Photo courtesy of UTEP Dinner Theatre
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article was edited on Aug. 19, 2020 to add the time of the virtual show and to clarify that the UTEP Dinner Theatre only hosts one, all-student produced show every year.
UTEP’s Dinner Theatre has been a tradition at the university since 1983, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the show will go on with a virtual production in the fall, and additional shows in the 2020-2021 school year.
UTEP’S Dinner Theatre is the only year-round, full-time musical dinner theatre on a college campus in the United States. Usually, the Dinner Theatre presents four fully staged musicals each season and one fully staged student produced musical under the Side Dish Student Production banner.
Dinner performances typically include dinner and dessert along with entrance to the show, but if one would prefer to skip the meal, matinee performances are also offered. Dinner is catered by Sodexo Food Services who also offer a full cash bar at all performances.
The UTEP Dinner Theatre is open to all students and members of the community wishing to participate in any production. Auditions normally take place four times a year, however, this season, due to the pandemic, they will only host two castings.
The theatre is always looking for participants such as actors, singers, dancers and students to help with set design, costumes and behind-the-scenes production.
Like many other events in attractions, the UTEP Dinner Theatre has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and social-distancing orders. This year, production had to shift in order to ensure the safety of the performers and attendees.
The fall will kick off with “UTEP Dinner Theatre Broadway in Concert,” Nov. 14, which will be streamed live through various social media platforms. The format will allow social distancing among students and fans of the dinner theatre. The performance will include student and dinner theatre cast for production. As previously mentioned, usually students of any major and college can audition to be in any performance, but this cast will exclusively feature the UTEP Music Theatre students.
The show will be livestreamed from the UTEP’s dinner theatre stage and will more than likely be available through the official UTEP Dinner Theatre’s YouTube and Facebook page.
Gregory Taylor, director of the UTEP Dinner Theatre, is hopeful the first in-person performance of the season will be in January 2021, with a full production of “Titanic.” After, the plan is to continue all other shows normally.
This season’s performances are:
“UTEP Dinner Theatre Broadway in Concert,” streaming 7:30 p.m. Nov.14, 2020.
‘Titanic the Musical,” running Jan. 29 through Feb. 14, 2021
“The Wedding Singer,” running April 23 through May 9, 2021.
“Head over Heels,” running July 9 through July 25, 2021.
Paulina Astrid Spencer may be reached at [email protected]