A classic has returned to Branson, the light-hearted, laughable, and lovably loony production of The Toby Show! Once a staple on small town stages and in traveling tents across the country, this homespun vaudeville-style show is the definition of family-friendly, making it a picture perfect fit for Branson’s live entertainment community. The plot is simple, but effective, and centers around “Toby,” the quintessential country lad who gets the better of a slick city character. The show features a talented cast of crazy characters who sing, dance, and tell jokes as corny as the day is long - it’s the kind of good, clean fun that’s plenty scarce these days!
There’s no more fitting home for The Toby Show than on stage at the Shepherd of the Hills; the original “shepherd,” Loyd “Shad” Heller, helped develop the first local production for Branson back in the late 60s. Inspiration from Irene Ryan, the popular actress who’s best known as Granny in the television sitcom classic, Beverly Hillbillies, and assistance from Shad’s wife, Mollie, were also instrumental in making The Toby Show a reality back then. Fun side story: Three episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies, a hugely popular 1960s sitcom, were filmed at Branson’s Silver Dollar City; the show’s creator, Paul Henning, is a Missouri native. Branson is also home to a 1,500 acre conservation area named for Henning and his wife, Ruth, and one of the only remaining original trucks used in the sitcom can be found at the Ralph Foster Museum at College of the Ozarks, another Branson landmark.
The early production of The Toby Show was a Branson mainstay for years; audiences were still watching it in the mid-80s, and always felt secure in the fact that nothing would offend anyone in the family, no matter how young or how uptight! The show was held in the Corn Crib Theater - honestly, that was the actual name of the venue - in an area along Branson’s famous Strip known as the Wilderness Settlement, where visitors would also find a blacksmith and a taffy shop, among other Ozarks’ tourism staples. The new production takes place in the Playhouse Theatre at the Shepherd of the Hills, the iconic Homestead famously named for the book authored by Harold Bell Wright, a travelling minister who loved the beautiful landscape of the Ozarks and the salt-of-the-earth folks who scratched a living from its hills.
The new Toby Show comes with dinner, making it an even better outing for the family - the menu features Maple Glazed Smoked Turkey Breast, BBQ Peppered Pulled Park, Baked Beans, Fire-roasted Ear of Corn, and Dutch Oven Crumb Top Cobbler for dessert. And now that you’ve been introduced to the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead & Adventure Park, you might want to check out at least some of the many activities also available here: Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama, the long-running play that tells the book’s story -- Inspiration Tower, a great way to see the Ozarks landscape from a 230-foot vantage point -- Homestead Tour, view the iconic property and hear more of its history -- Lil Pete’s Playland, a fun outdoor activities area created just for kids -- Ropes Course, for guests looking for a fitness challenge -- Off-Road Ozark ATV Adventures, offers an exciting one-hour or 90 minute excursion throughout the Homestead’s “backcountry” -- Zipline, a canopy tour with the option of four short lines, four long lines, or all eight lines together -- Vigilante Extreme ZipRider, a thrilling seated zipline ride that reaches speeds of 50 wpm -- and there’s even more during the holidays - the park lights up with the North Pole Adventure and Trail of Lights, and features two shows, Merry Christmas with Dino & Cheryl and A Shepherd’s Christmas Carol.
Come to Branson and experience the kind of show that first put the live entertainment capital on the tourist destination map, The Toby Show!