By Joshua Clark, Branson Tri-Lakes News
For the last 18 years, the month of February would find Tom, Andrea, Briahna, Brydon and Garon Brett, as well as the rest of the cast and crew of “The Bretts Show,” hard at work getting ready to open for the spring show season, but not this year.
“Our family has grown and evolved, we are all now in a different phase of life, personally and professionally,” Andrea Brett said.
As a result, the family has decided to move their show to exclusive fall dates. They are even now hard at work on this year’s Christmas show, which will open in November.
“We have had this vision for many years, and recently, there has been a lot of discussion about Christmas in Branson,” Tom Brett said. “Attention to what to do about Christmas as a special time, how to market it, what about it to market, and more.
“So we decided to just plain do something about it.”
What they decided to do was undergo a schedule change for the season, shifting the Branson performance schedule to September through December, in order to spend more time working on other projects, one of those major projects being, their Christmas show.
“Branson’s had a long standing tradition and focus on the Christmas season,” Tom Brett said. “We don’t want to lose that, but we want to preserve it and grow it into the future.”
The creative process for their Christmas show got rolling earlier this month when the majority of the family went on “lockdown” to hammer out the vision, as well as the first draft of the new production.
“We have a process we’ve been doing since we wrote the ‘Celebrate’ show in 2013,” Tom Brett said. “We spend a full week going over our goals and objectives for the show, and it’s pretty involved. We turned the phones off and locked ourselves down every day for a week to come up with the new show.”
While the Christmas show is a long way from being ready to roll out, Brett said they have a “great” first draft. While the Christmas season is still more than eight months away, Brett said by changing their schedule and concentrating so much on Christmas, he hopes they’ll assume a leadership role in the live show community that no longer features “big names” at the forefront.
“We’ve had Andy Williams, the Rockettes, Tony Orlando and others leading the Christmas season and spirit for many years,” Tom Brett said. “They are not here to lead that anymore, we don’t want what they’ve built and done to die, we want to carry forward the legacy.”
“Christmas in Branson, for our family, has always been very special,” Andrea Brett said. “The Bretts have always embodied Branson’s God, family and country core, and we feel like that message can even be amplified at Christmas.
“We want to take that beautiful message and package it for appeal to a wider audience.”
That wider audience includes reaching a national level of exposure.
“Branson is already a fantastic Christmas destination,” Brydon Brett said. “But the potential for growing it is amazing. We want to see Branson become synonymous with Christmas nationally. We want to restore hope for everyone in a big Christmas season.
“A big Christmas season helps everyone.”
With several area Christmas attractions and productions already garnering national attention, the family believes they are in the perfect position to be mentioned right alongside the best of the best.
“There was ‘Mr. Christmas,’ and we would like to be known as ‘Family Christmas.’” Tom Brett said. “Andy (Williams’) name became synonymous with Christmas, and we want the Bretts name to become synonymous with Christmas, as well, and hopefully, grow the Bretts into a national Christmas brand.”
“We want to stake our claim as one of Branson’s ‘Must-See’ Christmas productions,” Brydon Brett added. “Family and Christmas go together, and it’s just a natural fir for our brand.”
In addition to their Christmas production, the family is also hard at work on projects like recording new albums, shooting more videos, producing the Prince Ivan show, which features Aaron Ellsworth and Brydon and Garon Brett and opens later this spring at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre, as well as Andrea Brett’s book based on her popular poem, “I am a Veteran.”
“Andrea is writing a tabletop version of her poem,” Tom Brett said. “As a matter of fact, she recently flew out to work with an illustrator. People just love the poem, and we think this thing is going to take off and become its own entity.
“She’s been wanting to do this for a few years, and she’s extremely excited about it.”
Brett also said the family feels with the Bretts building up the fall and Christmas seasons and Prince Ivan building up the spring and summer, they believe it will be a “very effective one-two punch” for the area.
“Branson and the tourism and entertainment market are changing,” Brydon Brett said. “We feel a need to reinvent our brand to position ourselves for years to come to help grow Branson. It’s impossible for us to be stagnant, and for years, we’ve been pushing the envelope for entertainment here in Branson and these changes will allow us to do that even more for both the Bretts and Prince Ivan.
“We plan on taking everything we’re doing to the next level.”
“We’ve never had the chance to focus as much as we are now on our Christmas production,” Tom Brett said. “We plan on improving all that we’ve done, and all we can say at this point is if you’ve liked the “Bretts Christmas Show’ in the past, you’re going to love it this year.
“We appreciate ‘Happy Holidays,’ but we love ‘Merry Christmas,’ and we want to wish you many Merry Christmases to come.”