Friday, April 21, 2017
Rex Burdette always knew that someday he'd have to replace World-Fest. At 19, it wasn't the oldest of the Silver Dollar City festivals, but he thought its 2016 run should be its last.
Burdette, the theme park's festival director, was ready for something "magical, wonderful, unique -- just wow," and he'd been "sticking a few ideas in the pile" for some time. The result, debuting this spring, is Festival of Wonder, billed as "a most amazing entertainment experience."
Festival of Wonder
WHEN — Through April 30
WHERE — Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo.
COST — $51 per day to $97 for a season pass
INFO — 800-831-4386
"From a harp that spans the entire length of a theater to precision dancing upside down, the Festival of Wonder is designed to astound with performances as unexpected as they are entertaining," says longtime park spokeswoman Martha Hoy Bohner.
Burdette says he doesn't have a favorite act. "The Earth Harp is probably the most talked about," he says, and that's not surprising when the instrument has strings stretched the length of Red Gold Heritage Hall, vibrating above the heads of the audience as it plays.
But, Burdette adds, "The Flamenco Kings" show is "probably the most attended." An act put together by the seven Vivancos brothers, the show and its predecessor, "7Brothers," have been called the "musical theater sensation of the decade" by New York Daily News and have toured 40 countries and played to 2 million people.
Elias Vivancos says he and his brothers "come from an artistic family: Our father was a dancer, and the way we were taught when we were kids made it fun. We started when we were very, very young, so it came naturally. It was a very happy childhood."
In the past, the brothers have presented their unique mix of dance, music and martial arts on both coasts of the United States, but this is their first visit to the heartland -- and they're loving it.
"We are actually enjoying very much our stay here in Branson," Elias Vivancos says in perfect English. "We spend a lot of time in the Opera House because our performance is very demanding." But the family has also ridden the rides in the 1880s theme park and eaten the food.
"We like to eat chicken wings when we go to the States. We don't have those in Spain," says Vivancos, who is from Barcelona. "But there is a lot of good food -- good pizza, the steaks are great. We burn a lot of calories in our show so we can enjoy good food!"
They need the fuel. As a group, the Vivancos brothers are the Guinness record holders for "Fastest Flamenco Feet," set by accomplishing more than 1,300 taps per minute.
"We are really enjoying the energy the audience is bringing to our shows," Elias Vivancos says of performing at Silver Dollar City. "What we do on stage physically takes a lot, so when the audience enjoys the show, when they understand what's happening on stage, the music, the dance, the passion, they give us back so much. At the end, they are standing up, screaming and clapping their hands, and it is wonderful."
NAN What's Up on 04/21/2017
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