Posted November 3, 2014
#EquityWorks: 5 Questions with Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
About to wrap up its 41st season, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis, IN is already prepped for its 42nd year. Artistic Director Eddie Curry and Executive Director Doug Stark answer our five questions about the theatre’s background and what’s next.
Tevye (Douglas E. Stark), the milkman, sits on his cart for a moment surrounded by his five daughters in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s current production of Fiddler on the Roof, on stage through Nov. 23.
Q: Why has it been important to be an Equity theatre?
A: Actors' Equity Association means quality and credibility. Being an Equity producing theatre is important because it gives us credibility and access to actors dedicated to making a career out of performing. These actors have made sacrifices and built résumés that ensure, for us, the quality that we expect to see in all of our productions.
Q: What can audiences and Equity members look forward to in the 42nd season?
A: We are currently concluding our 41st season with a production of Fiddler on the Roof, in celebration of the show’s 50th Anniversary. We will present our 22nd annual holiday production: A Beef & Boards Christmas, starting right after Thanksgiving and continuing through Dec. 23. We open our 42nd season with the comedy The Odd Couple, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015. Next, we’ll celebrate everything Gershwin with Crazy For You, followed by our premiere production of The Drowsy Chaperone. Our 2015 Family Show is Peter Pan, and the Singing Sanders Family returns for our faith-based summer show: Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific is next on our stage, and the main stage season wraps up with our debut production of The Addams Family in October.
Q: Who are the Pyramid Players?
A: The Pyramid Players present our Live Theatre for Kids productions each season. This series has two shows annually that are one hour in length. The Players are currently presenting Sleeping Beauty. We find that our audiences love these shows as a way to introduce their little ones to live theatre – plus the kids get to meet the actors after the show. It’s important, as a theatre, to nurture future audiences and the Pyramid Players’ Live Theatre for Kids series is our way of doing that.
Q: What has Beef & Boards come to mean to the surrounding community?
A: We’re a place for local artists to work closely with seasoned veterans who have Broadway and touring experience. Also, family: People feel welcome and a part of the theatre, which is true for the staff as well. We also offer our theatre to a non-denominational, inclusive church, which holds its services here every Sunday morning. Finally, we have a reputation for providing a good meal and a great show.
Q: Having just celebrated your 40th anniversary season, what has been some of the biggest hurdles the theatre has overcome?
A: Some of the hurdles we’ve faced include the absence of art, music and theatre in our school systems. We now have to not only entertain, but introduce our art to the next generation, as well as the aging of our audience and the perception that theatre is “just for old people.” Another challenge is the evolution of news sources from print to digital. And finally, being in an endeavor that combines two of the riskiest businesses: restaurant and theatre.