Home Editor Picks The 13 Best Branson Shows of 2023

The 13 Best Branson Shows of 2023

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The 13 Best Branson Shows of 2023

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Captivating audiences for decades with its unique array of live entertainment, this Missouri city offers shows for all ages and interests. From Branson’s original country music variety shows like the Presleys’ Country Jubilee to mesmerizing magic shows, fans of all music and performance genres can choose from shows in venues ranging from Las Vegas-style theaters to intimate playhouses. Here are the top shows to catch in Branson, with tips from a local expert to help you make the most of your experience.

The Haygoods

The Haygoods perform with a harp amongst other instruments at the Clay Cooper Theatre.

Courtesy of The Haygoods

Venue: Clay Cooper Theatre
Price: From $45.88
Best for: Families

Since 1993, this group of six siblings has been entertaining Branson showgoers. The five brothers and one sister in the troupe started out as children performing six shows a day at Silver Dollar City. The family opened their own show on the Branson strip in 2001. Over the years the Haygoods’ show evolved with unique takes on a classic songs, more than 20 instruments, distinct harmonies and modern dance moves.

Today, their high-energy shows are filled with elaborate, state-of-the-art special effects. Audiences will be blown away by the laser light show pyrotechnics and full-stage immersive projection screen, as well as the instruments and costumes that light up with LEDs and fiber optics. The mastermind behind many of the show’s special effects is Michael Haygood, who is known for entering the theater from the ceiling with a jetpack that he developed himself. Other musical stunts include performers playing instruments in an LED-illuminated robotic suit or doing a tap dance routine while suspended upside down.

Local tip: The theater is designed so that every seat has a great view of the stage, and booster seats are available for children. Don’t hesitate to book the balcony seats, as they also provide great views of the special effects. Book directly with the box office to personalize your experience with birthday announcements, anniversary announcements and other special events.

Shanghai Circus

Five dancers perform in the Shanghai Circus show at the Grand Shanghai Theatre.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Grand Shanghai Theatre
Price: From $45
Best for: Everyone

Seeing the Shanghai Circus in Branson is like taking a journey to China without ever leaving the Ozarks. As soon as the curtains open, you’ll be transported to Shanghai through impressive performances by amazing acrobats, mind-blowing stunts, magic tricks and aerial acts infused with innovative LED enhancements. Everything from the vibrant outfits to the traditional music pays homage to Chinese culture. If you are looking for some entertainment that emulates the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil shows, with all the stunning effects and choreography, book this show for a similarly mesmerizing experience.

Local tip: For an unobstructed view of all the acts, grab a seat in one of the rows farther from the stage.

Dolly Parton’s Stampede

A man rides a horse in the dark at the Dolly Parton's Stampede show.

Courtesy of Dolly Parton’s Stampede

Venue: Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction
Price: From $69.99
Best for: Everyone

A trip to Branson would be incomplete without a visit to Dolly Parton’s Stampede. This quintessential Ozark show is one of the most popular shows in the area due to its sheer size and extensive acts. At the 35,000 square-foot arena, you’ll see equestrian stars performing aerial acrobatics, musical and comedy acts, and trick riders executing stunts on horseback. The show includes live animals, with more than 30 horses, a stampede of buffalo and longhorns, as well as rescue dogs that compete in a relay event and agility course. What’s more, the ticket includes a homestyle four-course dinner that is served during the show and delivered right to your seat.

Local tip: Arrive early for a chance to get a glimpse behind the scenes at the Horse Walk. At this special meet-and-greet, you’ll have the opportunity to see the horses that are the stars of the show, talk to the trainers and have your picture taken before the show starts.

SIX Show

The SIX Show performs at the Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater
Price: From $42.95
Best for: Adults

One of the most unique shows in Branson is the SIX Show. Without musical instruments, this act features six brothers who utilize amazing vocal abilities to mimic the sounds of a live band or orchestra. Depending on the season, this is one of the few – if not the only – a capella performances held on the Branson strip. The award-winning singers have been perfecting their craft since they were children, so prepare to be in awe of their ability to harmonize and use beatbox-style percussion to create everything from rock to doo-wop. Between songs, the performers mix it up by sprinkling in humor, lively choreography and a phenomenal light show to keep you entertained during the entire production.

Local tip: Plan to eat beforehand at one of the restaurants nearby. The venue, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre, used to feature a restaurant on-site that has since closed down. However, there is a concession stand that sells a few snacks and drinks.

Motown Downtown

Venue: Branson Hot Hits Theatre
Price: From $39.90
Best for: Adults

Despite being held in one of the smallest venues in Branson, the Motown Downtown tribute show more than makes up for what it may lack in size with impressive talent. This show is held in a small and intimate theater, so you won’t see extravagant visual elements like pyrotechnics that are found in other shows. The venue only seats about 80 people, so expect a more intimate show that focuses on the music and soul of the era. There’s only a handful of performers, but they belt their hearts out with such enthusiasm for typically around two hours, which makes this one of the most underrated shows in Branson.

Local tip: The theater sits in the historic part of Branson and not on the main strip where most of the venues are situated. Because of the location and small parking lot, allow ample time before the show to find a decent parking spot.

Clay Cooper’s Country Express

A singer and line of dancers perform in Clay Cooper's Country Express show at Clay Cooper Theatre.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Clay Cooper Theatre
Price: From $52
Best for: Everyone

If you can’t decide which show to see, Clay Cooper’s Country Express ticks all the boxes. The variety show consists of a giant cast of more than 25 incredible dancers, singers and musicians who perform a mix of country, gospel and patriotic tunes. It’s an energetic show that keeps audiences captivated throughout the production. The ensemble performs mainly classic and contemporary hits, but they throw in a bit of pop and rock ‘n’ roll too. It ends with an enthralling finale that will leave you wanting an encore.

Local tip: If you’re considering going to multiple performances, be sure to keep your ticket stub. The Clay Cooper Theatre offers a multi-show discount to patrons attending more than one show at the venue. If you want to get close to the action, consider buying a VIP ticket, which is just a few dollars more than the general seating.

The Petersens at The Little Opry Theatre

The Petersens perform with a variety of string instruments at The Little Opry Theatre.

Courtesy of The Petersens

Venue: Little Opry Theatre at Branson’s IMAX
Price: From $41.75
Best for: Everyone

For music lovers, experiencing The Petersens at the Little Opry Theatre is a must. This family band show offers showgoers a taste of the authentic side of Branson beyond the glitz and glamor of Country Music Boulevard. Inspired by Americana roots music after attending a music festival, the family decided to become a bluegrass band. The wholesome, family-friendly musical show highlights the bluegrass music of the region, from classics to original songs. Every member of the band is talented and able to play a variety of instruments. During the show, you’ll hear them play instruments like guitars (including a dobro), fiddles, banjos and mandolins.

Local tip: Stick around after the show to get autographs and meet the friendly family, who make it a point to interact with the audience afterward.

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Escape Reality Magic Dinner Show

Magician Brian Ledbetter performs in the Escape Reality Magic Dinner Show at the Hughes Brothers Theatre.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Hughes Brothers Theatre
Price: From $59
Best for: Everyone

The Escape Reality Magic Dinner Show is a Vegas-style performance right in the heartland. This Branson show was created by a husband-and-wife duo – magicians Garry and Janine Carson – and stars magician Brian Ledbetter. The show entertains the audience with a combination of mind-bending illusions, close-up magic, comedy and tricks. The elaborate sets, riveting lighting effects and music add to the overall suspense of the show and captivate audiences of all ages. What’s more, the show is interactive: Kids love to volunteer to get on stage and be part of the act.

Local tip: Dinner is served after the show, not during the performance. Consider a snack or something to eat beforehand. Note: If you have special dietary restrictions, there isn’t a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free option since everyone is served the same three-course meal.

Presleys’ Country Jubilee

Presleys' Country Jubilee performs with guitars.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Presleys’ Country Jubilee
Price: From $43
Best for: Everyone

Known as the “Original Show on the Strip,” the Presley family opened Branson’s first live music theater in 1967. Prior the theater’s founding, the Presleys performed in caves in the area. The family-friendly show hasn’t deviated much from its beginnings as a slapstick and honky-tonk show routine. Today, you’ll see some of the original cast from the 1960s that performed sketch comedy, including the father and son who play the country jester characters of Herkimer and Cecil. On stage, four generations perform a variety of music from classic country hits to gospel to bluegrass − which makes this show a hit with country music fans in particular.

Local tip: Book your tickets in advance. Because of the Presleys’ Branson notoriety and popularity, their shows sell out fast. They also regularly offer family packages at a discounted rate for two adults and up to five children.

Hot Rods and High Heels

The cast of Hot Rods and High Heels poses onstage at the Clay Cooper Theatre.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Clay Cooper Theatre
Price: From $40
Best for: Groups, couples and adults

Put on your poodle skirt or leather jacket to get into character for this 1950s sock hop-themed Branson show. There’s no doubt that during the performance you will find yourself tapping your toes, singing along or dancing the jitterbug in the aisles. There’s a contagious energy in the air during this two-hour show. Even though the cast is small compared to most, the ensemble’s talented singers and dancers impress with spot-on choreography. Their wardrobe replicates the style of the era down to every details including their pinup hair and shoes. Plus, with a six-piece live band playing the most popular hits of the decade, this show has all the nostalgia and charm to entertain a variety of ages.

Local tip: Without giving away too many spoilers, consider buying a VIP ticket so you have front-row seats to see all the props and stunning costumes up close. There are even mini hot rods driven around the stage to add to authentic 1950s feel of the show.

Hamners Unbelievable

Venue: Hamners’ Variety Theater
Price: From $45
Best for: Everyone

Hamners’ Unbelievable is one of Branson’s shows that truly appeal to everyone across all generations and tastes. The show is headed by illusionist husband-and-wife duo David and Denise Hamner; they stun the audience with their feats of magic, such as the Vertigo and the Levimorphosis, a unique levitation act. There are also aerialists, a unicyclist and Cyr wheel performers who spellbind with their talents. Kids will love Johnny Lonestar’s trick roping, the hysterical comedians, and an impressionist who accurately mimics others’ voices and singing styles. Keep your eyes on the ceiling when they release the gorgeous cockatoos and macaws that fly around the crowd.

Local tip: Stick around during the intermission to join the backstage tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the stage and a chance to meet the cast. What’s more, there is also an opportunity to meet, greet and take a picture with the animal stars.

Re-Vibe

Re-Vibe musicians perform in front of bright lights at the Hughes Brothers Theatre.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Hughes Brothers Theatre
Price: From $45
Best for: Families

As one of the newest shows on the strip, Re-Vibe is a high-quality professional variety show. Starring the second generation of the Hughes Family, this fast-paced and energetic show is put on by mostly young adult performers. The cast of siblings and cousins grew up on stage, and this talented bunch puts a fresh spin on rock, jazz and oldies. Throughout the performance, each performer has a slot to showcase their unique talents, whether it be playing an instrument, dancing or singing.

Local tip: If you are traveling on a budget, this is one of the few shows in Branson where children younger than 12 aren’t charged an admission fee to attend.

Rick Thomas’ Mansion of Dreams

Rick Thomas' performs using a helicopter prop.

Courtesy of Branson-Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Venue: Grand Shanghai Theatre
Price: From $49
Best for: Everyone

Known for being one the highest-rated magician shows in Branson, Rick Thomas’ Mansion of Dreams returned to Branson in 2023. Even those who claim not to be impressed by magic will be left head-scratching and puzzled by the intriguing illusions. Thomas has performed on Broadway, in Las Vegas and across more than 50 countries. Attendees will be treated to a theatrical production and special effects whose quality makes the show worthy of being on the Vegas Strip. However, this show goes beyond what is typically seen in a magic show: It also weaves in comedy, dancers, musical acts and a plethora of engaging elements to make spectators feel included in the show.

Local tip: The show lasts more than two hours, including an intermission. If you have little ones, plan breaks accordingly since it’s one of the longest-running shows from start to finish. After the show ends, Thomas is known to make an appearance during a meet-and-greet, so you might be able to get a photo and learn a trick or two from the master himself.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Carrie A. Back is a music enthusiast and a lover of all musical genres. She grew up in the Midwest and has traveled to Branson every summer with her family since she was a child. She still fondly remembers the first live entertainment show in Branson – the Presleys’ Country Jubilee. Every year, she tries to attend a new show that she hasn’t seen before, since it’s one of her favorite reasons to visit the Ozarks. Back used her personal experience along with extensive research skills to curate this list.

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