Branson's Hughes family could field not just both sides of a football team but both sides of a football game. That's not what makes their music show popular, but it is unarguably unique.
"We could also be the whole cast of almost any Broadway musical," jokes Jason Hughes, who is the second oldest of the Hughes brothers. When they all take the stage at the Hughes Brothers Theatre, there are 46 family members -- give or take, "depending on the day and which baby fell asleep backstage" -- and he says every one of them is good enough to make a Broadway medley one of the brand new show's strongest segments.
The Hughes Music Show
WHEN — 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. various days through October
WHERE — Hughes Brothers Theatre, 3425 W. 76 Country Blvd.
COST — $9.95 children; $16.95-$19.95 teens; $39.99-$49.99 adults; dinner is available at an additional cost
INFO — 417-334-0076 or HughesMusicShow.com
"I think people are surprised at how talented every person in the family is," he says.
Jacob Hughes, who is Jason's nephew and one of the younger family members at 20, admits he thinks the family itself does intrigue show goers, though.
"One of the things that sets us apart is that we've been together for so long and created this chemistry that I don't think a lot of families could reproduce," he says. "That communicates to the audience, and they can really feel that and understand that."
Jacob has, of course, grown up in the family business. The four Hughes brothers came to Branson 24 years ago for a one-week gig at Silver Dollar City. "We were the young, hot act for the summer crowd," Jason says. Their brand of country harmony caught the attention of another family, the Osmonds, and the Hughes Brothers were hired to open at their Branson theater. One thing led to another, and in 2000, they moved to the Roy Clarke Celebrity Theatre as their permanent home.
Over that period of time, the family obviously multiplied. Jacob is among the oldest of the 36 cousins who make up the second Hughes generation, but he says nothing about them fits the stereotype of home-schooled kids.
"A lot of people expect us to be pretty socially awkward and sheltered, but it's quite the opposite being in an entertainment family," he says. "We get to talk to and meet amazing people every day. That's helped us grow up really fast. We've been so blessed to be in the theater and learn what we know."
Jacob plays more than half a dozen instruments and first filled in as the band's drummer when he was 8 years old, his uncle remembers proudly. He's also a singer/songwriter, and there's a spot every night for him to showcase that talent. Asked if he ever wanted to do something completely different, he says: "I think the furthest I ever wanted to go away from music was to play sports. But if I were to choose, I'd choose music any day."
The addition of Jacob as the band's principal drummer helped the family make the decision to change the name to The Hughes Music Show in 2018, but Jason says they also wanted to let visitors know this is not your mama's music show -- even though his mama is general manager of the theater.
"When you've been in town 24 years, a lot of people think they know what you do," he says. "But in reality, our show has been changing all along. I don't think there's a show in Branson with a wider variety of music" from patriotic to an Alabama medley to "'The Greatest Show,' a huge spectacular number with three violins, two snare drums, the full band behind us, and probably about 20 people in that song costumed in kind of Victorian steampunk.
"And I don't think there's another show that could pull those Broadway songs off the way we do."
NAN What's Up on 05/13/2018