Comedy Dinner Theater
● By Ryan Frisch
The Germans have a single word for a very specific form of entertainment: kleinkünst. It means “variety arts that don’t require a lot of technical stage craft.” The word that comes closest in the English language is probably “unplugged,” used to describe an acoustic performance or an event that is put on without a lot of hullabaloo. This summer’s Comedy Dinner Theater in Waterbury Center is three evenings of kleinkünst in a small renovated barn on the village green, August 29, 30, and September 1.
This will be the fourth year producer Tom Murphy, an internationally acclaimed physical comedian from Vermont, has brought world-class variety arts to the area. “This is what I’ve been doing the past 16 years in Europe, where these shows are very popular and the whole town gets involved,” he says. “I wanted to do the same thing in my hometown, so I put together the Waterbury Comedy Festival.”
The festival, which has run from 2009 to 2012, was a one-day event with three separate shows under a big tent. This year it takes on a different format as comedy dinner theater. “We did the dinner theater in the past, on the night before the festival. It was so popular we decided to take a year off from the one-day festival and instead do three nights of cocktails, dinner, and a show,” Murphy explains.
As with the comedy festival in previous years, entertainers at the Comedy Dinner Theater come from the East Coast, many with international credits. Their art form—variety arts—ranges from physical slapstick comedy to sophisticated humor appropriate for all ages. Each show starts with drinks at 6pm (BYOB), followed by a chicken barbecue picnic at 7:00. Then the tables are cleared away, seating is set up, and entertainment begins at 8:00.
This year’s artists include Tomas Kubinek, who recently performed an engaging comedy act with the Vermont Youth Orchestra; Mike Miclon, who will serve as the master of ceremonies; Galumpha, a trio of humorous gymnasts who performed at the 2011 comedy festival; and others. Each night’s show will feature different artists and different acts.
“It’s soul-touching personal theater, as opposed to technical and electronic, and it’s for small audiences,” says Murphy. “I’ve always been on the performing side, and for these three evenings I will be on the producing side. I get to watch my peers as well as the audience, and it’s incredible.”
Comedy Dinner Theater tickets are $40/person. Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance. To purchase tickets go to www.murphclown.com and click on Comedy Dinner Theater.
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