Arena Dinner Theatre Kicks Off 2021-22 Season with a July 31 Golf Outing Fit for Theatre Fans
For Arena Dinner Theatre, the 2021-22 season will see the popular venue branch out in some new directions while tapping into their rich history. One new event doesn’t even take place at the theatre but rather on the golf course. A fundraiser for Arena, which decidedly looks to put the fun into raising funds, means taking all of the things people love about Arena and hitting the local links. The July 31 event kicks off bright and early – 7:45 a.m., which should allow everyone to beat the heat – at 8218 Huguenard Road in Fort Wayne. Registration fee is $75 per golfer and includes a thank you gift, 18 holes of golf with cart, and a luncheon provided by Colonial Oaks Golf Club. There will also be a cash bar as is only right when one reaches the 19th hole.
The fundraiser will help get Arena Dinner Theatre back on track after a rocky year. While it was challenging for all of the local venues to navigate COVID protocols, Arena had the additional challenge of being a food provider. As restaurants around the country quickly learned, that brings its own set of restrictions, and it was more than Arena was able to handle. Although they had a few reading events over the year, the theatre itself, situated on historic Rockhill Street, stayed dark.
But hope springs anew, and there is once again a full slate of shows coming in the year ahead. Arena board of director members Ben Wedler and Leslie Beauchamp discussed what Arena audiences can expect in the months to come.
“We wanted to keep things lighter, focus on things people know,” said Wedler, who also serves as musical director for many local theatre productions.
“We wanted the season to be comfortable and comforting,” said Beauchamp, who is an active choreographer and director in the city.
The upcoming season includes The Haunting of Hill House October 15-30, Dashing Through the Snow December 3-18, Play On! January 21-February 5, Clue March 11-26, You Can’t Take It with You April 29-May 14, and Bright Star June 10-25. Bright Star, written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell is one Arena has been eyeing for some time.
“It’s such a great musical, and we’ve been wanting to do it for awhile,” Beauchamp said. “It’s one of those stories that you think you know where it’s going, but you don’t.”
In putting together the season, Arena’s board wanted to satisfy their devoted attendees while bringing in some new people who may not be as familiar with Arena.
“It’s really exciting,” Beauchamp said. “We’ve expanded our programming because for years everything has been dinner theatre, but we’re reaching back to our roots with a more educational thrust. We’re planning to do six instead of seven full dinner theatre productions while adding a dessert-only production later in the year is a more youth-oriented.”
A recent partnership with the Literacy Alliance is helping Arena position themselves for the future. Wedler and Beauchamp, both also longtime educators, are anxious to see Arena continue to grow while still honoring their past.
“We want to reexamine who we are and what we are but expand upon it,” Beauchamp said. “We want to provide programming that our community wants to see without taking anything away from our dinner theatre group.”
Some programming will be announced at as the season unfolds, but in addition to the golf outing, Arena is also hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration on, appropriately enough, December 31 at the theatre. To register for either of these events or to order tickets to the shows, visit arenadinnertheatre.org.