I have never worked so hard in my life. I have never enjoyed my work more. That pretty much sums up spending this past August with my partner Yakov Smirnoff in Branson, MO as we built my new multi-media variety show BRADY BRUNCH.
Ever since the days of Johnny Bravo, I have wanted to create a cabaret style musical show. Over the years I have done versions although they never felt like they came up to par. That has now changed.
The evolution of BRADY BRUNCH has been fantastic. I went to Branson with an outline, show elements, music charts, and ideas for the show I wanted to create. Yakov, who has been very successful throughout his past twenty years as a top celebrity comedian in Branson, grasped the concepts immediately and we went to work. We wanted to create something especially designed for our Branson audiences.
At first the show consisted mostly of stories, videos and a few songs, which I sang live to track and… as the show title implies, brunch was served during the show. We did our try-outs right there in the Yakov Theatre. The original concept was an enjoyable show, but we recognized there was a great deal of untapped potential.
Everyone hears entertainers tell audiences that they are an important part of every show. That has never been truer than with the emergence of BRADY BRUNCH.
Yakov attended these try out shows over a two-week period. After each show he had a conversation with the audience and invited them to share what they liked, didn’t care for, what they wanted to see more or less of and if it matched their expectations. It became apparent that while everyone liked the Brady Bunch and are familiar with Greg Brady few knew what to expect from a show starring “Barry Williams”.
Our audiences enjoyed becoming an important part of developing our concept. Their opinions and comments were invaluable. Yakov took notes on the audience’s ideas and then he and I would work together to incorporate them. The show changed shape and humor and content everyday leading up to our Gala Preview on August 13th which was held for the honorable Branson community. I am very proud of what ultimately emerged.
The number one request was for us to add more songs. It seems that my singing abilities have been a well-kept secret in the Ozarks. The first thing I did was to bring on board a terrific 5 piece local band which was hand picked by my Musical Director, Bogie Bohinc. We went from four to fourteen songs in this two-hour show. The music now covers the 70’s, current day and standards. We expanded the clips, videos and stories. We made it interactive… I have brunch together with the audience and answer questions while we eat. We added a trivia game before the show to test Brady Bunch knowledge. I pulled out the Johnny Bravo jacket to start the show and fortunately… it still FITS! I share real stories about my life with the Brady’s and my own family. We also made sure that the brunch was tasty, hot and healthy.
Originally we hoped the reaction to the show would warrant a three month run in the fall of 2012. The support and response was so strong, I have booked 182 shows which begin on October 5th this year and run through December of 2012.
I return to Branson on September 28th to gear up for our opening morning (the show begins at 10:30am) and well, I am very excited about getting started.
Branson Missouri is a wonderful setting with wonderful folks. I encourage you to visit there for a vacation. The fishing, boating, hunting, riding and tremendous caliber of entertainment there is top notch. When you do, please stop by for a BRADY BRUNCH with me. I’d love to say hi and take a photo with you in the lobby after the show.
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