Indianapolis is home to hundreds of restaurants and dozens of theaters, but there’s only one place where you can watch a professional theatrical production without ever leaving the dinner table. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre specializes in making sure audiences are well-fed and well-entertained.
Going to Beef & Boards is a full evening out. Doors open two hours before showtime so theatergoers can dig into a well-stocked buffet featuring homestyle favorites, including a salad bar and entrees like fried chicken, roast beef, pasta, and baked fish. On a recent visit, fellow Visit Indy blogger Sara Croft and I enjoyed the crunchy green beans cooked with bacon, and mashed potatoes covered in thick, rich gravy.
After everyone’s eaten their fill, the buffets are wheeled away and a stage takes its place. The theater specializes in musicals and family friendly fare. You may remember its current production, Arsenic & Old Lace, from the Cary Grant film version. It’s a screwball comedy which focuses on the cheerfully insane Brewster family, including murderous spinsters, a brother who believes he’s Teddy Roosevelt and the exasperated straight-man nephew.
The talented cast fully commits to the slapstick humor of the show, including some hilarious physical comedy. Karen Pappas and Gerri Weagraff shine as Abby and Martha Brewster, but Douglas E. Stark, one of the owners of Beef & Boards, has a show-stealing turn as Teddy Brewster, giving sweetness to a completely off-the-wall role.
After the first act, it’s time for intermission. Intermission at Beef & Boards isn’t just a time to stretch your legs: It’s dessert time. Before the show begins, your server will take your dessert order. As soon as the lights go on, they’ll pop out with steaming coffee and trays of delicious desserts. We couldn’t resist trying the turtle chocolate chip ice cream cake (yes, you read that right) and a decadent chocolate fudge cake. Best intermission ever.
Arsenic & Old Lace plays through February 3, but Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre has an ambitious season lined up for the rest of the year. You’ll find everything from the bluegrass musical Smoke on the Mountain to Les Misérables. Tickets start at $37.50, which includes the buffet, unlimited coffee, iced tea, and lemonade. Tip, alcoholic beverages, and desserts are not included.
Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is a great place for a quirky date night, birthdays, anniversaries, or just an excuse to catch that show you’ve been dying to see. It’s a fun mix of families, friends, and couples all ready to chow down and watch some great theater. Try something old and new with dinner and a show.