Press Release – March 17, 2023
Duttons Break Ground on New Theater Face
The Duttons are pleased to announce the next step in recovery from last July’s devastating fire is about to take place with a groundbreaking on a new theater face.
The new design, based on ideas from their creative CEO Sheila Dutton and the vision of design consultant Billy Ong, will be implemented in three stages.
“We wanted to create something outstanding and inviting, but still be true to our mission and to the idea of what Branson is all about,” says Sheila Dutton. “When Mr. Ong presented me with the artist’s renderings, I was overwhelmed. He captured perfectly what we were going for and though it will take us a little longer to complete than initially planned, the wait will be worth it, and we are so excited to get started.”
Stage one of the new look will consist of adding decorative towers, a canopy, and the large Dutton logo dominating the center parapet wall. Stages two and three will include a giant violin and music staff complete with notes curling from Abby’s Tourist Trap (the gift shop located next to the Dutton Theater, also owned and operated by The Duttons) to the opposite side of the theater. The crown jewel of the new design is iconic fountain designed by Mr. Ong depicts hands in a circle playing violins reminiscent of The Dutton’s stunt violin trick “the Violin Lineup.”
“It was such a wonderful experience doing the design,” said Billy Ong, project manager. “I had some ideas floating around in my head, but it took going to their show and then it all came together. After seeing the show, I knew exactly what needed to be done. The fountain, with the hands and violins all working together not only symbolizes the Duttons and their musical talent but also unity of family and community.”
The Duttons are delighted to be a part of the city wide improvements aimed at increasing tourism and Branson as a destination.
“The Duttons‘ rebuild is a hallmark project for the next phase of the 76 Entertainment District revitalization,” explained Ann McDowell, Communications and Creative Coordinator for the 76 Entertainment Community Improvement District. “Their visitor-focused team is creating a beautiful and memorable experience that is uniquely Branson. The quality renovation done here will set the tone for the entertainment destination re-creation coming soon.”
The Duttons also expressed their deep appreciation to the community and all of the individuals that have helped them get their theater back up and running.
“From the officials at the City, to the first responders to our fellow entertainers in town and everyone in between, the love and support we have felt from the community has been so overwhelming,” the family said in a joint statement.The number of individuals and organizations that have come to our aid is amazing. We wish we could name them all, but if we did we would be standing here all day. Let us just say though that we love you all and are so very, very grateful for your support.”
While the work is continuing on the outside, Timothy Dutton tells us that the inside will be ready for opening on April 17th.
“The theater has been thoroughly cleaned, the seat cushions and upholstery have been installed, lights, sound and effects modules have been cleaned and those that couldn’t be repaired are being replaced,” Dutton said. “It has been a long, exhausting effort and the end is finally in sight. We are so grateful to everyone at Trifecta Restoration, and several other companies for getting us to this point. We will open on schedule – even though the front won’t be ready for a few weeks, the inside is ready to go.”
Construction on the outside of the theater will be completed by Jim Webber of Edifice Contracting and all the signage elements will be manufactured and installed by Missouri Neon. Final completion of stage one of the rebuild of the Dutton Family Theater is expected to be completed by mid-June.
The Duttons will open their show on April 17. Tickets are available by calling 417-332-2772 or by visiting www.theduttons.com/tickets