One of the new shows Pam and I saw in Branson last week was “Dancing Queen.” It was a high energy song-and-dance show featuring music from the 1970s. We liked it a lot. It was good from beginning to end.
The show was located at the King’s Castle Theater, which was previously the Branson Variety Theater, and before that the Bobby Vinton theater. In March 2012, the theater was heavily damaged when a tornado swept through Branson.
Probably a third, maybe up to a half, of the songs were from Abba. The four singers were modeled after Abba–two guys and two girls. The two girls (a blond and a brunette, of course) were the best female singers we heard all week in Branson. Very strong voices, and they blended pretty well to produce the Abba sound. But not nearly as well as Agnetha and Frida from the real Abba. (The photo above, by the way, shows an entirely different foursome, but it’s the only photo I could find).
The two guys, both of them Brits, were also members of the Twelve Irish Tenors show (from the same theater). They had a lot of personality, and interacted well with the audience. One guy, a blonde, was really fun to watch, because he could really dance–probably better than any of the guys in the dance troupe.
Speaking of which: accompanying the singers throughout was a troupe of dancers (either 10 or 12, I can’t remember). They added a lot. There were numerous costume changes.
Pam and I really liked “Dancing Queen.” We recognized all of the songs, and were pleased with the high calibre of singing. Too many times with some of the Abba songs, only one of the gals sang as a solo, and the song lost the unique Abba sound of two women’s voices blending (this was particularly noticeable on “SOS”). But the girls were individually such strong vocalists that I still greatly enjoyed the songs.
“Dancing Queen” is what I call a “manufactured” act. That is, someone came up with the concept, and then they auditioned people for the various parts. More and more shows in Branson are manufactured acts. As opposed to the family-centered shows–Presleys, Haygoods, Duttons, Brett Family, Hughes Brothers, Six. In 2011, we saw “Hooray for Hollywood,” another manufactured show held at the same theater as “Dancing Queen” (and also quite a good show). All of the shows at King’s Castle Theater are manufactured.
But we find that the manufactured shows lack soul. There is not the authentic God-country-family emphasis common in the family shows. Plus, the members change from year to year, whereas at the family shows, you’ll see the same people. We prefer the family shows, but I suspect the manufactured shows are the future in Branson.