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Branson Show Biz

Program Number: 1615RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/12/2014 - 10/17/2014; 11/2/2014 - 11/7/2014; 4/12/2015 - 4/17/2015; 5/3/2015 - 5/8/2015; 5/24/2015 - 5/29/2015; 6/14/2015 - 6/19/2015; 8/16/2015 - 8/21/2015; 9/6/2015 - 9/11/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/2/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/23/2015; 11/1/2015 - 11/6/2015; 11/29/2015 - 12/4/2015; 12/29/2015 - 1/2/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Branson, Missouri
Price starting at: $795.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Music Appreciation; Holidays
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Salt    

Join us in Branson, the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World,” as we experience good ol’ American music, theater and fun in the heart of the Ozarks. Find out the history of Branson's overnight success, the elements of its entertainment scene, its emergence into international tourism, and the famous Branson formula of “Faith, Family, and Flag.” Branson hosts more than 100 live theater shows, and we have seats for you at three of the most popular ones, plus you’ll enjoy a private performance by a music pioneer that helped start it all!


• Enjoy 3 popular performances, including The Duttons, named Branson's Best Show.
• Meet music pioneers and current professionals to find out what it’s like to be a performer in Branson, from rehearsals to real life after the show.
• Production managers, lighting, costume and sound technicians, and set designers discuss how they make the magic happen.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to a few blocks; standing up to one hour; get on/off coach. Elevators and ramps available.

Date Specific Information

11-1-2015, 11-29-2015

This is the start of the Christmas Holiday season in Branson. All shows will be retooled for a wonderful celebration of the Season! Great for those that have been to the program to come back and see some new things!


This is the New Years celebration version of the Branson Show Biz! We will have a great New Years at one of the most popular Branson shows with all the party favors - a real treat!!!

Coordinated by Ozark Adventures.


Located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains on the shores of Lake Taneycomo, Branson is a popular tourist destination, famous for its many live music theaters, clubs and other entertainment venues, as well as its historic downtown and surrounding natural beauty.

Centrally located hotel with free WIFI, indoor swimming pool and hot tub.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Sarah Klinefelter

Sarah Klinefelter is an expert on the history of Branson, Missouri and eagerly shares her knowledge with lifelong learners who seek to experience the city’s vibrant theater scene. As the former chairperson of the Division of Performing and Professional Arts at the College of the Ozarks, Sarah has long been immersed in the region’s dramatic arts. She holds degrees from William Jewell College, Drake University, and the University of Iowa.
Meals and Lodgings
   Grand Plaza Hotel
  Branson, MO 6 nights
 Grand Plaza Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: One of the finest hotels in Branson The Grand Plaza Hotel and conference center is located in the heart of the Branson Missouri just off the world famous Highway 76 Country Music Boulevard. Within walking distance to some of Branson's biggest stars and attractions as well as some of the greatest outlet shopping. They offer a breakfast buffet to our guests to help you start your day out right. The Plaza View Restaurant & Lounge offers fine cuisine and a wonderful view of the Ozark Mountains to the North or the Strip to the South. Specialties of the house are Prime Rib and Catfish. All of the rooms include free WiFi and a computer terminal is available in the lobby 24/7. The gift shop can help you with your show reservations, attraction tickets or local transportation needs.
  Contact info: 245 North Wildwood
Branson, Missouri
Branson, MO 65616 USA
phone: 417-336-6646
  Room amenities: All Rooms & Suites Include: •Refrigerators •In-room coffee makers with courtesy coffee •Full-size ironing boards with irons •Radio alarm clocks •Hairdryers •Also on-site are the Plaza View Restaurant & Lounge, as well as a Gift Shop/ Ticket Office that can help you with show reservations, attraction tickets, or local transportation needs All rooms are Non-Smoking. Handicap accessible Standard King and Standard Queen rooms are available. Sorry, no pets allowed.
  Facility amenities: Hotel Amenities Include: •Complimentary breakfast buffet •Free WiFi •Indoor pool & hot tub •Fitness center •Game room All Rooms & Suites Include: •Refrigerators •In-room coffee makers with courtesy coffee •Full-size ironing boards with irons •Radio alarm clocks •Hairdryers •Also on-site are the Plaza View Restaurant & Lounge, as well as a Gift Shop/ Ticket Office that can help you with show reservations, attraction tickets, or local transportation needs All rooms are Non-Smoking. Handicap accessible Standard King and Standard Queen rooms are available. Sorry, no pets allowed.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact (417) 336-6646 Participants wishing additional nights should contact the hotel at (417) 336-6646. Please let the hotel know you are part of the Road Scholar program for the best possible rates.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Contact (417) 336-6646 Participants wishing additional nights should contact the hotel at (417) 336-6646. Please let the hotel know you are part of the Road Scholar program for the best possible rates.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrival/Check in time 4:30 PM. You will be staying at Grand Plaza Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Departure/Check out time 11 AM. You will be staying at Grand Plaza Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Plenty of parking is available at the hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Branson, MO
  Nearest highway: Highway 65
  Nearest airport:  Branson, Missouri
  From End of Program
  Location: Branson, MO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




phone: 417-332-CABS x2227
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$10-15 per car on average
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 




10 Miles


Please visit for information on this very close airport. While it is not required, we advise renting a car to help with travel during free time opportunities. Unfortunately the hotel does not offer a shuttle service for the airport.


Springfield, Missouri


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Branson Coach
phone: 417-339-4888
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Check with shuttle service.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour from Springfield 


PLEASE CHECK WITH LOCAL BRANSON AIRPORT FOR TICKETS BEFORE CONSIDERING THE SPRINGFIELD-BRANSON AIRPORT! They can be found at The cost of the shuttle and time travel may compensate for a ticket price difference. In addition, while not required, we recommend to rent a car for your time here. This will assist you in getting around to other locations during free time. Normally, participants call when they make airline reservations, then confirm a day or two before flight.

Driving Directions
  To the Grand Plaza Regardless of your direction of arrival, (from the north if from Springfield, or the south if from Arkansas) exit onto MO Highway 76 at Branson. To get to the Grand Plaza, proceed west for about two and a half (2.5) miles then turn north at the King's Castle Theater (this is just across from the Grand Palace) and proceed down the hill approximately one/fourth mile. The Grand Plaza can be easily seen once you make this turn. The Grand Plaza is located at 245 North Wildwood. It is easy to find.
Elevation Note: The highest elevation participants will experience is 1,000 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Register, Orientation, Dinner, and Get to Know Your Fellow Participants
(Sunday, November 1)
 Dinner: Orientation time for the program is 4:30 p.m. The first evening includes an introduction of the sponsoring personnel, an orientation to the program, dinner, and get-acquainted activities.
 Evening: We will also have a brief introduction to Branson to excite you for the coming week! Please be aware that program activities and schedule times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of any changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding!

We will prepare for an exciting journey into the Branson Show Biz scene and what has and still does make it so popular. Get rest tonight as it is an exciting educational journey ahead of you!---
Accommodations: Grand Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Lectures on the history of Branson, Sound Technology, and Musical Instruments. Attend the world famous Duttons show!
(Monday, November 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: LECTURE on the history of Branson Discover the shows that have made Branson the 'Live Entertainment Capitol' of the world. Look at how this sleepy little town is now host to over 100 shows, more theater seats than Broadway, and over 7 million visitors a year. The history will also include how Branson holds on to its roots while moving into the future. Presenter: Sarah Klinefelter, C of O Media Professor---

LECTURE on Theater Sound Equipment: Fantastic presentation on sound and how acoustics play such a large role in the success or failure of a performance. This lecture will also examine what is required by a sound operator and give you insight to becoming a better critic of vocal / instrument performances. Presenter: Tony Bishop, Sound Engineer and Designer---
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: LECTURE / Performance on Musical Instruments: Enjoy a musical time with a local musician and his amazing talent being able to play over 20 different instruments from the harp to the banjo. Each instrument is examined in a historical context as well as its modern application. Discuss life as a musical impersonator in Branson and the complexities of that career. Presenter: Rod Phillips, Musical Enthusiast

BOARD a luxury bus for a drive by tour of Branson and the area. Included: The Lakes, the Chateau, Point Royal Housing (where the Branson stars live), College of the Ozarks, Downtown Branson. Presenter: Sarah Klinefelter, Local Historian
 Dinner: Buffet dinner at Grand Country. This is down home, Midwest cooking but enough selections for those with specific diets.
 Evening: Attend the Duttons Performance: The Duttons are international touring and recording artists that play everything from bluegrass to classical in their shows, featuring a variety of instruments: violin, guitar, bass, viola, banjo, mandolin, keyboard, harmonica and drums among others. The Duttons have not only won recognition in national fiddling contests and as studio musicians but have also garnered praise and awards in classical violin competitions. They were also finalists on America's Got Talent in 2007.
Accommodations: Grand Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Lecture on the life of a Branson performer, Pop Culture. Travel back in time 60 years to the Downtown Branson Main street. Private performance of the Micham Show.
(Tuesday, November 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: LECTURE on the History of Local Cutlure: Popular culture is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society. Presenter: Sarah Klinefelter, Local Historian

LECTURE on the Life of a Performer: Tourists view the shows and performances on the Strip with amazement, but what is life really like once the curtain goes down. Listen to one of the most versatile performers in Branson on what affect this lifestyle has on family, friends, and self. Examine how the fame and glamour is not always what it seems, but always sought after. Presenter: Tom Wolff, Extraordinary Local Performer---
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to travel down to the Historic Down Town district for exploration opportunities. The city of Branson was born in the early 1800s on a broad plain along the White River, just south of its confluence with Roark Creek. Buildings and roads eventually overtook the floodplain as the city grew westward up a gradually sloping ridge, creating what is now Branson's Historic Downtown District . Downtown The waters of Lake Taneycomo tamed the temperamental White River in 1913. Now, a patchwork of parks, campgrounds, shops and restaurants line the waterfront, forming a thriving shopping district on the city's eastern boundary. Mile-long Lake Street harbors public fishing docks, grassy parks and remarkable restaurants. Or you can use the time for other activities of your choice.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Private Performance Just for You: Enjoy an evening with the Michams in a private setting. Mike and Nancee Micham with take you on a musical performance that will guide the travels of music from Ireland to the Hills of the Ozarks. The Michams musical history includes the famous Back Porch Pickers and the touring Micham' show! A great time for laughing, learning, and listening!
Accommodations: Grand Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lecture on the Marketing and PR of Branson Entertainment, Lecture on Costumes, and the life of a Dresser. Enjoy a private Branson Show - the Lennon Brothers 'Woodstock Revival'.
(Wednesday, November 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: LECTURE on Marketing Branson: Discuss the past, current, and future of marketing for the Branson area. Take a close look with the Vice President of the local Chamber of Commerce on the successes and failures over the last few decades. The issue of 9/11 and the current recession with its effects on the tourist industry and how the entertainment complex has dealt with and is dealing with it.

LECTURE on the Selling of Branson: Close examination of the image of Branson and the concept of 'Faith, Family, and Flag' in a small mid-west sleepy town. How does this concept play into selling the 'Branson experience' to a general public? What are the positives and negatives of such a public relation push? Presenter: Sarah Klinefelter, Local Historian---
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Join the Lennon Brothers as they perform a private show for you! The group will take you down a musical journey of the music that defined the Woodstock era. This is a rare opportunity to be part of a Branson show without the crowd! The Lennon/Cathcart Show will feature Branson favorites Gail Lennon, Mike Cathcart and Bill Lennon performing the music that they love in the tradition of Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Beach Boys, Peter, Paul & Mary and more! These three highly-respected members of the musical Lennon family are bringing all of their skills to this new show. Rock, Folk, Blues & Jazz. No tracks. All live.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own. Suggestions will be made to locations and diet restrictions.
 Evening: Free Evening - Suggestions will be made on shows and activities to do.
Accommodations: Grand Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Lecture on the history of tourism, theatrical lighting. Travel to the famous Ralph Foster Museum. Enjoy the Adventures of Marco Polo - one of Branson most famous shows!
(Thursday, November 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: LECTURE: Meet and ask questions of the marketing and PR expert to such stars as Yackov and Jim Strafford. Find out the behind the scenes occurrences and what goes into dealing with such large entertainment stars. What does it take to be a successful free lance image consultant? Presenter: Cindy Merry, Image Consultant

LECTURE on the history of tourism: A close look at how the concept of tourism has changed over the decades. From a time when the trip was the enjoyment to current day when the destination is more important. How has tourism built up towns into major cities and how a simple change of highway can destroy a town forever? How the recent financial situation affected travel has and what are travel agencies doing to survive this change? Presenter: Sarah Klinefelter, C of O Media Professor---

LECTURE on Theatrical Lighting: Take a close look at how lighting affects the performance in terms of attention, mood, blocking, and set design. Find out about new forms of lighting equipment and what exactly does a lighting technician does for the show. This discussion will give you a better eye for critique of performances and concerts. Presenter: Steve Judd, Lighting Engineer---
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: LECTURE on Costuming: Meet with a veteran wardrobe mistress and learn the tricks of the trade for the ever popular aspect of costume changes! Discuss the issue that 'Dressers' face in their position and the how do they deal with performers/directors/fabric. Dressers are responsible for assisting cast members with costume changes backstage, when necessary. They are often used to assist primarily with quick costume changes, where a character exits and must enter again very quickly wearing a different costume. Presenter: Barbara Cox, Veteran Wardrobe Mistress

Travel to the Ralph Foster Museum! The Ralph Foster Museum is on the campus of the College of the Ozarks, a private Christian school. Known locally as "The Smithsonian of the Ozarks," the museum was named for Foster even though Foster wasn't involved with it until the 1960s, four decades after it had begun as a bird collection in a men's dormitory basement. Ralph was a radio mogul in southwest Missouri, founder of KWTO ("Keep Watching The Ozarks") and of the long-running Ozark Jubilee. One exhibit, the Ozark Mountain Music Pioneers Hall of Fame, honors people whose fame doesn't extend very far from here, such as Lloyd Presley, Bob Mabe, and Windy Luttrell. The History of the Ozarks in the Twentieth Century exhibit showcases regional luminaries such as Rose O'Neill (inventor of the Kewpie doll), Harold Bell Wright (author of "Ma Cinderella" and "God and the Groceryman"), and Mary Herschend (owner of Marvel Cave).
 Dinner: Chinese / American buffet with enough selections for those with specific diets
 Evening: Attend a great performance of 'The Adventures of Marco Polo'! In 1271 A.D. the Italian explorer, Marco Polo, made his legendary trip to the ancient eastern mysterious nation of China. Following his father and uncle who were businessmen, their journey started from the West moving across the Middle East and finally overcoming many difficulties, arrived in China. The Adventures of Marco Polo is an epic tale of exploration and wonder, love and loss in the stunning style of Cirque Du Solei. Coming to you from the same company that produced The Legend of KungFu, you can expect a show on grand scale, featuring a cast of over 50 worldwide performers, magnificent sets and extraordinary costuming!
Accommodations: Grand Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Lecture on the future of Branson entertainment and a Q and A with a freelance image consultant. Say goodbyes to new friends.
(Friday, November 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Lecture on the future of Branson: After looking at the past and the present, what is in the future for Branson and its style of entertainment? How are Branson and the entertainment industry preparing for what lies next? Presenter: Sarah Klinefelter, Local Historian---
Accommodations: Grand Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Branson, MO Free Time
During the week there are free times listed in the iternerary and present a great opportunity to attend additional shows. Please visit for a listing of offerings. please do not purchase tickets till the first meeting of the program due to possible (but unlikely) schedule changes
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Insiders' Guide to Branson and the Ozark Mountains

Author: Dr. Fred Pfister

Description: For more than twenty years, the Insiders' Guide® series has been the essential source for in-depth travel and relocation information—from true insiders whose personal, practical perspective gives you everything you need to know. With more than forty theaters on and around its famous Strip, Branson is proudly called the Live Music Capital of the World. But there's more to this year-round vacation destination than its shows and stars: World-class golf, theme parks, and historic sites are all within easy reach. This authoritative guide shows you how to navigate the glitz and glitter of Branson as well as the natural beauty of the scenic Ozark Mountain country. • Countless details on how to live and thrive in the area, from the best fishing holes to the lowdown on real estate • The inside scoop on the top shopping, seasonal festivals, and live entertainment offerings • Comprehensive listings of restaurants and accommodations • Sections dedicated to children and retirement

The Bittersweet Ozarks at a Glance

Author: Ellen Grey Massey

Description: The Bittersweet Ozarks at a Glance is a beautiful and unique photograph collection that portrays the Bittersweet Ozarks, collected by Ellen Gray Massey and her students, more than thirty years ago. Had the students not researched and recorded, the information from the 494 men and women they captured in words and pictures most would be lost forever for most of them have died. From 1973 until 1983, the young people published 482 articles and features in 40 issues of Bittersweet, the Ozark Quarterly.

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