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updated: 9/1/2011 3:24 PM

Dinner theater comes to Fox Valley Park District

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  • Stephanie Leo and Joe Rigaud, who played the lead roles in the Park District's recent rendition of "The King and I," will have a prominent presence in next Saturday's dinner-theater celebration of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music.

      Stephanie Leo and Joe Rigaud, who played the lead roles in the Park District's recent rendition of "The King and I," will have a prominent presence in next Saturday's dinner-theater celebration of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music.
    Courtesy of Fox Valley Park District

 
 

"All-inclusive" is a really inviting term. It usually entails everything, like the one-price-for-all-amenities honeymoon that offers the happy newlyweds airfare, lodging, meals and activities.

All they have to do is show up and enjoy.

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The Fox Valley Park District was thinking along those lines -- albeit on a smaller scale -- with an event next weekend that brings dining, entertainment and enjoyment together as one.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, a group of 27 talented performers will take to the stage for a full-throated celebration of the Andrew Lloyd Webber's music. But that's just part of the medley. Lunch and dessert also are included to deliver a dinner-theater experience at the Prisco Community Center.

"People really enjoy seeing a show and being taken care of," said Kyle Donahue, performing arts supervisor. "That's what we want to deliver -- an atmosphere where guests enjoy a good meal, then sit back, relax and take in a great musical show."

That may be an understatement. Just the name -- Andrew Lloyd Webber -- is instantly recognizable. Turn the music on, and nearly everybody is greatly familiar with his work.

Webber is commonly referred to as the most commercially successful composer in history. He has composed 13 musicals, several of which have run for more than a decade on Broadway. His most well-known compositions include "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita," "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera."

The performers who will be interpreting his famous music went through an audition process in early August and have been rehearsing ever since. The show will be song-intensive, with several full songs planned. But mostly, it's a montage of excerpts from Webber's biggest blockbusters with a narrative of his life woven in throughout.

It will be visually stunning, too.

"The set will feature a lot of different levels," said Donahue, "with a variety of images and icons from Webber's many shows."

Adding a personal touch, the performers will mingle with the audience before the show, helping serve up a delicious array of lunch items.

Lunch -- or "dinner-theater" as it is in this case -- will consist of Italian beef and baked chicken along with macaroni salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls and beverages. Act One will commence after lunch, with a dessert break before Act Two.

The meal is served at noon, with the performance scheduled to hit the stage around 1 p.m. and run until 3 p.m.

Tickets are available at any Park District community center and must be purchased by 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, and are priced at $10 for resident, $15 for nonresidents. Tickets will not be available at the door.

"Dinner-theater is always a memorable experience," said Donahue, "and that's what we intend this to be."

Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at jlong@fvpd.net.

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