I was talking to a very good friend of mine the other day and somehow, we got on the topic of dinner theater. She commented that the chances of a show at a dinner theater being bad are very likely.
I’ve only been to one dinner theater, the CandleLight Pavilion in Claremont, California. If you’re curious what I was doing at theater in the Inland Empire, I have relatives that live there.
The production in question was of “Dreamgirls,” which I think is sorely under appreciated. At the moment, I thought it wasn’t that great. But that might have been my displeasure with the quiche I had.* I do remember the performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” very vividly and I remember some of it seeming a bit muddled, no doubt the result of the the directing. The show itself, the music and the script, seem to move together very flawlessly. I don’t remember all of the show, since there have been quite a bit of years in between then and now. But the more I thought about the show, the more I liked it.
Which is much better than the times where the more I think about a show, the more I dislike it. Or the shows that are like having sex drunk: when you see it, it seems wonderful, but when you wake up the next morning you realize how terrible it was.
Dinner theater is like any theater venue. Community theater gets a bad rap as having substandard actors who forget their lines and they only do cheap shows, “Tuesdays With Morrie,” and “The Odd Couple.” I personally know that isn’t true and I’ve seen some small, low budget shows that have been better than big, expensive Broadway shows. High school theater has a worse rap, but Cedar Falls High School’s production of “Guys and Dolls” was fantastic. The food might be subpar at dinner theater, but there is the chance that a play might be good.
*My sister once suggested to me that I would review shows better if I ate before I went to see a show I had to review. I’ve now taken to eating before reviewing shows which has caused me to be very angry at an employee at a Hy-Vee when I needed a salad, gotten hit on by my companion, had to wait twenty minutes for my check at a restaurant, while eating terrible creme brulee, making me almost miss the curtain and eating at an Arbys while dressed very professionally. I’ve decided to now only eating before evening performances in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.