Dinner Theater is a form of entertainment that originated in Spain. It combined the fun of staged plays along with a restaurant meal. The main components of the dinner theater are food, staged plays and sometimes alcohol. During the medieval times, this was an essential form of entertainment as it brought people of all forme’s together.
Dinner theaters came into existence in the United States of America in the year 1953. It took place in a very formal way where the food would be served in one room, and the play would take place in another room. During the medieval times, dinner theater also took place in schools and churches and would usually be in a comedic style. The meals were divided into three parts each along with its musical play or stage drama. Here are a few prominent dinner theaters that were present during the medieval times
1) Barksdale Theater-
Barksdale Theater came into existence in the year 1953. It was the first professional dinner theater and was started by David and Nancy Kilgore in Richmond, Virginia. People would come from far of places to watch plays thus keeping this in mind a small restaurant was opened in the adjoining room making it into a dinner theater.
2) Drury Lane Theater-
This was the first of the six dinner theaters that were started by Tony DeSantis. At first, he began producing plays in 1949 near a restaurant to attract customers. This was a great success and helped him build his first theater called Drury Lane Theater. Toney DeSantis helped in spreading the wave of dinner theaters in the United States of America. Drury Lane Theater started its operations in the year 1976 and was later sold to Marriott Lincolnshire Resort and changed to Marriott Theater.
3) Meadowbrook Theater Restaurant-
Meadowbrook Theater Restaurant was started in the year 1960 and was located in New Jersey. It consisted of 700+ seats of table service and was the second dinner theater to be opened in the United States of America. It ran successfully for 13 years and later shut down due to the rise in competition from Broadway and the Actor’s Equity Association.
4) Candlelight Theater Restaurant-
This is one of the most prominent theaters as it was the first one to serve dinner and showcase theater in the very same room. Bill Pullinsi founded Candlelight Theater Restaurant, and it is located in Chicago. Candlelight Theater Restaurant was the first modern dinner theater which comprised of the hydraulic stage, wagons on wheels and new age lighting equipment located in the mezzanine.
Medieval times dinner theater gained a lot of importance a few years ago. Restaurants where replacing their televisions with live role-play dramas. The trend began form USA and spread all across the globe. Parts of Europe still primarily follow the dinner theater form of entertainment. They showcase historical events that were of great significance.