A Peek Behind The Curtains
Getting to know Branson starts with getting to know the people behind the scenes who help to ensure the show goes on. Take a peek into the stories of the Branson's show industry who help make every moment happen.
You are likely familiar with the faces that dazzle onstage; you see them on billboards around town and on colorful brochures to be found in many Branson businesses. While the magic of Branson’s live shows seems to just happen, working within the details, you will find many passionate individuals who strive to create an unforgettable experience for each guest who steps into any of Branson’s theatres. The duties carried out by these friendly individuals are crucial in ensuring the success of the live music show scene in Branson.
Grand Country Music Hall: Box Office
The excitement of the show begins before guests even take their seats. Justin “Salty” Saltonstall is the Box Office Manager at Grand Country Music Hall, overseeing the purchase of tickets and handling of season passes, concession stand operations, and group reservations to the shows. Having worked in Branson’s live entertainment since he was a teen, Salty shares that from the moment someone walks into the theatre, he wants to make them happy. This starts with looking at the guest experience through their eyes and asking himself, “What would I want to experience as a show-goer?” His favorite part of his job is interacting with guests and having the privilege of creating an experience that he, himself, would want to repeat as a guest.
Presleys' Country Jubilee: Guest Relations
To many working within Branson’s live entertainment industry, interacting directly with guests and building upon their excitement is where they truly shine. Born into a family of performers, eighteen-year old Anna Presley of Presleys' Country Jubilee realized at a very young age that she prefers interacting with guests instead of being in front of them onstage. As a child, she was especially close with one of the theatre’s ushers, Brenda, and began accompanying her in her responsibilities as an usher; this is how Anna learned that talking to people and making them feel at home is what she loves to do. She’s noticed that when show-goers feel comfortable in the theatre, they feel more relaxed and “free to laugh.”
No matter where life takes young Anna Presley, she says that her family’s theatre will always have a place in her heart. Planning to pursue a degree that allows her to grow in her writing, Anna would like to utilize her creative talents to further the theatre in the future—though not sure how just yet, she is determined to find a way.
Sight & Sound Theatre: Back Stage
Once it’s showtime, those working within the backstage operations put into motion all that they’ve rehearsed. Matt Noll, Deck Chief at Branson’s Sight & Sound Theatre, oversees the deck crew, audio team, lighting, and wardrobe, and he serves as the point of contact between the various departments to ensure that the show runs smoothly. Sight & Sound Theatre is known for their excellently produced retellings of Bible stories, complete with sets that invite you into the scene by adding live animals and enormous props. He states that his team’s goal while the curtain’s up is for the audience to “not even know [we] exist.”
One of Matt’s favorite parts of his job is maneuvering and placing the “toys” – the magnificent props and sets – which include remote-controlled set pieces sometimes the size of a three or four-story building. Although he does not work directly with guests any longer, he shared that he often hears how much the stories told by Sight & Sound impact those who experience these innovative performances. The lasting effects of Branson’s shows can be largely attributed to the passion of those who work within the theatres—both onstage and in the details. Salty with Grand Country speaks highly of the work culture of the theatre and the resort as a whole: “It truly is a family.” He shared that everyone who works there cares for one another; and for him, that has been evident in many capacities.
The work of those in the front of house or even “behind the curtain” demonstrates the passion of these individuals— passion for what they do, the people they meet, and the overall experience that guests have within their theatre. Their roles intertwine so beautifully with the work of those onstage, creating the most authentic and dazzling guest experiences that turn first-time guests into regulars.