By Angie Roberts Harris
Located in the Ozark Mountain city of Branson, MO, you will find the Dutton Theatre Complex along the famous ‘76 Strip’. Branson has a population of over 11k people and hosts a whopping 56k theatre seats which equals five seats for every local citizen. There are over 50 individual theatres, many of them are owned by families. The Dutton family purchased the old Boxcar Willie Theatre, which is now their current complex, shortly after they entered the Branson scene over nineteen years ago.
The Dutton Experience
Putting on a show
The Duttons ‘string you along’ for two wonderful hours with guitars, fiddles, mandolins, cellos, banjos and anything else with strings! Judith tickles and beats the ivories to back up the classical hillbillies while Jonathan plays his harmonica to add an incredible soulful sound. Sit back and relax in the new cushy and comfortable theatre seats and be carried away!
Pick a genre
The different segments of the show flow smoothly from one genre to another. One minute the audience is listening to a lively song from the Beach Boys while tossing giant beach balls throughout the auditorium and the next minute they are tapping their toes to a Branson tradition of the ‘Orange Blossom Special’.
You will love the diversity in their versions of ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ which is a beautiful country ballad, ‘When I Ruled The World’ by Coldplay, and the bluegrass folklore piece ‘Boil Them Cabbage Down’ aka ‘Bile Them Cabbage Down’. I am sure that song was originally sung by my dad!
‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ sounds like an entire symphony, and the Steam Punk costumes add a fun twist. If you do not care for a particular genre, don’t worry because a minute later, it will change!
Searching for Hope
Amy performs a beautiful tribute to her five-year-old son, Josiah, who was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. She sings her ‘Fight Song’ to a time lapsed video of his journey as well as her father’s battle with cancer. This emotional segment is a perfect faith promoting experience that portrays courage in the face of trial. The entire family is present on stage to sing and show their support and love for courageous little Josiah and father Dutton.
The Duttons have performed classical music for decades and nearly every family member plays the multitude of instruments used in their show. Their signature performance includes all five siblings playing a different stringed instrument; every few seconds, they pass the instruments to the next person and loop around until every person has played each one. There are also a few special moves that you must see to believe. Awesome!
Tim plays an amazing classical piece by playing and recording an instrument for a few seconds and then playing it back while he records another. He does this with several instruments until the end result sounds like a full orchestra. I marveled that one person could create such a beautiful piece without other musicians in less than 2 minutes.
Julio Says It All
What is a good blue grass, classical, or steam punk performance worth if there is no comedy? Well, ‘Cousin Julio’ is a huge fan of the Duttons and appears on stage begging for a job. Jonathan refuses to hire him but Julio doesn’t speak English very well and decides that he is going to be part of the show. Although the family eventually offers him a job in the custodial department, Julio turns cleaning into a career of hilarious entertainment! You will fall in love with Julio and can even purchase a t-shirt in the gift shop to prove your admiration.
‘The Duttons’ is a delightful, professional, and family oriented show. I especially enjoyed the facial expressions of the cast, the blue grass music, the captivating Amy during the classical piece, and the comedy of the very talented ‘Cousin Julio.” The family comes alive with a set of strings in their hands and love what they do! The aspect I remember most is the highly trained sound of the strings. Oh, and my new boyfriend, Julio!
“The Duttons are the most entertaining ‘Classical Hillbillies’ I’ve ever met!”
Angie Harris, www.GoingOutTheDoor.com
Three brothers, two sisters, and fifteen children comprise the cast of the Dutton show that can be seen most nights at 8:00 p.m. from early April through the first week of December. The theatre complex is located in the ‘neighborhood of the stars’ on the 76 strip in Branson. The Duttons also own and manage the Dutton Inn located directly behind the theatre, and ‘Abby’s Tourist Trap’ next to the front entrance.
3454 W 76 Country Blvd
Branson, MO 65616
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Angie Roberts Harris has been living and working in Branson, MO since 1992. Her career in sales and marketing has given her a special opportunity to work with many businesses and entertainers.