Going on Faith

Spring 2017

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] 25 [ OHIO STAR THEATER ] SUGARCREEK, OHIO The new Ohio Star Theater is opening April 1 of this year in the heart of Ohio's Amish country, marking the theater's sixth season and its first in its new space. During its first five seasons, a hotel conference center served as the venue, with a stage surrounded by 187 banquet chairs on risers. Although the audi- ence was "just inches away from the actors," the company decided to "build an actual, state-of-the-art theater," said Vicki VanNatta, public relations coor- dinator for Dutchman Hospitality Group, the company that owns the theater and the neighboring restaurant and inn. And it will have a few more seats to fill — 512 on the sloped main floor and in the balcony — but the Guy Penrod concert on April 1 was already sold out as of this writing, as were two Mark Lowry performances scheduled for Labor Day weekend. The theater sits across the parking lot not 100 yards from Dutch Valley restaurant, Dutch Valley Market and the 69-room Carlilse Inn. For dinner, groups can enjoy Amish cooking during a family-style meal or at the all-you- can-eat Barn-Raising Buffet in the tradition of a church potluck. At the Dutch Valley Market, visitors can browse and buy an array of Amish goods, including cheeses, relishes, spreads, pickles and preserves. In addition to about 15 concerts throughout the year, the theater's sixth season will feature four live musicals, starting with "Home Game," which tells the story of an Amish boy who has a shot to play professional baseball. "The Confession," the first musical the company performed, will return to tell the story of an Amish girl who finds out she was adopted into an Amish family. "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" started as a blog, then became a one-act play and is now a full musical that tells the story of two Canadian Mennonite women who started a cooking blog. The theater will wrap up its season with the return of "Our Christmas Dinner," about a family that "gets caught up in all the wrong things at Christmas," VanNatta said. www.dhgroup.com/theater [ BEEF AND BOARDS DINNER THEATRE ] INDIANAPOLIS "With six, semicircular tiers wrapping around the stage at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis, "you're never far from our stage," said Patricia Rettig, director of marketing and media relations. The intimate setting allows the company to put on shows with "less flash and more heart" and allows actors to play with the space, she said. During a run of "Cats," the cats are out among the tables interacting with guests. "There's such an energy when you're really close to it and see their eyes and feel what they're feeling," Rettig said. The theater originally opened in 1973 as part of a chain, but the College Park location is the last remaining privately owned Beef and Boards theater. It can seat up to 450 people, depending on configuration. When guests arrive, they can fill their plates at the buffet, which is replaced by the stage about half an hour before curtain call. Beef and Boards puts on seven main-stage productions a year, and although classical musicals are its bread and butter, the theater is now incorporating more new productions. In the past, the theater has put on two newer shows each season to complement the classics; this season features four contempo- rary productions including "Shrek the Musical" and "Ghost the Musical," both based on their respective hit movies, and "Ring of Fire," a musical about the life of Johnny Cash. The theater has also mounted classic productions such as "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "My Fair Lady" and "West Side Story." "After a while, people have seen the shows that have been around, and they're ready for something new, all while still keeping those mainstay clas- sics," Rettig said. This year will mark the 25th annual "Beef and Boards Christmas," an original variety show, and the theater also offers a holiday buffet with a trun- cated one-hour "A Christmas Carol" matinee. www.beefandboards.com [ CANDLELIGHT DINNER PLAYHOUSE ] JOHNSTOWN, COLORADO The Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is "dedicated to preserving the art form of American musical theater," said director of marketing Don Berlin. That means in the 2017-2018 season, the Candlelight's 10th, theatergoers will enjoy productions of "Man of La Mancha," "Kiss Me Kate" and "The Music Man," which runs from September through August. The Candlelight, which puts on five or six shows each season, is now branching out into newer pieces such as Disney's "Beauty and Beast," straight from Broadway, and Disney's "Newsies" next summer, Berlin said. It will wrap up its current season with "42nd Street," which runs through June 4, followed by "The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella," running through August 27. The Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is in Johnstown, Colorado, 45 miles due north of Denver and a straight shot on Interstate 25. Because the Candlelight was built as a dinner theater, it was designed with the experience in mind. The main auditorium area features a proscenium theater with guests sitting on one of seven tiers in front it, "so there really isn't a bad seat in the house," Berlin said. The playhouse can seat about 250 for each show, but its new conference and meeting facility that opened in February offers event space for another 200 people. Unlike some theaters with separate restaurants or preshow buffets, guests spend the entire evening at their table, with dinner during the show and des- sert during intermission. The playhouse does a brisk group business with out-of-state tour groups, as well as with local churches, company parties and senior centers. Because the owner is a devout Christian, he strives to make sure the Candlelight's programming is appropriate for a wide variety of audi- ences and ages, Berlin said. www.coloradocandlelight.com Courtesy Candlelight Dinner Playhouse "The Wizard of Oz" at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

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