As Iâ€™ve gotten older, Iâ€™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 Iâ€™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 Iâ€™ve heard my mom and dad talk about Derby Dinner Playhouse, Iâ€™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 Saturdayâ€™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 wasnâ€™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.
The entire plot of the musical was centered around the restaurant Arnoldâ€™s and Richie and the crewâ€™s attempt to save it from demolition by hosting a dance and wrestling contest.
Throughout their endeavor, romance and turmoil thickened the plot as Fonzieâ€™s nemesis, the Malachi brothers, spring up in town.
Pinky Tuscadero, Fonzieâ€™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 youâ€™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 showâ€™s hit theme song that I couldnâ€™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 havenâ€™t been to Derby Dinner Playhouse in awhile â€“ or ever â€“ check out Happy Days before it closes May 13. Whether on a date, a family get-together, or a combined birthday and Christmas outing, itâ€™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
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.
The Alabama Blues Brothers
The Dixie Swim Club
May 15 through July 1
May 19, 26, June 2, 9, 16 and 23
The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
July 3 through August 12
Terry Lee & The Rockaboogie Band
Church Basement Ladies 2 â€“ A Second Helping
August 14 through October 7
August 20, 2012
September 10, 2012
October 9 through November 18, 2012
For tickets and information, call 812.288.8281 or visit www.derbydinner.com.