**RECEIVED 2018 BLOGGING BRANSON AWARD OF EXCELLENCE**
Branson is packed to the hilt with tremendous talent and performances. With every turn of the head, visitors can find a theater on the “strip” that is home to another fabulous show. One of these shows is the Clay Cooper Country Express and what a treat it was to enjoy an evening of music, dancing and laughter with this team of talent during our recent trip to the area.
Disclaimer: I attended a media event as the guest of Niccole from The Creative SAHM. While this was an event sponsored by the Stone Castle Hotel and Conference Center, all opinions listed below are 100% authentic and mine alone.
~ The Clay Cooper Country Express ~
The Clay Cooper Country Express is a high energy variety show that consists of a 24 member talented troupe of performers showcasing a variety of skills. From tremendous vocals and skilled danced routines to side-splitting comedy, no guest leaves without having had a great time. Whether you love country music, rock ‘n roll, gospel or patriotic songs, you’ll find something to keep your toe tapping throughout the show.
~ The Cast ~
The troupe is led by none other than the debonair Clay Cooper, himself. Having come to Branson at the age of 16, Clay is now entering his 32nd year of entertaining the crowds. The remaining cast of characters gracing the stage alongside him includes his beautiful wife, Tina, and their adorably talented sons, Colt and Caden. Each member of this amazingly sweet family has his or her own opportunity to entertain the audience during the show.
The hilarious Matt Gumm adds a lot of interesting color to the Clay Cooper show with his slapstick routines. Matt has been performing since his youth, following in the comedic footsteps of his father. His diverse talent ultimately hijacks the show on many occasions and keeps the audience in stitches.
The vocal talent accompanying Clay and the rest of the Cooper family onstage is immense and includes such angelic voices as Kari Garrison and Third Power (James Redden, Jordan Dickison and David Griffin). I am a big sucker for good harmonies and the talent of these individuals had me mesmerized. (OH! And a huge shout out to the band members, who play their hearts out with every performance!!)
~ The Show ~
The Clay Cooper Country Express was actually our crew’s first exposure to Branson theater entertainment during the trip. After having enjoyed a day of fun and a full and delicious dinner in town, we arrived to the venue that evening excited and ready to go. We couldn’t wait to see what Clay and his crew had in store. So, we grabbed our soda and popcorn from the refreshment stands (because one cannot watch a show without popcorn and a drink), took our seats and prepared to be entertained.
Prior to the main performance, the audience was treated to a pre-show by Matt Gumm. With the help of a few random audience members, Matt “directed” a “silent movie” skit that had the rest of us in hysterics. It was a great way to start off the night, energizing us with laughter and drawing our attention to the stage.
Once the opening skit was over, it was time to raise the curtain on the first act. Without a doubt, the show commenced with a powerful opener, a bold performance of The Greatest Show! The song is a fan favorite, familiar to just about everyone in our group. It really kicked the night off with a bang.
The entire evening was filled with country medleys, rock ‘n roll classics and gospel favorites. There was something in the show for every person, every generation in that audience.
~ Celebrating Those Who Serve(d) ~
At one point towards the end of the evening, Clay and the rest of the cast took opportunity to acknowledge those who have served or are serving in the military. Patriotism is huge in Branson and this was our first taste of what was to come with other shows. Service members from all branches were asked to stand and the audience filled the room with applause and gratitude for the sacrifice these individuals have made, no matter how big or small. It is a beautiful and touching sentiment that personalizes the performance just that much more.
~ What Intrigued Me ~
I was enthralled by the singing, dancing and hilarious skits delivered by the whole team. However, my favorite parts of the show were when Clay would take a moment to personally interact with the audience. It was a perfect segue between acts and gave the audience a closer look at who Clay Cooper, the southern gentleman, really is.
At various points in the show, Clay would make his way off the stage. With microphone in hand, he would begin chatting with random individuals. He took the time to personally acknowledge anniversaries and even found himself a dance partner. He cracked a few funny jokes and took time to chat with our blogging crew, as well THAT was a fun (because I had the humble privilege of explaining to everyone in that room what a blogger actually does!).
~ Personal Memories To Take Away~
At the end of the night, when the curtain closed on the final act, Clay made time for those who ventured out to the show. It is his custom to head out into the crowd to shake hands, take pics and answer questions.
That night, our team also had the blessed opportunity of having Clay and his family all to ourselves for awhile. He gave our blogging bunch a chunk of time for questions, to share stories and snap some photos. Let me tell you, he is as down to earth offstage as he is onstage. His wife is as beautiful and sweet and their children respectful and adorable. What you see onstage is truly what you get offstage when you come to a Clay Cooper performance.
So, Clay, Tina, Colt, Caden, Matt, Kari, Third Power, amazing band and Ms. Pat Veach (the fabulous director of sales and marketing for the Clay Cooper Theater) ~ thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing us the opportunity to enjoy such a tremendous evening with y’all! And thank you to Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center for sponsoring such a fabulous event!
And Clay? One more thing…Thanks for grabbing my phone for our selfie ~ I may never wash my phone case again (lol!!).
You, too, can enjoy an amazing evening at the Clay Cooper Theater!
Visit Branson and grab some tickets to see Clay Cooper or any of the amazing performances at the Clay Cooper Theater!
- The Clay Cooper Theatre
3216 W 76 Country Blvd
Branson, MO 65616
- Box Office: 417-332-2529
- Toll Free 877-317-2604
- Fax 417-690-4583
- Box Office: 417-337-7123
- Toll Free- 888-222-8910
- Fax 417-334-3024
And check this out!!! Did you know that Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center actually has a Clay Cooper room for guests? It’s called the Clay Cooper Crib and I snapped a few photos while there in early April!
Call Stone Castle (1-800-677-6906) today to find out how you can stay in this themed room!