The lights dim, the red curtains draw back and suddenly a lively Christmas tune unravels before your eyes and ears in full swing presenting powerful harmonies, palpable energy and colorful holiday décor as far as the eye can see. The talented and harmonious Hughes family have taken the stage and they are ready rock the house, create moments of awe and spread plenty of Christmas cheer for their 26th consecutive year in Branson, Missouri.
From start to finish, the four Hughes Brothers and their talented families dazzle the crowd with stunning harmony, spectacular technical effects, beautiful costumes and lots and lots of Christmas fun! Opening night for the new Hughes Brothers Christmas Show commenced November 2, 2020 and will continue until January 2, 2021.
The Hughes Family consists of an impressive total of 53 members with more than 30 actively on stage throughout the entirety of the performance. Of course, with every holiday show comes plenty of work, practice and rehearsals for the adults, teens and children to get everyone ready for the holiday show.
“It’s a bit of a cast!” Jason Hughes, the second oldest Hughes brother and producer of the show, stated during an interview with a chuckle. “Every year we have to change what we are doing a little bit with who is doing what because the kids will grow out of their robes. A lot of different elements happen at Christmas time. Just the scale of what the Christmas show is just huge. We start pretty early in rehearsals in Mid-August when we are full into Christmas planning.”
Jason’s son, Aaron, who is also a performer, manages the marketing side of things for the theater said there are plenty of great moments in the first half of the show including energetic swing dance numbers and a performance that includes nearly a dozen violin players taking the stage in one “great moment”.
Every moment and every new performance throughout the span of the show brings a whole new element to the table so audience members never know what to expect whether there is snow falling near the stage or some fun audience interaction involving a bit of mistletoe!
The Christmas performance includes performances from the Hughes Brothers, their wives, and their children in separate performances or all together at once. Instruments like the accordion, the guitar and violins will be heard throughout the entirety of show whether to accompany an old Christmas tune or something more modern.
Some songs performed during the show include: Winter Wonderland, The Christmas Song, It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming To Town, O Come O Come Emmanuel, We Three Kings of Orient Are, Deck the Halls, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and much, much more!
Jason and Aaron both agreed they are glad the Hughes Brothers Theater is still open and that they can still preform as COVID-19 has altered many things including how the show is run and having to adjust to some big changes as an industry.
“Precaution wise, everybody is wearing masks as they come in,” Aaron started. “ We’ve been very careful to sit everyone separately. We try to keep 6ft between each group of people and then we go through and clean the whole theater thoroughly in between each show.”
Jason added on that their “Strategy is to do more shows since it gives us a lot more space for people to spread out. As an industry, having people wear masks can be troublesome mainly because they don’t enjoy themselves as much. It’s hard to play off the audience especially if you’re joking with the audience and trying to communicate with them in any way.”
Despite these challenges, locals and travelers alike continue to come to see the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show for their morning performances and their evening performances where guests can enjoy dinner and a show. Many who come are new audience members and while many more are returning audience members.
Topper, who has worked with the Hughes Brothers Theater for 15 years said; “Look at 26 years and you’ve got family that have brought their kids. Those kids are now grown up and they have kids of their own and they’re bringing their family to the show. So, we’re seeing multi- generations of people coming back over and over again. Especially with our Christmas Show. For a lot of families, it becomes a tradition.”
And what a wonderful tradition it is to witness such a multi-talented, musically inclined family bring the joy of Christmas and the real reason for the season to stage for all ages to enjoy!
“There are so many things I think are special about the Christmas Show,” Jason answered when asked what were some of his favorite moments from the performance. “Many moments in the first half, I just love to see the look of awe on peoples faces. There are lots of special little moments.”
Topper added that, during this time when the world has gone mad, audience members “get two hours where you can just feel happy about who you are and about your family. It takes you back to your days as a kid growing up and all of those cherished childhood memories you may have on Christmas. It’s very nostalgic. And for just two hours you get to forget what’s going on out there and you get to be in the moment here. And that’s what keeps people coming back. That’s what keeps people sharing and saying ‘You’ve got to got see this show because this is something that is going to change your life’”.
When any Hughes family member gets on stage whether they are tap dancing, singing, playing an instrument, or telling a few humorous jokes, there’s an evident harmony and passion there towards anything and everything they do during those two hours. There are touching moments, clap-along moments and moments where chills will go up your spine as you witness something moving and powerful live on stage.
“ It is always our goal to be able to really connect with the audience in a meaningful way,” Jason stated. “ To us, having the audience laugh or cry is just awesome because we know that we are connecting on a different level.”
Everything about this Christmas Show, or any of their shows for that matter, is about family, the gift of music, and God. Regardless of which one you see, the Hughes Brothers Theater is a must visit this holiday season whether you live in Branson or are here for a special vacation getaway! Be on the lookout for the Hughes Brothers Country Show and some exciting announcements on the horizon of a show coming next year produced by the teens and kids!
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