In Branson, Duttons find new home and fight Amy’s cancer

In Branson, Duttons find new home and fight Amy’s cancer

By any definition of the word, it’s been a challenging year for the performing Dutton family of Branson.

On July 13, the Dutton Family Theater at 3454 W. 76 Country Blvd. was badly damaged by a fire that started in a trash can, with flames climbing up a corner column to the crawl space, facade and roof of the theater. And while the troupe was juggling a move to Yakov Smirnoff’s 2,000-seat theater on Missouri 48, where their show opened Sept. 26, violinist Amy Dutton Arambulo was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and started chemotherapy.

Even with all of that, family spokeswoman Judith Dutton — whose husband, Timothy, is the son of the founders, Dean and Sheila Dutton — remarks first on “how supportive everyone has been.”

“As you know, the entire family came into town right when we first opened [at Yakov’s] to help us get everything going and to show their support for the fire recovery and for Amy’s cancer,” she says. “Also wonderful has been our staff. I have watched them do the most amazing things getting all of the technical aspects of the show settled over at Yakov’s, and do so with so much warmth and support. The people that have surrounded us with their support over the last couple of months have truly been a miracle and a blessing to us.”

Even before the family had a chance to assess the fire damage, Yakov was on the phone to “express his concern,” Dutton says.

“He was so kind. Then a couple of weeks later when we realized the extent of the damage and that we weren’t going to get our theater open right away, he called again and offered his theater to us.”

“We were hoping in the beginning that the fire damage was minimal and we would be able to open our theater back up for guests within a month or two,” Timothy Dutton said in a previous news release. “The deeper we [got] into this project, however, the more problems we [found] — especially the amount of smoke damage that went through the whole building, even the parts of the building farthest away from the actual fire. It soon became essential to find a new location to host our show for the remainder of the season.”

“The challenge was to find a theater that was big enough to host a large cast, have enough seats to accommodate our current reservations and had the time slots available for our schedule,” family matriarch Sheila Dutton said. “Yakov’s was absolutely the best fit, and when he called to offer, we couldn’t have been more delighted.”

After a week of “reunion shows” with all seven of the original Dutton siblings at the end of September, the family has returned to their regular show through Oct. 31, which will be followed by the Christmas show Nov. 1-Dec. 14. In the meantime, a decision was made to also share Amy Dutton Arambulo’s cancer battle during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

“Well, you hear it over and over again: Ladies, get your mammograms,” Judith Dutton says. “Amy had recently had a physical and for some reason felt like she should have one done, and it is a good thing that she did!

“We are all hopeful and upbeat — as is Amy. So far, she is feeling great and is planning on performing and continuing in the show as much as she can. She is determined to beat this illness. She is blessed with an excellent team of doctors and the entire family at her beck and call to help her get through this.”

Fans of the family know that Amy’s youngest son, Josiah, is a survivor of leukemia. He had his last chemo treatment in November 2016 and has been in remission ever since.

“The funny thing is that going through that whole experience with Josiah, I am less fearful, and very grateful,” Arambulo says. “I have a very good idea of what to expect. I know what questions to ask my doctors, and I am familiar with the whole process. Just having all that knowledge is already a blessing in my life, and having such strong and loving support from my family is another.”

“We want everyone to know that we are hopeful and making great plans for now and for the future,” Judith Dutton concludes, including a return to their home theater in April 2023.



The Duttons

WHEN — With shows at 2 & 8 p.m. select days through Dec. 14

WHERE — Yakov’s Theatre, 470 Missouri 248 in Branson

COST — $12-$41.50

INFO — 417-332-2772 or

Categories: Music