aka: Dinner Theater
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.
- Soapdish has Kevin Kline's washed-up character performing Death of a Salesman at a Dinner Theatre. His audience is divided between the oblivious and the uninterested.
- At the beginning of Shrek the Third, Prince Charming is reduced to performing dinner theater to an unappreciative audience who cheer Shrek (who is supposed to be the villain in the play) instead of him.
- The film Auto Focus recreates Bob Crane having to make do with these kind of theatre roles to make ends meet, after Hogan's Heroes ends.
- The Cable Guy takes his increasingly reluctant buddy to an outpost of Medieval Times and they wind up duking it out Star Trek style in the arena itself.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bob's Burgers: The episode "Hamburger Dinner Theater".
- King of the Hill had "Abracapasta", a dinner theatre specializing in magic.
- In an episode of Chowder, Shnitzel plays a tree in Mung Daal's dinner theater.
- On The Simpsons:
- Krusty The Klown also appeared in King Lear at the Springfield Dinner Theatre. Homer, a restaurant critic at the time, thought the food wasn't near so hammy as the acting. (It didn't help that Krusty didn't know it was a tragedy.)
- The family also went to a magic-themed dinner theater.
- Dan Vs.. has an episode called "Dan Vs. Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre".