne Irwin, Fault Line, Jason Pritchett, and Butterscotch. This year’s winner, ventriloquist Terry Fator, will participate via video from Las Vegas and is trying to clear a few days to join in the fun in Branson.

The Finalists will take the stage from 5:30 – 7 PM, Monday through Saturday. The Duttons will be hosting the show, and will be performing at 8:00 PM. Special combo-ticket packages are being made available that will include the Finalist Show, the Duttons Show and a free dinner for a special price.

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Branson’s Got 2 in “America’s Got Talent”

After making it through the initial auditions, the short list and finally to the twenty semifinalists for NBC’s hit television show America’s Got Talent, Branson’s Dutton Family and Johnny Lonestar are ready to proceed toward winning the grand prize of $1,000,000.

Dean Dutton, family patriarch of the talented group of seven siblings, mom and dad, exclaimed, “Our family is so excited with being able to participate in America’s Got Talent. We were blessed to make the semifinals and look forward to the rest of the competition.” Featuring a wide array of musical genres, The Duttons combine beautiful vocal harmonies, instrumental virtuosity, high-energy dancing, and heartwarming comedy. Each Dutton plays at least six different instruments.

Gun-slingin’, rope-twirlin’, bull-whippin’ cowboy Johnny Lonestar, with Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, is on his way to the next round. Raised in Smithtown, NY, he started trick-roping at the age of 15. At 17, he won the “Will Rogers Rookie of the Year” award. By age 20, he received his first professional job on the Las Vegas strip performing rope-twirling, gun-spinning and whip-cracking. Johnny brought his act to Branson, and has been here for the past 13 years.

“America’s Got Talent is bringing the variety format back to the forefront of American culture. With the performances of Johnny Lonestar and The Duttons showcased on national television, the high caliber of Branson talent was well-represented,” said Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley.

“Starting with the semifinal performance episodes, the judging will be turned over to the American viewing audience who will vote each week for their favorites,” according to Ross Summers, President/CEO of the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We hope that all their fans will vote for their Branson favorites.” The series culminates with a live finale where one act will walk away with a million dollar prize.

To plan a trip to the “Live Entertainment Capital of America,” or to find out more about the many other talented acts, call the Branson Tourism Center today!

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Johnny Lonestar’s Got Talent

NBC’s America’s Got Talent can add another Branson entertainer to their list of acts that have passed through the first round of their competition. Gun-slingin’, rope-twirlin’, bull-whippin’ cowboy Johnny Lonestar is on his way to Las Vegas for the next round.

Johnny Lonestar was born and raised in Smithtown, NY. He started trick-roping at the age of 15. At 17, he won the “Will Rogers Rookie of the Year” award. By age 20, he received his first professional job on the Las Vegas strip performing rope-twirling, gun-spinning and whip-cracking. Johnny took his act to Branson, and has been here for the past 13 years. Within that time he has also performed in Japan, Biloxi, Pigeon Forge, and Atlantic City. In 1999, Johnny received the “Novelty Act of the Year” award in Branson. He is now in his third year of the Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express show. In January 2000, Johnny married his wife Cat, and they had their first child Dominic, in June of 2005.

Tune in to NBC on Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11 at 7pm for America’s Got Talent’s Las Vegas Call Back Round!

Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express performs at the Clay Cooper Theatre at 8pm Tuesday through Sunday and 10am on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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