The Rankin Brothers – Classic Music Revue

Welk Resorts Branson is thrilled to announce the opening of an exciting new show for the 2008 season; “The Rankin Brothers, Classic Music Revue”!

You’ve more than likely heard it said that everything old is new again. The Rankin Brothers Classic Music Revue is a fresh approach to timeless musical classics. “This is a culmination of a dream come true”, stated Matt Rankin. Brought up in Texas, where they honed their musical skills, performing in Branson has long been their goal. “Several offers came through, but we felt that Joe Sullivan and the Welk Resorts Organization were the perfect match for us and our families”, agreed Mark Rankin. And, after a recent performance at a local community luncheon, the Branson community seems to agree. Tammy Slentz, Sales Manager at the Welk Resort Branson explains, “After the Rankin”s appeared, our phones started ringing off the wall! The people absolutely love them!”

This multi-media show speaks to all groups and all generations. Based on a belief that classic music is timeless, the Rankin Brothers project a love and respect for the music they play. Along with their considerable vocal and musical talents, the Rankin Brothers have a stage presence that audiences adore. Maria Elena Holly, widow of the late, great Buddy Holly commented, “Our Visitors from England, as well as our local friends were absolutely wowed in grand style by the music and showmanship of the Rankin’s. They did a tremendous job with Buddy’s music.”

The show consists of musical numbers from the 50’s to the 90’s and for a few hours, time will stand still as they take the audience on a memorable journey with hits from THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS, SIMON & GARFUNKEL, BUDDY HOLLY, THE EVERLY BROTHERS, NEIL DIAMOND, CONWAY TWITTY, GEORGE STRAIT, ELVIS PRESLEY, and many others. Rounding out the cast will be the Rankin Brothers Band, female singers and dancers and a comedian.

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Welk Stars Reunion 2007

Stars of America’s all time favorite variety show are in Branson this week for the Welk Stars Reunion 2007. The five-day schedule with nine live performances at the Welk Resort Theatre begins today (Wednesday, Sept. 5) and runs through Sunday, September 9.

Original guest stars from the Lawrence Welk television show appearing in the Welk Stars Reunion 2007 include Jo Ann Castle, Anacani, Ava Barber, Dick Dale, Jack Imel, Mary Lou Metzger and Roger & David Otwell (see entertainer bios below).

The Welk Stars will be joined by the dance team of Pasha & Ailona and the Champagne Music Makers under the direction of Bobby Tillery. Produced by Mary Lou Metzger, the show will include Big Band favorites, the stars’ signature songs and a few surprises — topped off by an emotion-filled patriotic salute to veterans.

Show times for the Welk Stars Reunion 2007 are Wednesday thru Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. plus Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the Welk Resort Theatre Box Office, by phone at (800)-734-5515 or (417)-337-7469, on the internet at or at select Branson-area ticket outlets. Ticket prices including all taxes range from $39.50 for Elite Seating to $34.50 for adults and $14.50 for children. An every day “locals rate” is available to people who live or work in Stone or Taney counties. Proof of employment and/or residency is required.

“The Lawrence Welk Show” was broadcast for 27 years – on the ABC television network from July 1955 to September 1971 and in syndication from 1971 to 1982. Demanding that his shows be clean and wholesome, Welk featured easy-listening music performed by a “family” of wholesome musicians, singers and dancers. The show’s enduring popularity has been proven time and again through highly rated re-runs and specials on PBS since 1987 and 11 years of live performances at The Welk Resort Theatre in Branson.

The Welk Resort and Theatre are located 3 miles south of Highway 76 on State Highway 165. The destination resort complex opened in 1994 and includes a 160-room hotel, the Stage Door Restaurant & Lounge, miniature golf course, swimming pool, game room and other amenities. The 2,245-seat theatre near Table Rock Lake was home to the Lawrence Welk Show from 1994 through 2004. A new alliance announced in October 2003 united the Welk Resort Group and Sullivan Shows in a venture designed to bring an array of new shows to Branson. Welk-Sullivan Productions has operated, managed and marketed the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson since January 1, 2004.

Welk Resort Theatre Fall-Christmas 2007

* Sept. 5 – 9: Welk Stars Reunion 2007
* Sept. 10 – Dec. 7: The Lowe Family
* Sept. 12 – Oct. 20: Tillis Family Reunion starring Mel Tillis & Pam Tillis
* Oct. 29 – Dec. 7: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers and The Lennon Sisters
* Nov. 1 – Dec. 8: Mel Tillis & Connie Smith
* Nov. 6 – 12: Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall display – free, open to public
* Nov. 11: Tony Orlando’s Yellow Ribbon Salute To Veterans
* Nov. 12: Tony Orlando show (limited engagement; 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. on Nov. 12 only)

Welk Stars Reunion 2007: Entertainer Biographies:

Jo Ann Castle – Discovered by Lawrence Welk as a teenager, Jo Ann Castle appeared on the famous band leader’s show for 10 years as both a pianist and accordionist. She became one of the show’s most popular entertainers, becoming known as “Ragtime Piano Gal,” and “Queen of the Honky-Tonk Piano.”

In the 1980s Castle wrote and recorded several collections of ragtime and honky tonk favorites, combining ragtime, honky-tonk and boogie-woogie standards with her original compositions. In 2002 she hosted a PBS special, “Legendary Liberace,” which included a duet with Jo Ann and Liberace created through the magic of television editing.

Today Castle is widely recognized for her unique piano style that combines the veracity of Jerry Lee Lewis with the flamboyance of Liberace. Her live performances are infused with Castle’s distinctive mix of comedy, sass and boundless energy.

Anacani – Born in Sinaloa, Mexico, Anacani was just 12 years old when she became a star on Mexican television, was signed to a recording contract and toured throughout Mexico and Latin America. During a combined tour of Latin America and the United States, she was dining at Lawrence Welk’s restaurant and met the famous maestro. When Lawrence Welk learned that Anacani sang, he auditioned her on the spot and she joined the Lawrence Welk television show in February, 1973. She quickly became an audience favorite and regular performer on the show. She toured with the Lawrence Welk Musicial Family and continues to perform in the United States and Mexico.

The Welk Stars Reunion 2007 marks only the second appearance for Anacani at the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson. This bilingual vocalist, Latin dancer and actor performs as a soloist with many symphony orchestras and is also an accomplished musician on the guitar and piano. In addition to her musical talents, Anacani also designs and creates all of her

Ava Barber – this singer/pianist was a regular on “The Lawrence Welk Show” from 1974 to 1982. She had a hit record in 1978, “Bucket To The South,” and appeared on many television shows including “Nashville Now,” “Music City Tonight,” “Prime Time,” “Crook & Chase Show” and “The Grand Ole Opry.” In 1990 she opened her own theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and performed there until August 1996. She appeared frequently at the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson with the Welk Show and tours across the country.

Dick Dale – began singing and playing saxophone with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra in 1951 and continued on “The Lawrence Welk Show” until 1982. Dale also danced, performed comedy segments and was part of the show’s production staff. He played the role of Santa Claus every year during the annual “Welk Christmas Show.” In the 1990s, Dale perfomed at Ava Barber’s Rainbow Music Theatre in Tennessee for five years and also performed

Jack Imel – joined “The Lawrence Welk Show” in 1957, quickly becoming a regular on the show with his energetic marima act that concluded with Imel leaping over the marimba. The multi-talened Imel went on to sing, dance, choreograph, produce and direct on “The Lawrence Welk Show” and in live performances. He appeared frequently at the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson from 1994 through 2004 and today he continues to delight audiences with his energetic marimba playing and tap dancing.

Mary Lou Metzger – began her entertainment career at age 7. She majored in music at Temple University and was later introduced to Lawrence Welk by a talent scout. Following her first Welk Performance in 1970, Metzger became known as the girl who danced with Mr. Welk at the end of the weekly television shows. She produces video and stage projects including live performances for the Welk Resort in Escondido, Calif. and the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson, Mo. Metzger is producing this week’s Welk Stars Reunion 2007.

Roger & David Otwell – born in Tulia, Texas, these twin brothers first got into music by playing the tuba in the high school band. They won music scholarships to Lubbock Christian College as members of the “Good Time Singers.” After moving on to West Texas State, they auditioned for Lawrence Welk and joined the television show in October 1977, teaming with the Aldridge Sisters. Today they reside in Texas with their families and continue to perform together in concerts, churches, special events and for Lawrence Welk Show wraparounds on public television. The Welk Stars Reunion 2007 marks their first performance in Branson at the Welk Resort Theatre.

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American Idol Taylor Hicks coming to Branson’s Welk Resort Theatre

The 2006 American Idol, Taylor Hicks, is coming to Branson’s Welk Resort Theatre for one concert on Monday, July 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets will go on sale Friday, May 11.

Hicks charmed America with his soulful voice and rousing delivery of songs such as “Takin’ It to the Streets,” to win the title of the fifth-season American Idol. The 29-year-old with salt-and-pepper hair and a legion of fans dubbed the “Soul Patrol” captured the hearts of more than 63.4 million people who voted him the 2006 American Idol.

Hicks’ debut single, “Do I Make You Proud,” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Single Sales and Pop 100 charts last summer. His self-titled debut album was released on December 12, 2006. Taylor Hicks debuted at the number two spot on the Billboard 200 charts and was certified as an RIAA platinum album on January 17, 2007. Hicks was named “Hottest Bachelor” in 2006 by “People” magazine. His memoir, “Heart Full of Soul, an Inspirational Memoir about Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way,” is scheduled for release in July.

“Taylor Hicks is one of the hottest concert tickets across America,” said Joe Sullivan, Executive Producer and General Manager of Welk-Sullivan Productions. “I encourage Taylor Hicks fans to get their tickets when they go on sale May 11 as I expect this concert to sellout quickly.”

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America’s Rock Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, coming to Branson’s Welk Resort

Just five days after they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform at Branson’s Welk Resort Theatre on Saturday, March 18th and Sunday, March 19th at 8 p.m.

One of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed Southern Rock groups of the 1970’s, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s distinctive triple-lead guitar sound made their “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Free Bird,” into American anthems and staples of FM radio, along with “What’s Your Name,” and “Gimme Three Steps.”

Tickets for Up Close and Personal with Lynyrd Skynyrd at Branson’s Welk Resort Theatre will go on-sale Friday, February 10 at The Welk Resort Theatre Box Office. Prices, including all taxes, range from $69.50 to $39.50.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s unique brand of Southern rock appeals to fans of rock, blues and country music. They have sold more than 26 million albums, including 18 Gold, 13 Platinum and 7 Multi-Platinum albums plus three certified Gold videos. As America’s Rock Band,” they’re in their element when they’re performing live, “Live shows are really what this band is about,” says founding member and guitar legend Gary Rossington. “We love to play live, there’s nothing else like it.”

The group also frequents TV’s music video channels. They’ve been featured on several, “VH1-Behind The Scenes” segments and on “CMT Crossroads” with Montgomery Gentry. On February 24, Lynyrd Skynyrd will be featured in a CMT original 90-minute documentary on the roots and legacy of Southern rock entitled “American Revolutions: Southern Rock,” along with Charlie Daniels, Drive By Truckers, Hank Williams Jr. and The Allman Brothers Band.

Lynyrd Skynyrd will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the Twenty-First Induction Ceremony on Monday, March 13. The ceremony will be taped, edited and broadcast on VH1.

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Gordon’s familiar No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet to disappear in 2006

Beginning March 10, Jeff Gordon’s familiar “fire and flames” No.24 DuPont Chevrolet will vanish. Darren Romeo, a master illusionist, will incorporate Gordon’s car into each of his 2006 performances at the Welk Resort Theatre located in Branson, MO. The talented magician will make the car disappear during his shows held at the theater beginning in March in an illusion titled “Two Men Living Their Dream.”

“I admire Jeff mostly because he is a man who always believed that nothing is impossible, and that is how I have lived my life, ” said Romeo, Siegfried and Roy’s only protégée. “Jeff always wanted to be a race car driver, and I always wanted to be a magician. My parents made huge sacrifices for me to live out my dream, just as Jeff’s parents did for him.

“And now, every audience that sees my show will experience a great impossibility and a wonderful life lesson, too.”

Gordon, who began racing quarter-midgets at the age of five and is now a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, believes the audience will experience a journey during each show.

“Magicians and illusionists have always amazed me, and Darren is no exception,” said Gordon. “I’m not surprised that NASCAR’s popularity has led to this opportunity. “The audience should expect a wild ride during Darren’s performances this year.” Adding a NASCAR element to each show seemed to be the next logical step “We have realized for a long time that a large percentage of Branson visitors are NASCAR fans,” said Joe Sullivan, executive producer of Welk-Sullivan Productions. “We are delighted to have an opportunity to include an element in The Darren Romeo Show that will be fun and exciting for people who enjoy NASCAR and particularly Jeff Gordon and his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

“We are looking forward to working with DuPont, Pepsi-Cola and the other sponsors to maximize their exposure in the Branson market and to create an entertaining experience for NASCAR fans at the Welk Resort Theatre.”

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Three Dog Night to perform in March at Branson’s Welk Resort Theatre

One of the most popular and distinctive bands in the world will add some sizzle to Branson’s Hot Winter Fun season in March. Welk-Sullivan Productions announced today that Three Dog Night will perform at the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5.

Huge hit singles and albums along with sold-out concerts established Three Dog Night as the most popular American group in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. From 1969 through 1974, no other group had more Top 10 hits, moved more records or sold more concert tickets. Their list of hits includes Mama Told Me Not To Come, Joy To The World, Black and White, Shambala, Easy To Be Hard, An Old Fashioned Love Song, The Show Must Go On, One, Never Been To Spain and more.

Three Dog Night has 21 consecutive Top-40 hits, 18 straight Top-20 hits, 11-Top 10 hits, three #1 pop singles, 7 million-selling singles and 12 straight gold albums. They recorded music of the best and mostly undiscovered new songwriters of their time including Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Elton John, Laura Nyro, Paul Williams, Hoyt Axton and others. The group’s eclectic taste, combined with their ability to recognize and record hits in a distinctive and appealing style, resulted in Three Dog Night dominating best-selling charts for years.

“Three Dog Night’s success came not only in record sales and radio,” said Joe Sullivan, Executive Producer of Welk-Sullivan Productions. “Three Dog Night is known for their live performances and that’s the experience we’re bringing to Branson. Audiences are in for a real treat when Three Dog Night performs their classic rock/pop music in the intimate, elegant setting of Branson’s Welk Resort Theatre,” he said.

Three Dog Night’s signature sound features founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton on lead vocals, as well as original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup. Completing the lineup are Paul Kingery on bass and vocals and Pat Bautz on drums.

Welk Champagne Theatre and Resort opened in 1994. The destination resort complex includes a 160-room hotel, the Stage Door Restaurant & Lounge, a miniature golf course, swimming pool, game room and other amenities. The 2,245-seat theatre near Table Rock Lake has been home to The Lawrence Welk Show since 1994.

In 2003 the theatre was renamed The Welk Resort Theatre. A new alliance announced in October 2003 united the Welk Resort Group and SullivanShows in a venture designed to bring a vast array of new shows to Branson. Welk-Sullivan Productions has operated, managed and marketed the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson since January 1, 2004.

The theater’s 2005 entertainment lineup includes three seasons of Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers – new spring shows, Together Again with Pam Tillis in the fall and Celebrating Christmas 2005 with The Lennon Sisters; an expanded, 8-month schedule for Darren Romeo, the first and only protégé of Siegfried & Roy; The Lowe Family of Utah; and special events such as the Three Dog Night Concert. The complex is also the site for the 13th Annual BransonFest in April.

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