New ownership in the works for Stafford Theatre; Owens Theatre revamps

Branson Beat

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Stafford Cancels Shows

The Jim Stafford Theatre may be in for some big changes in 2014.

“Negotiations are underway to open the venue back up in 2014 under new ownership and management,” said Lucas Case, spokesman for co-owner Ann Stafford. 

This announcement comes after the theater was forced to cancel several shows last week as well as the remainder of the shows for the season, including the traditional New Year’s Eve bash.

“Weather had an impact on the decision to cancel last week’s scheduled shows,” Case added.

Stafford had been scheduled to perform 8 p.m. shows Dec. 28-30, with a 9 p.m. show Dec. 31.

While the 2013 season in the books for the performer, there has been no official word on whether he will return to Branson in 2014, for what would be his 25th season.

Stafford has long been one of Branson’s most popular and biggest draws throughout the past 24 years. I’ll do my due diligence to keep all my loyal reader(s) up to date on any and all information as it becomes available.

City adds Wednesday; Special Pricing Days

Due to the recent winter weather, Silver Dollar City has added Wednesday, Dec. 18, as an extra day for locals and visitors alike to enjoy An Old Time Christmas, as well as a special $35 rate every day except Saturdays, which will be $40.

During the remainder of An Old Time Christmas, Silver Dollar City will be open Wednesday through Monday, Dec. 18-23, and Dec. 26-30 after Christmas, from 1-9 p.m., with extended hours on Saturdays.

The 1880s theme park’s Christmas festival includes the Christmas on Main Street light and sound show, a five-story special effects tree, the colorful Holiday Light Parade, a musical Living Nativity, 5 million lights, more than 1,000 Christmas trees, holiday shows, rides, crafts and holiday dining.

The festival is also showcasing a new “Frosty” show as well as the original musical productions “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” and “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

And let’s not forget about the park’s highly decorated wooden coaster, Outlaw Run, which features the world’s steepest drop on a wooden coaster ... in the dark.

For exact hours and rates, visit

A Legend Dies

Country Music Hall of Famer Ray Price, best known for the hits “For the Good Times,” “Release Me” and “Make the World Go Away,” died at home Monday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. He had been released into hospice care Thursday.  

Price was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year when doctors found a tumor while removing his gallbladder. In February of this year, he announced that his cancer was in remission and that he would be undergoing physical therapy in the next stage of his recovery. 

He was hospitalized in May for a reaction to a medication for post-radiation syndrome, which caused him to be dehydrated. His condition never improved and Price was scheduled to perform in Branson in June but was forced to cancel.

“Even though he was battling the medical issues, he assured us he was going to make the show,” said Bob Canella with Up Close Concerts, who booked Price in Branson. “Five days before the concert I got a call from his road manager telling me he was going to be there and looked forward to the show, then, less than 30 minutes later, I got a call from his agent saying that Ray had just been rushed to the hospital and had to cancel his appearance. We knew that Ray would most likely never perform again, and indeed that was the case.”

Canella said he will always have nothing but fond memories and respect for the singer.

“It was an honor to host him for the past few years in Branson, and he told me how much he enjoyed playing here and was very appreciative that we kept booking him,” Canella said. “I will always remember that Ray was both a fine gentleman and a professional entertainer, the likes of which we may never see again.”

Canella said Price always stayed to sign autographs and meet fans after each performance and always made sure the promoters were pleased with the show. 

“He would come up and ask if I was happy with his performance, if he drew a big enough crowd and if the folks enjoyed the show,” Canella said. “He had nothing to prove to anyone, yet he made sure that, as the promoter, I was happy with his performance. 

“Of course, my answer was always a big, ‘Yes.’”

Canella said that type of attitude is rare among most successful performers today.

“He will be greatly missed,” he said.