By Kathleen Swift
Photo by Artistic Expressions Photography
What could be more fun than a scrumptious dinner and a live theater performance followed by a sweet dessert? The best place to find this delightful offering is at Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre in Carthage, Missouri. Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre is a one-of-a kind experience you won’t get anywhere else in the Four-State Area.
The history of Stone’s Throw goes back to 1928, when the Carthage Music Club, formed by Mrs. Harry Spradling, began performing musical shows in schools, churches and other locations.
In the late 1970s, as part of the Missouri Federation of Music Clubs, Carthage Music and Theatre Club was formed to broaden the scope of the club’s productions to include theatrical performances. Once again, productions were held in schools, churches and other locations.
Carthage Music and Theatre Club incorporated as Community Theatre for Southwest Missouri, Inc., d/b/a Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre September 11, 1984. Dr. Foster and Hilda Whitten donated the land on which the current theater stands at 2466 W. Old Route 66 Blvd May 9, 1988. The theater sponsored “A Night on Broadway ‘88” September 10, 1988, raising $11,000 toward construction of the theater building.
The modern facility underwent a major renovation three years ago and now offers dinner seating for 90 patrons per performance, according to Tom Brown, theater manager. Brown has managed the theater since 2011. He has been involved with Stone’s Throw for the last 11 years, working in the kitchen, behind the scenes, building stages, directing and acting on stage. He also served on the board of directors for five years.
“We are a volunteer organization,” said Brown. “Volunteers do everything from working in the kitchen to designing sets, ushering, running the box office, working as stage crew and acting. We are virtually sold out for every performance, so it takes a lot of volunteers working as a team. Our performances are on Friday and Saturday nights, and we also have a Sunday matinee for each show. Each show runs for two weekends.”
When you attend a performance at Stone’s Throw, the evening begins with salad and dinner served at round tables. The evening continues with the live performance. At intermission, dessert is served, and then the performance continues.
“We like to offer a variety of theater experiences,” said Brown. “We commit to a production after it has been read and looked at to make sure it is doable for our stage. We make sure it is a play that we can cast, and the production committee then decides which plays we will perform and sets the program for the year. We have seven performances per year, and we try to offer a variety of plays people will enjoy. That might include a classic, such as To Kill a Mockingbird that will be performed in October, or a comedy, or a good drama such as Death of a Salesman.”
Every year, Stone’s Throw Theatre produces a special Christmas performance. This year, they will offer Miracle on 34th Street. The Christmas performances run for two weekends, but the company adds a Thursday night performance to the schedule to meet the demand for tickets.
In addition, New Year’s Eve brings the annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre to Stone’s Throw. Watch their Facebook page and webpage for more details on this fun evening that includes audience participation.
People of all ages volunteer with Stone’s Throw Theatre.
“We have a core of regulars who audition for most performances. We also have people audition who have never performed at Stone’s Throw. We hope that those who perform with us will keep coming back,” said Brown. “We are fortunate to have more younger actors coming out. That’s what will keep the theater going into the future.”
To bring theater to young people and to get them involved, Stone’s Throw offers a summer camp for students entering grades 3 through 8 the following school year. Students receive instruction in makeup, hairstyling, set design, set construction, light design, sound design, stage management, direction and acting.
Brown commented, “This is a great way to nurture a love for theater and to get kids involved. We have some really good kids involved in our camps and also in our performances. We like doing plays that have kids in them such as Cheaper by the Dozen or Up the Down Staircase.
The theater tries to support all forms of art, and if you attend a performance, you will notice local artists are featured each month in the lobby of Stone’s Throw Theatre.
“We think all art is important, and this was something we could do to support artists and photographers,” said Brown.
To make reservations for a performance, call 417.358.9665. To make a reservation by email, please email the number of guests in your party, date of the performance and your telephone number to [email protected] All reservations MUST be confirmed with a phone call. Any changes to your reservations MUST be made with a phone call.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Directed by Tom Brown
October 4, 5, 6
October 11, 12, 13
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET
Directed by Kaitlin Morrill
December 5, 6, 7, 8
December 12, 13, 14, 15
Admission and Showtimes
Doors Open at 6 pm
Dinner Begins at 6:30 pm
Show Begins at 7:30 pm
Sunday Afternoon Matinees
Doors open at 12:30 pm
Dinner begins at 1 pm
Show begins at 2 pm
Individual shows (non-musical)
Price includes sales taxes
Adults (19-54): $27
Seniors (55 up): $24
Student w/ID: $22
Youth (13-18): $21
Children (6-12): $12
5 and under: Free
Veterans (with ID) and their spouses will receive a special rate of $18 on the opening night of each show. Please mention when making reservations.