Springfield, MO

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Southwest Missouri News-Branson

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Mary Engler-Guccione, Joplin area

The 1998 headliner for what is now called Melinda's Magical Mansion in Branson will be Melinda: First Lady of Magic, one of the few female magicians performing in the United States.

Melinda Saxe was featured in the CBS television special "Disney's Melinda: First Lady of Magic" in May, along with actresses Shelly Long and Kelsey Mulrooney. Hoping to participate in more Disney television specials was one reason Saxe moved her show to Branson, said her manager and executive producer, Steve Zadrick.

"Branson is not a casino town, and Disney does not want to be connected to casinos," Zadrick said.

Saxe will open her Branson show April 15 with a cast of 19, including dancers and juggler Anthony Gatto, who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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