In Praise Of Dinner Theater

Categories: Theater

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I used to look down on dinner theater in my uptight city slicker way, but nowadays I'm givin' in!

After all, it brings stagecraft to the midland masses, and to coerce them to come and enjoy a show, it provides dinner too.

And the food serving stops well before showtime, so the performers aren't hindered by clanking silverware and slurping noises.

And there are some talented people out there.

I just saw Annie Get Your Gun at the Dutch Apple Theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and it was nicely pulled off by a spirited cast.

Jessica Humphrey brings spunk to the part of Annie (and it's great to finally see someone young do the part) and Kyle Hester has creamy vocals and suavity as Frank Butler.

And Matthew Schmidt (Running Deer/Ensemble) spotted me in the audiece and tweeted about it!

What's more, the London broil, pulled pork, baked chicken, pasta, salad bar, and ice cream table all deserve bravos.

Congrats to Dutch Apple for a well run operation that brings out lovers of shows and serving trays alike.

Get over your snobbery and give it a whirl. It's better than Mamma Mia!--and did I mention you get dinner?

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9 comments
PJDammit
PJDammit

Why would a young actor turn their nose up at ANY theatre work? Are you really that phenomenal that you can pick and choose the work?

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Musto, I have pictured you in many places, but the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater in Lancaster, PA ain't one of therm.

I am really curious -- no joke -- HOW did this happen?

Did you know a cowpoke in the cast? (Heavy on the poke.)

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

Thanks for that Michael, I really thought dinner theater had died a decade or two ago. 

I too got my start in dinner theater back in the '80's...we lived in dorms in the same building as well...if you weren't in the show, you waited tables, which wasn't bad since we didn't get paid lots of money.

Rob in Philly
Rob in Philly

I performed a lot of dinner theatre in the 1990's.  We called it "Stuff and Stare".  If a dinner theater had good food, people were very full and unresponsive/comatose.  If the food was mediocre/bad, the  audience expected more from the show and were more lively.  At one place, the host would make an announcement and then the curtain would rise to reveal the buffet.  It got decent applause most nights.  

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

This sounds very adventurous and fun. I will check out the pricing.

Liz
Liz

Congrats on expanding your horizons--and waistline.

Musto
Musto

Well, they had food and a show...so I was there.

Dave, Ops Mgr BDT
Dave, Ops Mgr BDT

That sounds like one of The Barn Dinner Theatres Savannah. Our location in Greensboro, NC & one in Nashville are the two remaining of 27 in the chain back in the heyday of the 70's. We are very much still around folks, with over 50,000 guests each year in our 262 seat in-the-round dinner theatre. There are dozens of quality dinner theatres across the country, many of them can be found through the National Dinner Theatre Association's website www.ndta.us Thanks to Mr. Musto, he's right, if you haven't tried it, you have no idea how much fun you're missing. We offer tuxedo service and professional actors, (they no longer do double duty here) in a very relaxed environment. The Greensboro Barn Dinner Theatre has been providing the best Dinnertainment in the Southeast since 1964. MILLIONS of visitors have enjoyed the dinner theatre experience, try it! www.barndinner.com

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