Spire Theater To Host Vaudeville Dinner Theater
A classic form of entertainment originating in a bygone era will make its long overdue return to Jamestown in back-to-back weekend performances.
The Spire Theater and Big Time Productions will present Vaudeville Dinner Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, as well as Friday, Oct. 20, and Sat. Oct. 21, in which the once premier entertainment platform will be revived for modern audiences.
Chiefly popular across the U.S. in the early 20th century, vaudeville typically featured a mixture of specialty acts such as burlesque comedy and song and dance. Some of the early Hollywood film stars to emerge in the following decades began their careers as vaudeville performers.
According to Angelo Giuffre, event coordinator and director for Big Time Productions, the theater company that he co-owns with his wife, Ylsa, was heavily inspired by vaudeville, and he felt it was time to bring some of those entertainment forms back to Jamestown.
“When Ylsa and I started Big Time Productions back in 2003, (vaudeville) is what we did; that was our act,” Giuffre said. “What I’ve always liked about vaudeville is that you didn’t have to be a ‘big time’ performer, or even have a day job, to make a living at it. If you were any good as a performer, you could get by in vaudeville. That’s how Ylsa and I started out and we thought that’s a genre that we’ve been missing out on for some time; so we figured now would be a good time to bring that back.”
Giuffre said Jamestown, at one point, was home to upward of a dozen different vaudevillian theaters, as that was the most universal and popular form of entertainment at its zenith; alluding to it as the TV of the early 20th century. The acts ranged from singing groups and comedians, to magic tricks and burlesque dancers — all of which will be presented, in family-friendly format, at the Spire.
“The point of vaudeville is that it was always a variety show, so there was something for everyone to enjoy,” he said. “For our show, we’re going to have some comedians and magicians, and we’ll even have a G-rated burlesque show with costumes styled after the era to go with the choreography.”
Tickets to the show are $28.50 each, and must be purchased at least 24 hour in advance online at in-spire.us. Tickets in groups of four can be purchased for $100. Attendees will also receive a chicken dinner and dessert to go with their tickets.
The performances will be staged at the Spire Theater’s Odyssey Hall, 317 E. Third St. For more information, visit spiretheater.org or in-spire.us, or find the event on Facebook.