Do you know what's in your own backyard?
In August of this year, Branson producer and longtime entertainer, Chisai Childs and her husband, Mark Allen, moved to Barry County and purchased the Roaring River Theater.
The couple brought with them The Best of Branson Band and began having their "Dinner & A Show" evenings immediately. Childs has been involved in the entertainment business since she was 15 years old when she was named The Most Talented Teenager in America. She began traveling worldwide with Bob Hope, performing in Hope's famous USO shows.
Childs' pedigree in the entertainment industry is very impressive. She has been on Hee Haw, The Grand Ole Opry and The Ralph Emery Show in addition to hosting and producing her own television show, "Chisai and the Ozarks" that aired in Springfield in the 1980s.
Childs was an inaugural inductee in the Branson Music Hall of Fame. Childs is a very entertaining performer on the stage, but her work behind the scenes is amazing.
In another country music publication, Childs is credited with giving the following entertainers their starts in the entertainment industry: Shoji Tabuchi, Doug Gabriel, Jess Hudson, Michael and Kelly Jackson, The Texans, Buddy Green, Terry McBride, Lori Locke, George Giddens, Fred Carpenter, John Paul Cody, Linda Davis, Cliff Wagner, David Evans, Shauna Smith, Sami and David Straub, Bill and Randy Brooks, the late BoxCar Willie, Buck Trent, Johnny Long, Bill Holden, Jack Robertson, Susan Hudson, Scott Reiley, Joe Tinoco, Lonnie Smith, Craig White, Rick Inman, Randy Hardison, Dennis Parsons, Steve Tennehill, Kenny Walker, Kimberly Dawn, Dean Church, Shane Vorhaban, David Milligan, Greg Bailey, Jerry Dykes, David Houseman, Ava Barber and many others.
The cast of Childs' Best of Branson Band features Susan Hudson Carman, who was awarded Miss Country Music America by Tammy Wynette. Hudson Carman is a regular performer in Branson during the week, but on the weekends, she can be seen and heard at Barry County's Roaring River Theater. Her powerful voice is a must hear, and she adds her own brand of humor that makes her truly an entertainment jewel.
Childs' husband, Mark Allen, is a singer-songwriter who has landed songs on the Country Music's charts. He was recently signed to a recording contract with Driftwood Records, which was owned by the world famous Jimmy Driftwood.
Steve Harbour, the musical arranger for the band, has earned the title Arkansas State Guitar and Banjo Champion. Harbour is an amazing performer and can also be seen with Andy Williams during the week in the Entertainers Show. He is also an original member of the Childs-produced award winning Magnificent 7 Show in Branson. But on the weekends, he's in Barry County's backyard at The Roaring River Theater and Events Center.
Paul Dietrich is the grand nephew of world famous actress Marlena Dietrich. He was a regular on Nashville Now. He has played with some of the biggest stars in the business. He is operatic trained and is also an ordained minister.
Buddy Burr, the band's bass player, is a Branson icon. He plays every single instrument on the stage. Jason Turner, the band's drummer, originally from the Road to Rock Show in Branson, turns back to his country roots at the Roaring River Theater.
In October, Childs hosted her first Got Talent! Talent Show at the Theater. There were over 25 entries with Divisional Winners for adult, teenager and youth ages. The Overall Champions, Shell Knob's Josiah Willis and Kyla Moore, earned $250 for their performance in addition to a chance to win the Yearly Grand Prize of $1,000 for the Got Talent! Talent Show Performer of the Year.
Willis and Moore also won the opportunity to perform live at the Roaring River Theater on The Best of Branson evening, and they performed in Branson at the Doug Gabriel Show.
The next Got Talent! Talent Show will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5 at the Roaring River Theater and Events Center. Entrants are asked to sign up one week in advance of the show.
The Best of Branson weekend shows feature dinner and a show. The dinners are catered by another local favorite - Geraldi's Italian restaurant. Reservations are requested due to limited seating and can be made by calling 846-0222. For more information, visit their website at www.roaringrivertheater.com. The theater is located approximately four miles south of Cassville on Highway 112.