Banjos, ballads, and beach balls!
The Haygoods open their show with a high-energy, modern rendition of Dancing on the Ceiling, and seconds into the song all eyes are on the ceiling for an exhilarating beginning to an exciting evening of entertainment. Six brothers – Timothy, Patrick, Dominic, Shawn, Michael, Matthew – and their only sister, Catherine; take the stage with unbeatable family harmonies, innovative dancing, extraordinary lighting, inventive staging. The Haygoods have always been high energy. That’s the reason their mother enrolled the boys in tap dancing classes when they were young, to dance away a little liveliness! That enthusiasm is what powers their show today, making it a Branson favorite for everyone from three to 103.
It was 1993 when the Haygood family moved to Branson, where the kids performed at Silver Dollar City. That turned out to be an eight-year engagement – five shows a day, five days a week. The Haygoods “grew up at Silver Dollar City.” They remember hard work but also lots of roller coaster rides and funnel cakes! Did Mom and Dad ever have trouble keeping track of them out there on the park? Their mother, Marie Haygood, says, “You know, they were really good. In all those years no one ever missed a show.”
In 2001, with a loan from Grandma and Grandpa Haygood, The Haygoods opened their own show. With the three oldest boys – Timothy, Patrick, and Dominic – in charge of the business side, The Haygoods all set out to make theirs the most exciting show on Branson’s famed 76 “Strip.” With unique twists on classic songs, up to date dance moves, exciting stunts and pyrotechnics, and state-of-the-art, cutting-edge video features, they have certainly succeeded. Since 2001 The Haygoods have become a sensation on YouTube with their wild BMX and paraplane stunts; recorded their own music and with no radio or label support sold more than 100,000 physical copies; starred in Adventures of The Haygoods on RFD-TV; toured China (so popular they had their own security detail!); appeared in A Very Barry Branson with Barry Williams (Greg, of The Brady Bunch) on the GAC network. AND … they have performed 7500 shows for six million folks. Talent, energy, creativity, and hard work have paid off for these still-young entertainers.
Catherine Haygood coordinates the costumes, a fun mix of denim and leather, cowboy boots and high-tops – high heels, boots, and occasional glitter, glamour, and gowns for herself. It’s clever, and it works. She plays the most instruments – harp, violin, saxophone, piano, acoustic guitar, and drums. (The harp probably puts her over the top!) The boys all play several instruments, too. With violin, mandolin, banjo, saxophone, harmonica, guitar, bass, and drums – it’s a mighty fine band. Patrick is the star pianist, dazzling the audience with his talent and antics. Dominic might be the “funny man,” but they all are quick and witty. Shawn is back in the show for the 25th anniversary, after taking a music break for a few years. They call him the musically artistic one; like the rest of his siblings, he is a gifted dancer and an energetic presence on stage.
The family lived near the Mark Twain National Forest and the kids acquired a long-lasting love of the outdoors. With a beautiful backdrop, The Haygoods take the audience out to the country for “the soundtrack of their lives.” There’s a fiddlin’ frenzy for Ring of Fire, complete with pyro effects; a beautiful arrangement of I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry; and … wait for it … “Banjo Boy!” Timothy takes on a whole other persona as Banjo Boy. (Give him some love.) As he struggles against all odds to maintain a presence on stage, Banjo Boy endears himself to the audience. (If not with the family!) Matthew really cuts loose with his impressive rendition of The Devil Went Down to Georgia. And what’s this – a two-story Banjo-mobile. Really. It’s lights, camera, lots of action, and a fast-paced show full of surprises.
In a superb performance of Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the instruments become the screens for beautiful video shots. It’s clever, and skillfully done. And speaking of toe tapping? Those tap dancing lessons paid off. Wearing mountain boots and dancing on elevated platforms, the boys execute incredibly fancy footwork that’s a heart-pounding combination of tap and “stomp.”
“Banjo Boy not cleared for landing!” Despite this warning, the second half gets underway, and the audience is even more excited than before the show began. Elvis himself would enjoy the Haygoods’ version of Burning Love, as well as Catherine’s engaging performance of Hallelujah on the harp. The harp, bass, and piano are outlined with lights for Singin’ in the Rain. A lot of wonderful lighting effects, all of it beyond state-of-the-art. Michael’s suit of lights is an incredible work of artful technology. (“Banjo Boy” steps up his game with a few lights added to his hat, denim jacket, and red boots!) Michael not only designed the lighting for the show, but he and his team also designed the lighting and lighting shows for Branson’s new Ferris Wheel.
Dino Phillips, drummer extraordinaire, is not a Haygood, although he’s become part of the family after being their “beatmaster” for 14 years. Of his years with The Haygoods, Dino smiles and says, “What a ride!” The stage is truly full of amazing talent and family fun, creating a show unlike any other in Branson. Hot Dang, it’s the Haygoods!
In 2014 The Haygoods moved their show to Clay Cooper’s theater and in 2016 set a record of 72 sold out shows. The Haygoods and the Clay Cooper Theatre both participate in the Branson On Stage Live program, which gives bands and students from around the country the opportunity to perform on stage before the show. It’s a thrill for the students, and audiences love it. Families are important to The Haygoods; there are now two Haygood grandchildren, with two more on the way!
From ballads and banjos to beach balls (really) The Haygoods have created a brilliant show. No matter what you’ve been doing, The Haygoods show will be an entertaining and rewarding finale to your day in Branson.