Westchester Broadway Theatre Celebrates 40 years

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 7:00 am By: Nancy Sasso Janis Source: The Newtown Patch

Westchester Broadway Theatre celebrates 40 years  in Westchester!
On July 9, 2014 Westchester Broadway Theatre will celebrate our fortieth Anniversary.  The Theatre has a history of 184 main-stage productions and nearly a thousand Monday/Tuesdayspecial events and concerts. Our objective with this world-class venue is to always provide our audiences, which come from far and wide, with the highest production values and most memorable entertainment and dining experiences.
On July 9, 1974, with their first production, Kiss Me Kate, Bill Stutler and Bob Funking pioneered the Dinner Theatre concept in Westchester by designing, building and opening An Evening Dinner Theatre, serving dinner and lunch. A culmination of what many considered to be two of the most risky business types, a restaurant and a theatre, Bill and Bob pushed the envelope to develop what has become the longest running year-round professional equity theatre in the state of New York."
An Evening Dinner Theatre boasted many strengths over other area theatres of the time such as a unique seating arrangement (every table faced the stage – there were no ‘bad’ seats), a 3/4 thrust stage, as well as the casting of Broadway performers at auditions and the hiring the creative staff (Directors, Choreographers, Musical Directors, Set, Costume and Lighting Designers) in New York City.  An inevitable alternative to traveling into the city to see a Broadway show where the parking is free, dinner is included, the talent is top-notch, and you were sure to have a truly memorable experience
In 1991, Bill and Bob moved the theatre to a new location not far from the original. A larger performance space, state-of-the-art technology, increased seating capacity, and many other features were among the positive aspects of this change. The theatre was also given a new name. Gone was An Evening Dinner Theatre. The days of the Westchester Broadway Theatre(WBT) had begun.  The musical, A Chorus Line was the first performance at the new theatre. 
In 2004, Bill and Bob were inducted into the Westchester County Business Hall of Fame.  They have produced more shows than most Broadway producers! 
At the time of this writing, Mary Poppins will fly onto our main stage as the 184th production to have graced the stages of An Evening and WBT, not including many special events and concerts featuring performers such as Jackie Mason, Tom Jones, George Carlin, Paul Anka, Wayne Newton and Harry Belafonte.
WBT, as we know it today, is a cultural mainstay of the tri-state area. It is the only theatre of its kind in Westchester, where Broadway performers, directors and designers gather to create this level of Musical Theatre.  With the continued support of our audiences, we pledge to continue to present the best in theatre and dining!
Westchester Broadway Theatre
Disney’s and Cameron Mackintosh’s
A Musical based on the stories of P. L. Travers
and the Walt Disney Film
Original Music & Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman,
Book by Julian Fellowes
New Songs and Additional Music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Co-Created by Cameron Mackintosh
                                   Directed and Choreographed by Richard Stafford
Musical Direction by Leo Carusone
May 8 – July 27, 2014
Starring Lauren Blackman as Mary Poppins and Leo Ash Evans as Bert
The WBT is celebrating 40 years of Broadway Musicals & Fine Dining!  For this momentous occasion,Mary Poppins is flying onto our stage! The cherished 1964 Disney film has been re-imagined into a spectacular new musical.  The show has been created, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes.
It delighted Broadway audiences for over 2,500 performances and received nominations for nine Olivier and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Featuring all of the unforgettable songs of the movie, timeless classics, such as “Feed the Birds”, “JollyHoliday”, “Step in Time”.
Bert, the jack-of-all trades, introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family how to value each other again. Mary Poppins takes both children and adults alike on many magical and memorable adventures, discovering a world where “anything can happen if you let it”.
The multi-talented cast features: Lauren Blackman as Mary Poppins, Leo Ash Evans as Bert, Joe Dellger as Mr. Banks, Leisa Matheras Mrs. Banks, Karen Murphy as Mrs. Brill, Peter Cormican as Admiral Bloom, Jan Neuberger as Miss Andrews, Mark Blowers, Sara Brophy, Laura Cable, Mark Donaldson, Maria Logan, Evan Mayer, Maggie McGrath, Kristyn Pope, Matthew Ranaudo, Roger Preston Smith, Matias Stegmann, Karen Webb and Eric Whitehead.
Jane Banks will be played by Michelle Moughan and Jane Shearin in alternating performances. Brandon Singel and Gabriel Reis will, alternately, play Michael Banks.  Ms. Shearin was the actress that was perfectly cast and simply adorable as Jojo in the 1214 production of Seusical. I wrote in my review of the show, "There is so much talent in this little lady."
The productions is Directed and Choreographed by WBT favorite, Richard Staffordwho has been at the helm for many WBT productions including  Guys & Dolls, Fiddler On The RoofCan-Can, George M!, Hairspray, Beauty & the Beast, Gypsy, and Singin’ in the RainAssociate Director and Choreographer isJonathan Stahl. The Musical Director is Leo CarusoneSet Design is by Steven Loftus, Lighting Design is by Andrew Gmoser, Sound Design is by Jonathan Hatton and Mark Zuckerman, Costume Design is byDerek Lockwood, Wig design by Gerard Kelly and the Production Stage Manager is Victor Lukas,Properties are by Grumpy Props. As with all our productions, Lisa Tiso is the Associate Producer.
Ticket Prices Dinner & Show range between $54.00 and $80.00 PLUS TAX depending on the performances chosen. Beverage Service & Gratuities are not included in the ticket price. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. Also check the website for on-going Special Offers! More news at: www.BroadwayTheatre.com
Show Times: Wednesday Matinees (except July) : Lunch: 11:30 am & Show 1 pmThursday & FridayMatinees: Lunch: 11:30 am & Show 1 pm. ThursdayFriday, & Saturday Evenings: Dinner: 6:30 pm & Show:  8 pm.
Sunday Matinees: Lunch: 12 pm & Show: 1:30 pm
Sunday Evenings: Dinner: 5:30 pm & Show: 7 pm.
Reservations:  Call (914)-592-2222. Also at:  www.BroadwayTheatre.com   
Group Reservations:  Discounts for Groups of 20 or More: Call 592-2225.
Luxury Boxes:  Call 592-8730. For private parties of 6 to 22. Enjoy dining and theatre in an elegant private box. Additional features include an expanded dinner menu, hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, private powder room, and Luxury Box reserved parking. Additional cost, call for details.    
WBT  Mainstage:
Mary Poppins - May 8th  to July 27th
The Wizard of Oz (MGM Movie Version) - July 31st to September 21st
South Pacific - September 25th to November 30th 
                         and December 31st  to January 11th, 2015
It Happened One Christmas Eve - December 4th to December 28th