Dinner Theatre Brings Back the 80s

Saturday night’s performance of Switched, an original play written by area resident Dominique Wilson, brought back “the greatest decade of music” in an entertaining story arc. The tale was something of an artistic medley of the Parent Trap and Jumanji set to a soundtrack (and wardrobe) straight out of the1980s.

The theater was relaxed and inviting with interaction between the cast and crowd encouraged throughout the performance. Dinner was served buffet style and cast members brought beverages and deserts to patrons while staying in character.

The Pretenders Playhouse opened back in December of 2012. It was the brainchild of Carla Wilson and her children: Deborah, Dominique, Dinah, Deidre, Daryl, and Darci. As their dance and gymnastic students advanced in age and skills they ran out of competitive options. “There wasn’t much around unless you wanted to join a company on one of the coasts,” remarked Deidre Wilson. “The dinner theatre was a way to give local talent a place to showcase their skills while offering the community a source of family friendly entertainment. We do 10-12 shows a year”.

The cast is volunteer based, and auditions are open to the community. This was Susie Budgett’s first time participating in a show though she has come to watch several performances in the past. “When I heard they were doing a show set in the 80s I knew I wanted to be a part of it.” Susie played Mrs. Snippet in Switched. She noted, “I was surprised how much work really goes into these. You just don’t know until you do it. But everyone just worked so well together, there were never harsh words, no arguments”.

According to Dominique, “Most of the people who volunteer are husband and wife couples and their children. We typically have 12-14 adults and 15-20 children in our performances”. This was 5-year old Eliza Shock’s debut. She played the part of a school kid in several scenes. Her favorite part was the song at the finale, “the part at the end with the clap, step, clap” she explained.

According to Director and Playwright Dominque Wilson inspiration for this show came from the cast itself. “They had been begging for a show about the 80’s for some time, Michael particularly.” When asked, Playhouse veteran, Michael Robinson just shrugged. Michael has an excellent voice and sang many of the nights cover songs.     The Pretenders Playhouse Dinner Theatre is a part of NW MO Academy of the Arts and is located at 10215 NW Old Highway 36.


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