LIVING LOCAL | Derby Dinner Playhouse taps into guests' appetite - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LIVING LOCAL | Derby Dinner Playhouse taps into guests' appetites and imaginations

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What makes Kentuckiana unique? Is it the food? What about people or places? Each Thursday on WDRB News at 11 p.m., we'll take a look at the people, places and things that make Kentuckiana special in our weekly series, “Living Local.”

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- If you're looking to soak up a little culture, you don't have to go all the way to New York or Great White Way.

The Derby Dinner Playhouse has called Clarksville, Ind., home for four decades. Owner Bekki Jo Schneider is tantalizing guests' appetites as well as their imaginations.

"We are the fourth-largest dinner theater in the country," Schneider said. "The closest one north is in Indianapolis. The closest one south is in Nashville. So there's none in Kentucky."

Diners can dive into an assortment of tempting treats -- fried chicken and fish plus, all the sides and salad you can eat.

"The fish is very, very good," Gordon Seiffert said. "But the rest is quite good. Never had a bad meal."

You might think the meal is the best part, but no. After dinner, guests can kick back, maybe grab a glass of wine, dessert and wait for the lights to go down.

After dinner, there's a pre-show, followed by the big production, which is often a Broadway musical or comedy.

Last week it was Hallelujah Girls, a story about a group of southern women who turned a church into a day spa.

There are no walls, doors or a curtain to rise. It's just you, the stage and the performers.

"If you have fine actors, good costumes, nice lighting, they all seem to buy it," Schneider said. "It all seems to work, and they're touched better than being in the 27th row in the back somewhere."

"I love the live theater part of it," said Mary Jo Payne, a teacher who often brings her students to the plays. "It's one of the few cities that has something of this quality. And they're very wonderfully produced."

There are as many as a dozen shows a week, 363 days a year. There's even a children's theater.

"It's good entertainment, and it's good food and a good night out," Seiffert said.

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