By PAM HARBAUGH
A dear gentleman and talented director whom I’ve known for a long time, Jon Putzke (he directed the very artful Encore Alley theater in Vero Beach), told me I just had to get down to Vero Beach to see his current theater endeavor, the THEATRE-G0-ROUND dinner theater, which performs Sundays to packed houses at the Quilted Giraffe restaurant.
It had been ages since I’d been to a dinner theater. The last time was the old Golden Apple Dinner Theater in Sarasota. Before that, I do believe it was Musicana in Indian Harbour Beach. If you remember that one, then you’ve been around here for a long time. (P.S. Mr. Putzke worked for Musicana.)
So, no….dinner theater is not my normal “go-to” cultural thing. But am I glad I went to Theatre-Go-Round.
First, I must say that the restaurant at which it is housed is quite the surprise. It looks pretty modest from the outside. A little sign saying “Quilted Giraffe” stands in front of an old citrus packing house with something that looks like a skinny little porch running the length of the building’s front. It looks exquisitely unboastful, shall we say. But then, you walk in and oh my…old world elegance pops up complete with faux foliage, twinkling lights and a few Christmas ornaments. Not as much as in the Russian Tea Room in NYC, but nevertheless reveling in all their quirky splendor. The restaurant has been designed with an enthusiastic brush. In fact, it reminded me of some of the out of the way establishments I’ve visited in Germany.
You are greeted by a maitre d’s station and then an appealing intimate dining room and finally a larger dining room. And oh, my, the cuisine. Really, for a place where a waitstaff had to get out dinners to a whole sold-out room filled with hungry theater goers…the three-course meal (choices were beef, fish or veggie) was as good as you’d get in a fine dining restaurant sans a live show. In fact, it was so good, my husband and I have already made plans to return to the restaurant during the week just to enjoy its very impressive menu (click here to see a sample).
The cherry on top was the show — “Between the Moon and New York City — celebrating the cabaret life and times of Peter Allen.” Written and arranged by Mr. Putzke, the musical revue featured three talented performers, the amazing Beth McKenzie-Shestak, terrific Gregory Harris and charismatic Brendan Wenger. These three singers entertained thoroughly, making the one-hour show go by in a flash. The diners clapped along, brightened when a performer would walk to their side, and took enough video to make their own TV special.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the show because it’s all sold out! But I do want to make sure you put Theatre-Go-Round on your to-do list. It makes for a lovely night out. Next is “Take Me Back to Manhattan” which runs March 6 to May 22 on select Sundays. Tickets are $55 which includes show, tax and gratuity and a three course gourmet dinner. Here’s a link to their website. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date about what’s being offered.
It makes me wonder, though…don’t you think Brevard could use a dinner theater of its own? Do you think we have the audience for one? I certainly do.