Springfield, MO

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Southwest Missouri News--Branson

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Marti Attoun, Joplin area

Dean Bliss has been named the new general manager of Welk Resort Center and Champagne Theatre in Branson. Bliss was general manager of the Crowne Plaza Five Seasons in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and worked as a general manager in the Marriott, Hilton and Radisson chains.

The hotel's former general manager, Jon Fredricks, is returning to California to assume his new role as president of the Welk Resort Group, headquartered in San Diego. As well as overseeing current Welk properties, Fredricks will implement new development plans for the 500-acre Welk Resort complex in North San Diego County.

Fredricks' wife, Tracy, also relocating with him, will continue her responsibilities as controller for the Welk Branson property.

Also at the Branson property, Brenda Beebe has been promoted to accounting manager for Welk Resort.

Tom Bahler will be the new producer/director for the Champagne Theatre. Bahler's credits include writing songs for Michael Jackson, Cher, Bobby Sherman and Quincy Jones; for his musical and production involvement in such movies as "The Color Purple" and "Wag the Dog;" and serving as the creative director for Superbowl halftime shows.

His new associate director is Mary Lou Metzger, a singer and dancer on television's "The Lawrence Welk Show." The new production stage manager is Joseph Millet, who was most recently with the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre.

Michael Hughes has been named manager of the Champagne Theatre. His previous experience includes positions with the Lee Greenwood Theatre at Sevierville, Tenn., the Gatlin Brothers Theatre at Myrtle Beach and the Shepherd of the Hills Entertainment Group in Branson.

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