Theatre Restaurant Style Comedies
Thank you for reading the 2012 DSP Guide to Theatre Restaurant.
At the bottom of this email Judith Prior offers handy hints to staging them.
Judith Prior remains Australia's most popular writer of this genre.
Her number one title is Jest at the West , her original classic is Phantom of the Music Hall and Outback Debutante's Ball pictured here is ever popular.
New Release: Love or Lassos
Leo Regan ( pictured here in the middle ) sure knows how to shoot from the hip.
He wrote the comedy Love or Lassos and was the first star!
Follow the adventures of our hero Rock Hard as he battles against the villainy of Whiley J Whiplash who will do anything to get his hands on the Lazy J Saloon bar.
Read the sample script and see the Youtube video on the link above.
New Release: Silly Old Buggers
The hit production of the 2009 Melbourne Comedy Festival.
“A delicious look at aging. A warm, poignant and very amusing blend of songs and pithy dialogue performed by a talented cast. I highly recommend the show for all age groups!” Alan Fletcher, ‘Neighbours’ actor.
Cast of 4. Read the script and see the Youtube Video here.
Warning: Stiff is very hard to re'hearse'
I had the pleasure of recently meeting April Phillips the writer of the hit black comedy Stiff near her home town in New Zealand.
I told her how much trouble an Australian theatre company had during rehearsals.
The cast found the play so funny many struggled to keep a straight face.
Daryl Peebles classics
Tasmanian writer Daryl Peebles has served up two comedies which would suit theatre restaurant.
Firstly Barbecue which gives you great scope for the menu.
Or if your audience fancies a bit of classic Irish humour why not set up your theatre for Shenanigan's Wake.
DSP now has two plays which will make your audience literally take off.
This is Your Captain Speaking by Cenarth Fox is a comedy, panto, musical, movie and circus rolled into one. Your audience moves around the simple set from the busy terminal through customs and onto the plane. They get to sing-along and cope with a short-sighted pilot and ’different’ passengers.
In the same style check out High Hopes.
You can fly even higher in a galaxy far far away.
Your audience can dress up if they please to attend Hyperspace: The Totally Unauthorised Star Wars Parody.
Written and composed by Peter Novakovich, this is available as a one act musical - giving your cast the chance to mingle and entertain your guests.
Or as a double science fiction feature with Warp Drive: The Totally Unauthorised Star Trek Parody.
Comedies by Devon Williamson
Also newly released are small cast comedies by Devon Williamson.
Available now are the hilarious
Menopause Made Me Do It.
My Husband's Nuts.
and Crazy Ladies.
Murder Mystery and Farce
Or if other styles tickle your fancy you can preview
Shaz and Nick's Big Greek Wedding .
Remain Seated - a murder mystery set in a theatre.
Don't Get Your Vicars in Twist. ...as you would imagine.
Stand and Deliver - set in a maternity ward.
Boy's Own McBeth - a musical comedy set in a 1980's school.
How to stage a Theatre Restaurant Production.
Judith Prior gives some tips.
Theatre Restaurant can be a real money-spinner for your organization.
Not only are these shows simple to stage and costume, they are relatively inexpensive to produce. The relaxed atmosphere of dinner and a show attracts a much wider audience, including many who may not regularly attend mainstream theatre. People will gladly form large parties to attend a dinner show. Ticket sales can be presold and are not reliant on walk up theatregoers. With a little club publicity, shows will book out early.
Corporate dinners, end of year office break up parties etc. allow us to present our theatre piece to many possible aspiring thespians. New members can be recruited from these audiences, or from catering staff or volunteers and other service group members involved in the production. What a great way to swell the membership of your theatre group. Involve the whole community.
Offering to share the food or bar take with another organization, e.g. Local Lions or Rotary club, Golf Club or other sporting body, increases your community involvement and ensures a larger audience. This also delegates some of the responsibility of the production to others who in turn generate more audience from their network of workmates, friends and families.
Audience participation is a must for Theatre Restaurant productions. Musical involvement, either taped or with a live band, backing tapes or just a single musician will enhance the production and help to involve the audience. APRA licensing for interpolated music is not expensive or difficult to obtain but you must apply early.
With dinner and a few drinks, your audience is going to want to sing along, or at least sit back and listen to music that is familiar to them. Many old hit parade songs may be used with APRA licensing, and a lot of great music is also now available royalty free, as Public Domain.
If you have small towns close by, Theatre Restaurant is ideal for touring. Many hotels or clubs will let you have their venues free, even sell the tickets in advance for you, for a small percentage of the ticket price. They will then provide the catering and drinks for your production.
The meal content of the show may be as lavish as a three course meal in licensed premises, or as simple as finger food, fish and chips, or pizza and BYO drinks, even just nibblies, cheese and crackers and BYO drinks, in a local hall.
Many theatre groups all over Australia and New Zealand stage at least one of these productions every year. Consistently these shows are the main money-spinners for their organizations. Profits made from these productions enable financing of more challenging and prestigious theatre pieces.
If your group has never staged a Theatre Restaurant before, I urge you to consider one for your end of year production. If not for this year, start planning one for next year. If you have already performed a Theatre Restaurant, I know I don’t have to tell you just how successful they are.