I do posts here on MBIP at least once a week about going out to dinner and I’ve done a few about going to the theatre, but I’ve never done one about going to dinner and then going to the theatre. Well we now make a bold new move as we proudly present today’s post: The MBIP Thursday Night Dinner Theatre!
Dinner @ Lariat Steakhouse
I thought we’d have a pre-theatre dinner here at the Lariat Steakhouse. It’s certainly an iconic Peoria restaurant and it’s been standing here on Glen Avenue for over eight decades! You can read about the history of the Lariat right here. And check out the couple heading in the door, they’re tonight’s special guest stars. Keep on scrolling to find out their identities!
There’s the owner of the Lariat, Dan Kouri greeting us as we enter. He’s a great guy and he and his family have been running this place for years! There’s the colorfully lit-up bar over there, but tonight we’re going to the dining room. I love the dining room in here because it’s really dark and has a nice atmosphere. And as we settle into a booth for the evening meal, the identity of the secret guest stars are revealed: It’s none other than my parents, Anne and Jerry!
There they are opposite me in the booth and that’s Susie our waitress posing behind them. She’s really friendly and funny and gave us great service, in fact here’s bread and the first course already! My dad got the house salad, my mom got the French Onion soup and I got the homemade chicken noodle soup, which they always offer on Thursdays and it’s the best chicken noodle soup in town. Check out the last photo as Jerry polishes off my mom’s soup! That happens every time we eat here!
I told you Susie was a great waitress, here’s our dinner entrees! My mom got a chicken breast served over rice and vegetables and my dad got baked chicken. And there they are digging in to their dinner. I got the bacon-wrapped shrimp and my favorite thing about these is when you’re done you have a sharp skewer in your possession. I always thought I’d love to have this and ask someone at the table how their dinner was and have that person reply: “It sure beats a sharp stick in the eye.” And then I’d repeatedly stab that person in the eye while screaming, “Like this? Like this?” Of course this never happens, but hey, I can dream, can’t I?
After dinner Susie took a picture of us and this concludes the dinner portion of the evening! We're now headed down Sterling Avenue and soon it'll be time for...
Theatre! Corn Stock Theatre Presents: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Directed by Chip Joyce
Here we are at the Corn Stock Theatre in Bradley Park. Let’s go in and see what’s going on in here!
I’m early (as always) but people have started showing up already. I’ve heard they’ve been selling out shows here for this production, so if you plan on going this weekend, call and make a reservation to insure your seats! That’s Josh behind the counter selling the tickets for the evening and taking a second to pose for the MBIP Camera while flashing a great smile!
Here’s the man who’s not only directing this production tonight, but he also did the set design! It’s the hardest working man in the world of Peoria Theatre, Chip Joyce! Chip is pointing to a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who’s the subject matter of tonight’s play/musical.
Along with the portrait of Andrew Jackson are pictures of the cast members with their favorite animal friend! This is a fun way to meet and read about the cast before the play springs into action.
Check out the kitchen area over here...snacks! There’s soft drinks, coffee and cookies for the pre-theatre munchies. Manning the snack and kitchen area is Liz Scoville who’s an Associate Editor at Peoria Magazines. Great to see her again!
You can’t take pictures during the play, but Chip said I could take a few before showtime, so let’s go into the theatre and take a look around. The set for this play is really cool. It’s got an urban, historical punk rock feel to it, which goes along with the theme of this musical play. I love the defaced historical portraits and check out the horse dangling from the ceiling, I kept worrying it was going to fall from there and land on my head.
As I just mentioned, this play is a musical and there’s a live band accompanying the singing. Here’s the band area on the stage and this is really an elaborate set-up! I’m really getting excited to see this production!
Well, I don’t have long to wait, the seats are full and the signs are lit, it’s just about...
As I said earlier, taking pictures or video is not allowed during the show, but Chip got me some photos that the cast members have taken during productions. This was an unbelievable stage show here in Peoria. I really doubt there’s been anything like it before and I doubt there will be anything like it afterwards either! It’s R-rated for language and bawdy humor and it’s kind of like watching a history lesson that’s been spiked with equal parts acid, dark humor and great rock and roll songs performed live by the cast and the house band. I was amazed how this loopy and funny history of Andrew Jackson mimics what’s happening in today’s political atmosphere. I kept expecting someone with a bad hairdo and orange skin to jump up out of their seat and scream: “Fake News!” If you’ve never seen a local theatre production, this is the one to cut your teeth on! If you’re a regular in the theatre scene here in Peoria, don’t miss this, you may never see another production like this in our town again! I really enjoyed it and was blown away by all the local talent here in Peoria. Bravo to everyone involved in this impressive and elaborate musical stage production!
It’s fun after the show because the actors come out and mingle with the audience and discuss the play. And of course they get hounded by the ever-present MBIP Camera!
Here’s some of the players in tonight’s production, in the top photo is Chip who directed this musical with his wife Jenny who's the choreographer and the dancing and stage action was unbelievable! Beneath them (no pun intended) is Jimmy LaHood who’s the bandleader for all the wonderful songs in the show (there’s over a dozen original tunes in this production.) Adam Sitton plays the title character, Andrew Jackson and he and all of the cast are incredible and really funny comedic actors. Sagan Drake plays Rachel in the musical and she had the coolest gravestone dress ever! And last, but not least is Trish Ballard who's the Storyteller and she really busts out some great comedic chops in this roll...I mean role! (You need to see the play to get that pun!) She’s pointing to make-up on her neck that alludes to my favorite line in the production: “You can’t shoot history in the neck!”
You may not be able to shoot history in the neck, buy you can sure turn it into a hilarious and lively musical play as I just found out this evening! Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson has just three curtain times left for the weekend, so make your reservations to go and check out this original and hilarious stage production!
Remaining Show Dates: Friday (tonight), February 17 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, February 18 at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinee, February 19 at 2:30 pm.
1700 N. Park Road (Located in Upper Bradley Park)