Photographs by Courtesy Photo
The Showboat Branson Belle cruises Tablerock Lake with a brand new variety show in 2018.
Sunday, May 13, 2018
There's an old saying about not pleasing all of the people all of the time.
Casey Robertson doesn't believe it for a minute. His motto is "If you don't like this, stick around for three minutes, and you'll love what's next."
Showboat Branson Belle
WHEN — Noon, 4 p.m. & 8 p.m.; varies by date
WHERE — On Tablerock Lake
COST — $28-$75
INFO — 800-775-2628
It's a good approach for a producer of a variety show, and that's Robertson's role this season on the Showboat Branson Belle. After 18 years working at theme parks -- first at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, and then at Silver Dollar City -- Robertson has moved from musician to maestro, pairing songs and performers to attract everyone from seniors to families to the Showboat.
"I watched shows for a lot of years, and I watched people watch the shows," he says of his experience playing drums for the saloon, the Cajun show and others at Silver Dollar City. "That's an invaluable tool. We hire a director, but we share the vision. And I'll share my opinion. I've seen a lot of things tried, and I have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn't."
The new Showboat production is made up of songs Robertson calls "comfort music": an Elvis Presley medley, a classic rock medley with songs by Kansas, Journey and the Eagles, a movie medley -- Bond, "Ghost Busters," "Risky Business," some "Fiddler on the Roof" -- and a grand finale that segues into a faith and family tribute and concludes by honoring veterans. The show also features the Deckhands Dance Troupe and award-winning comedy, with a live band.
At the same time, as many as 700 passengers can enjoy the view from a three-story theater and dine on slow-cooked pot roast and honey-citrus chicken, salad and sides, topped off with lemon berry ice cream pie -- or they can move up to the Captain's Club for steak or trout -- all the while cruising Table Rock Lake on a paddle-wheeler.
And even though Robertson jokes about audience members liking the next thing, he says that's not what he's hearing as passengers leave the boat.
"We're hearing 'it was all music I knew' and 'the performers are so talented' and 'the lighting was beautiful,'" he says. "The goal of the show is to put great music with incredibly talented entertainers and just entertain people."
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