Janet Ellis | The Joplin Globe | November 13, 2016
Some things just naturally come to mind when the Christmas season approaches: the birth of the Christ child, beautiful music and dance, festive decorations, children, colorful lights, Santa, families, and love.
That pretty much sums up the holiday entertainment with the Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza starring the Osmond Brothers and the Lennon Sisters at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center and Theatre in Branson.
Show producer and star Jimmy Osmond has again put together a large cast of talented performers who wow audiences with music, comedy, dance, magical illusions and more. Osmond says: “It’s such a tradition for my family and me to sing together on stage. I’ve been performing since I was 3 — I started on the Andy Williams Christmas show and that was 50 years ago, so it so special to again be doing this Christmas show on his theater stage in Branson. Plus, to sing with the Lennon Sisters, that’s a real treat.”
The flow of the Christmas Extravaganza is fast-paced and full of visual and sensory energy. As one would imagine, many of the season’s recognizable standards are a part of the musical feast. The Osmond Brothers (Jay, Merrill and Jimmy) and the Lennon Sisters (Kathy, Janet and Mimi) team up on several numbers to showcase the pure sound and blend of the singing siblings. They also have personal “sets,” where they take us down memory lane with a multimedia presentation of pictures and video that shows just how huge a musical dynasty both of these families are.
Back this year are Janet Lennon’s granddaughters, Lia, Ana and Jenna. They have grown up on stage and are now lovely and gifted young artists in their own right. They join the sisters in a spirited song and tap number honoring our veterans and come back later in the show for a reverent and beautiful rendition of “Ave Maria.”
There are additional extraordinary elements to this true variety show. Audiences are enamored with the charm and vocal ability of Charlie Green, the 19-year-old sensation from Britain’s Got Talent.
The second half of the show opens with award-winning illusionist and resident artist Rick Thomas. His feats are coupled with a sharp wit and delivery. His keen audience interaction makes him a crowd favorite time and again. His assistant, Tara, and the polished dancers add to Thomas’ impressive segments.
“Next year is the 25th anniversary of the theater, so I am doing something totally different with the show,” he said. “Next year, a lot is going to change, so if people want to see this style of production, they need to come and enjoy it this year.”
For the ultimate holiday celebration see The Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza, Monday through Saturday evenings until Dec. 9 at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center in Branson. Make sure you stay for the closing moments of this incredible holiday offering, as not to miss a special message from Mr. Christmas himself. For tickets and information, call 1-800-666-6094 or check out andywilliamspac.com.