by Reagan O’Farrell
Waiters and waitresses scurry around taking drink orders and inquiring on the needs to those they are serving. People flood in through the entrance, taking up every table before filtering past each other to get to the extensive buffet before it closes for the night. The stage remains empty aside from a single, small Christmas tree in the center. People take pictures with their family and chat over their meals before the lights begin to dim.
Derby Dinner Playhouse is a very popular source of local entertainment. It provides an opportunity to relax and watch a quality musical while enjoying a large meal. This December, Derby Dinner Playhouse produced Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.
The food provided before the play began was warm and fresh. The main course had plenty of variety for people with all kinds of tastes, including a salad bar, mashed potatoes, green beans, fried chicken and fish, turkey and ham, bread, and more; and it didn’t run out despite the sheer number of people. Dessert was offered and could be served during either first or second intermission, though it is recommended that you choose the second. The brownie supreme and New York cheesecake were both delicious, and a perfect size to share with the family.
The waiters checked up often, and many of them were actually a part of the production. They were pleasant and added to the family environment. They also made sure that nobody felt rushed because of just how busy it was. They weren’t afraid to interact with everyone and made sure everyone was comfortable.
The pre-show entertainment, a group of well-practiced singers called the Footnotes, did a wonderful job. They didn’t take up much time, and their songs corresponded with the holiday theme of the musical. All the numbers were familiar and likable.
By the time the actual musical, White Christmas, started, everyone seemed to be in good spirits. This was only reinforced with the comical introduction which continued throughout the rest of the play. All of the actors stayed true to their roles. Bob Wallace (Jake Delaney) and Phil Davis (Matthew Brennan) were hilarious. The actors were not afraid to put themselves out there for the sake of comedy. Betty Haynes (Jillian Prefach) and Judy Haynes (Brittany Carricato Cox) added their own creative spark to the production. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and all of the minor characters were integrated within the story without seeming completely irrelevant to the play itself. The music and singing were great. Almost everyone had an obvious great deal of talent in song and dance. A few of the songs did seem to carry on for too long, and that did take away from the overall storyline. However, the musical did stay true to the time-tested story while nonetheless including its own creative flare of innovation.
Overall, it was definitely worth taking the time to go to the Derby Dinner Playhouse. With the great food and service, beautiful music, family atmosphere, and wonderful production, White Christmas will be a memory to cherish for anyone, and I would definitely recommend going to see the play.