Dinner Theatre

Dinner Theatre is a format that caters usually to elderly patrons. The building will be both a restaurant and theatre. In some places food is served during the show, others it's served beforehand.

At conventional dinner theaters, the plays chosen tend to be The Musical, or other Lowest Common Denominator crowd-pleasing fare. Another take comes in the form of original spectacles in custom-built arenas designed to entertain family crowds, such as the Real Life Medieval Times chain. A popular variation has been to mix dinner theater with LARP Murder Mystery theatre, where the audience takes part in the proceedings to solve the crime. Alternatively, the show is set up as an event that encourages mingling between audience and actors, a concept pioneered by Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding in The '80s.

In fiction, this is usually portrayed as the lowest job an actor can get.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Joan Hess's The Murder at the Murder at the Mimosa Inn takes place during an all-weekend Murder Mystery event, which includes Dinner Theater performances for the "crime", investigation updates, and denouement.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the episode "Hollywood Babylon" of Supernatural, a character named Gerard St. James is playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.
    Gerard St. James: Speaking of, I'm playing Willy in a dinner theater production of Salesman at Costa Mesa, all next month. (He hands Dean a flyer) You get a free pepper steak with the coupon.
  • One episode of Saturday Night Live featured Chris Farley as an actor playing the victim in a cheesy murder mystery play ("Eeny Meeny Miny Murder, Catch a Killer in the Mansion of Flurder"). Because his parents were in the audience, he overplayed his death scene, outright refusing to die so he could keep on overacting, eventually driving everyone away.
  • The Golden Girls Has an episode ("The Case of the Libertine Belle") that fits this trope. The gang is treated to a Murder Mystery Dinner Party at an upscale bed and breakfast. The twist: The first mystery is a decoy. Blanche unwittingly takes part in the second act. Hilarity Ensues
  • Part of the backstory in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Gets Drunk" reveals that Monk ruined a murder mystery theater weekend by solving the mystery in the first twelve minutes, causing the organizers to have to refund all the guests.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The 2004 Official Transformers Collectors Convention had planned a Transformers-themed LARP Murder Mystery-style dinner event titled "Who Shot Optimus Prime?" featuring Autobot detective Nightbeat, but because the hosting entertainment company wanted more money to change their format than the convention organizers could afford, those attending the event got the generic DEATH BY CHOCOLATE starring Detective Harry Bottoms instead. But, at least the attendees got Optimus Prime and Megatron posters signed by Peter Cullen and Frank Welker along with their meal, so the night wasn't a total loss.

Alternative Title(s): Dinner Theater

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DinnerTheatre