Eureka Springs, Arkansas is well known for its romantic shop lined streets, and Victorian charm. What it has always seemed to be less known for is its evening entertainment options. Many visitors will travel to Branson for a nighttime show, but fortunately the return of the Ozark Mountain Hoedown has made that unnecessary. We made plans to stop in for an evening show, and wondered what we would encounter.
We want to thank the Ozark Mountain Hoedown for their hospitality. Rest assured that all opinions are our own.
Preparing For The Show
After picking up our tickets at will call, we joined the early crowd in the concession line. Next, we made our way into the theater. The seating is assigned, and we were fortunate to have seats near the front. We chatted with a nearby couple, who were also travelers. My guess would be that the majority of guests are, and soon the place filled up. The cushioned chairs are a bonus for those with tired feet from exploring.
Soon the cast took the stage, and the music began. The tunes fall primarily in the country, gospel, and bluegrass genres, which is exactly what is expected in the middle of the Ozark Mountains. The combination of guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums was joined by the unique sounds of a steel guitar. As the introductions began, we settled in for an evening of entertainment. Off and on throughout the evening, the band would take over with welcome renditions of familiar classics.
Here is a small sample of some of the great guitar work.
A Trio of Headliners at Ozark Mountain Hoedown
The music and showmanship starts strong, and flows non-stop throughout the evening with performances by everyone on stage. Natalie Nicole takes the lead on a few memorable titles, and wowed the audience with her vocals. Her flexibility was amazing, and she has a big, steady voice that is pleasant to hear.
Natalie is joined onstage by Rick McEwen, who has quite a set of pipes himself. Song after song, we find ourselves joining in with toe-tapping and even singing along. The music is infectious, and we can hear others around us joining in, as well. The main star of the night is Mike Nichols, who owns the theater. If I didn’t know this tidbit going in, it would have been hard to figure out. Mike is so welcoming to the others on stage, that they seem like a big family. Impersonation plays a big part in the show, and we really liked the “Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers” rendition of “Islands in the Stream”. All of the acts are done in fun, and it is obvious that the cast are fans of the stars they imitate.
Let The Silliness Begin
The Ozark Mountain Hoedown isn’t just a music show. To round out the entertainment, they offer a healthy dose of comedy. Now be prepared for a good amount of G-rated jokes, that the whole family can enjoy. Mike and the others will disappear off stage for a bit, and return as some of the stars we all know and love. A visit from Uncle “Posture Pedic” creates plenty of guffaws with witty one-liners.
Tator “Chip” Patches is another character that Mike Nichols has perfected. His storytelling weaves an intricate path that the audience follows to a hilarious finish. We have never spent much time at the Branson shows, and we can’t imagine them offering any better entertainment than what we found here. By the constant laughter from the audience, we were not the only people to feel this way.
Return of the King
Once again, Mike disappears off stage, as the band goes into another hearty rendition. Soon he returns, as that most familiar of entertainers, Elvis. Mike has a voice that is excellent at mimicking the sound of other entertainers. During the evening, we not only hear Elvis, but also Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. Add in the voices that Rick and Natalie perform, and you have a who’s who of country music stars.
Enjoy a sneak peek of some of the impressions you may hear at Ozark Mountain Hoedown.
True to the performances of old, Elvis works his way into the crowd to honor one of his adoring fans. Of course, this performance is peppered with comedy, which keeps the rest of us on the edge of our seats. Even Mike gets a little giggly at times, which just causes the laughter to elevate.
The True Message
As the night winds down, the tone becomes a little more serious. This is the point where the performers take time to honor those who make the largest sacrifices. The evening ends on a feel good note, and afterwards the performers come down from the stage to mingle with the audience. Here is a chance to actually speak with the stars that just spent the last couple of hours entertaining us. We found this portion of the night to be so genuine, that it left a lasting impression of the true appreciation they all have for those who attend their shows. We thanked them for their performances, and headed out of the theater. If all of their shows are like this, then Mike and his group are truly some of the most talented stars in the Midwest. How many of you have had caught one of their shows?