Happy Days at Derby Dinner Playhouse

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found it more difficult to think of an original Christmas or birthday gift. But, last December 25, I found the perfect present for my mom and dad when I bought two tickets to Happy Days, the musical, now showing at Derby Dinner Playhouse.

It may have been the most delayed gift I’ve ever given, but after four, long months, my parents finally had the chance to witness the musical based off the 1970s TV series.

In all the years I’ve heard my mom and dad talk about Derby Dinner Playhouse, I’d never actually visited the Southern Indiana venue. But, to my surprise, my parents decided to bring my brother and I along for the ride and bought us two tickets at their table for Saturday’s show.

The doors opened at 6 p.m. as did the delicious buffet featuring fried chicken and fish, a full salad bar and Southern-style comfort food. For an additional $11, I also ordered the VIP service, which included balloons and a vanilla cake, as a treat to my mother for her birthday.

After the audience had finished dinner, a chorus of men and women called the Footnotes warmed up the crowd with a performance of classic TV show theme songs from such series as Laverne & Shirley, The Brady Bunch and The Carol Burnett Show.

Though I wasn’t yet born when those shows debuted, I could still appreciate the classic melodies and could tell my parents enjoyed the trip back in time.

Following the brief performance, at 7:45 p.m., Richie Cunningham graced the stage before “The Fonz” appeared acting like his usual cool, cocky self.

The entire plot of the musical was centered around the restaurant Arnold’s and Richie and the crew’s attempt to save it from demolition by hosting a dance and wrestling contest.

Throughout their endeavor, romance and turmoil thickened the plot as Fonzie’s nemesis, the Malachi brothers, spring up in town.

Pinky Tuscadero, Fonzie’s former flame, also joined the cast with her gang, the Pinkettes. The eclectic group provided various dance and song numbers throughout the show and had the audience laughing with a few clever jokes you can enjoy whether you’re familiar with Happy Days or just now learning about the pop culture phenomenon.

At the culmination of the two-hour musical, the cast said goodbye with a performance of the show’s hit theme song that I couldn’t help but sing over and over in my head.

My first time at Derby Dinner Playhouse was certainly all I had hoped for after years of hearing my parents rave about the place. And, it turned out to be a great gift to them, as well.

If you haven’t been to Derby Dinner Playhouse in awhile – or ever – check out Happy Days before it closes May 13. Whether on a date, a family get-together, or a combined birthday and Christmas outing, it’s a pleasant change of pace from the action in downtown Louisville and a nice walk down memory lane to the simple life of the 1950s.


525 Marriott Drive
Clarksville, Ind.


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evening: $39; $35 for group tickets.
Friday evening: $40; $36 for group tickets.
Saturday evening: $43; $40 for group tickets.
Sunday Matinee: $35; $31 for group tickets.
Wedneday Matinee: $34; $30 for group tickets.

Upcoming Shows

The Alabama Blues Brothers
April 16

Country Royalty
May 7

The Dixie Swim Club
May 15 through July 1

May 19, 26, June 2, 9, 16 and 23

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
June 4

July 3 through August 12

Terry Lee & The Rockaboogie Band
August 6

Church Basement Ladies 2 – A Second Helping
August 14 through October 7

Country Crossroads
August 20, 2012

The Return
September 10, 2012

The Mousetrap
October 9 through November 18, 2012

For tickets and information, call 812.288.8281 or visit www.derbydinner.com.