Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dinner and a Show

This blurry instagram picture has nothing to do with this post, but I like to look at things that are refreshing and delicious.

It's been my lifelong dream to attend an evening of dinner theatre. I know this is a strange, and kind of tacky dream. When I was a child in the early '80s dinner theatre was a big thing, with D-list stars like Jamie Farr or Joyce DeWitt coming to town to star in productions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum or Damn Yankees. It seemed glamorous to me. As I grew older it seemed delightfully bizarre.

Now, I don't want to come across as one of those jerks who likes to go and laugh at people with less than sophisticated taste as they pay big money to see questionable theatre productions. I actually really enjoy things that are on the earnest and even pedestrian side. My husband claims that I really like things that I know are bad, but not in an ironic way. I like tribute bands, I like musical ice shows, I like karaoke. I knew I was going to love dinner theatre.

So when my sweet husband saw a groupon for a Madonna impersonator at our city's most prestigious dinner theatre go on sale ON MY BIRTHDAY, he jumped at the chance to buy four tickets. It seemed like a no brainer -- a combo of dinner theatre, a tribute band, and a seafood buffet! So we hired a baby sitter, put on our best clothes (dinner theatre has a dress code), and dragged two friends along.

This is where I should point out that if a theatre production needs to hock tickets through groupon, there might be a problem.

Anyway, we tucked into our buffet dinner and ordered a round of double "Stargaritas." We were primed to see Madonna, she came out with her average looking back-up band and a couple of back up dancers. It wasn't great, but our expectations were low. "Madonna" stepped off stage for a costume change, came back for another number, and then announced to the audience that her back-up band was comprised of members of Canadian '80s hair-pop band Platinum Blonde! A quick Google image search confirmed this, although it should be noted that singer Mark Holmes was certainly not present.

So, Madonna steps back off stage, and then Platinum Blonde launched into Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me." Then they did Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl." Then U2's "With or Without You." By the time they got to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing'" we began to fear that it was only a matter of minutes before we were subjected to Don McLean's "American Pie." And where the hell was "Madonna," anyway? My friend went to inquire at the front desk and was told that "Madonna" hurt her voice and may or may not be back. When my other friend marched to the desk to demand our money back (and I will tell you, dinner theatre is not cheap), we were told that we'd have to go through Groupon for that, but that they would pay for our two rounds of Stargaritas.

Okay, free Stargaritas isn't the worst deal in the world. Madonna did come back to hoarsely hobble her way through "Material Girl," and according to some Facebook research she did three more songs during the second hour-long set, but we left at intermission and went to a swanky lounge for a round of nice drinks (after all, we'd saved so much on the Stargaritas). And Groupon did refund our $200 for the tickets without any questions (excellent customer service btw). So all was good. But I still want to take the theatre's offer of giving us "premium seating" on our next visit if Joyce DeWitt ever returns to town.

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