Door County dinner theater is a many-splendored thing
BY WARREN GERDS (PRESS-GAZETTE)
JACKSONPORT - An ambitious new venture in theater in Door County has good things going for it. Here's a key one: The 70 or so people at Wednesday's performance of "Forever Plaid" gave the peppy musical a standing ovation.
That performance was one of 102 scheduled through Oct. 21.
One hundred two? You read right. It's the longest run of any show ever put on in these parts.
Door Off Broadway offers vacationers one more attraction on the growing schedule in the county. Wednesday's audience included people from as far away as Hawaii and as close as Baileys Harbor. Others came from Bloomingdale, Ill., Boston, Dallas, Pewaukee and Fond du Lac.
"Forever Plaid" is a light, fun show that brings back "guy groups" of the 1950s and '60s - and their sweet (and corny) harmony sound.
Door Off Broadway has a decent cast of four, with two backup musicians. Many synchronized moves and notes flow through such classic songs of the era as "Three Coins in a Fountain," "Sixteen Tons," "Heart and Soul," "Shangri-La" and "Love is a Many Splendored Thing."
Beneath the facade of their nerdy/geeky characters, the performers put together some swell cords. Tim Jay is terrific in "Cry" - the best solo of the show for its emotional energy.
What Door Off Broadway also has going is its physical setup. It's:
* In an established place, Mr. G's Ballroom. That means the food will be good - in the quality range of supper club fare. My prime rib was fine, indeed. Chicken and salmon dishes are other entreÉs that come with the dinner/show package. Coffee, wine, cocktails and dessert are extra.
* In a performance place. It's a spacious ballroom that could handle about 250 people for this show. Included are restrooms, a bar, a ticket office and a stage.
* Done up in showbizzy ways. The set is a fancy/gaudy lounge of the '50s era. Lights, sound, spot lights and a few special effects dress up the show in hoped-for ways.
Prime players in this venture are director and choreographer James A. Zimmerman, a theater professor, and Door County native Erik Sterling Quam, who chats with every diner and emcees the show.
With luck, the idea could last. It's put together well.