Dinner Theater in the Making

From the desk of Glenn Ballard:

“So, what’s all the hype about a ‘Dinner Theatre?’ I mean, what is a ‘Dinner Theatre’ anyway?”  Well, if you are new to the Brook Hill community or if maybe you have just been preoccupied with other things for the past few years, you may not know what all the talk is about. But in just five weeks the award-winning Theatre Department will present its 15th annual fall dinner theatre; a first-class three course meal that will impress the most discriminating palate, served at tables decorated to achieve a most special ambiance, followed by a hilarious full-length play that will charm you and make you laugh out loud — over and over again. And the best part is that you can have it all right here in Bullard Texas. You don’t have to drive to Dallas or Austin or Houston for a high-class dinner theatre experience.

I am very proud of the reputation our drama program has earned. People that have attended our shows over the past 15 years consistently say that the performances on the Brook Hill stage are superior in every way to other theatres in the region. We select some of the best plays –  by contemporary playwrights and from the classics – and we have been able to put together some very strong casts. Our sets and costumes produce rave reviews. It is not uncommon for folks to compare our work to professional touring productions and to shows they have seen at area colleges.  And the meal? Well, the food is top notch! Every year the dinner faire just keeps amazing our patrons. This is a traditional event here at Brook Hill that you simply do not want to miss.

On October 17, 18 and 19 the Brook Hill Theatre Department and SOFA will proudly present a play by Frankston native, Pat Cook, the fifteenth play in a string of very successful annual dinner theatre productions. The play is a comedy called “You Can’t Get There From Here.” It features BH veteran actor Kelsey Kilgore appearing in her fourth (and final) Brook Hill dinner theatre. The show also features seniors Caleb Wagner and Jazmen Jones, both in their first dinner theatre shows; Claire Dixon, Allie Childers and Sheri Russell appearing in their second dinner theatre productions; and a newcomer to the Brook Hill big stage, freshman Kyle Webb.

Putting together a successful show, especially doing it year after year, requires several things. As the director, I generally read dozens of plays every summer looking for the script that best fits the group of student actors that I expect will want to participate. I take into consideration the gender and level of experience of every actor. I also consider the kind of literature our audience will appreciate. I want to expose my cast and my patrons to a variety of dramatic literature and performance styles. And then there are the rehearsals. Hundreds of man-hours are committed to practice before the curtain goes up on opening night.

One of the challenges that I most enjoy about directing young actors is that very often the emotional demands of the play are far beyond the life experience of the actors playing the roles. So my job is to coach them and help them create believable characters that are often very different from the actor’s own personality.

And the payoff? There are many. But perhaps the most gratifying part of the job is seeing the smile on an actor’s face when they take their bow at the curtain call and the crowd is applauding for them wildly; or to watch them mingle with the patrons after a performance and to hear people sincerely say, “Amazing! You were incredible! I loved it;” or to have a student hug me and say, “That was the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life! Thank you!”

That is awesome.

Tickets go on sale soon. Save the date!