Oh, Mamma!

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 By: Peter Kramer Source: LO HUD

Asked about his theater’s 200th show, Bob Funking — who started “An Evening Dinner Theater” with partner Bill Stutler 43 years ago — jokes that there are days “when I feel like I’m 200 years old.”

“When Bill and I started this we absolutely had no idea we would go this long," Funking says. "We just did it on a day-by-day basis and hope for the best — and here we are, 43 years later.”

“Here” is “Mamma Mia,” the ABBA musical about a mother and a daughter and uncertainty about the girl’s paternity. Funking says there’s no doubt that the musical, on stage through June 25, is a crowd-pleaser.

“It’s such a feel-good show, all that ABBA music,” Funking says. “You just feel great by the end of the show, everybody is humming and leaving on a high note.”

The dinner theater’s location — 27 miles from Times Square — is a double-edged sword: It means Funking and Stutler have access to New York talent, who can commute to Elmsford; but it also means that shows currently running on Broadway are off-limits.

“I just wish we could get some of the newer shows,” Funking says. “Even ‘Les Mis,’ which isn’t on Broadway right now, they hold back the rights because Cameron Mackintosh likes to revive it every few years.”

The classics have been the dinner theater’s bread and butter and Funking says musicals such as “The King and I” and “Evita” haven’t been staged in Elmsford in years and could make a comeback.

“I can’t complain,” he says. “I mean, 43 years is 43 years.”

Excerpt from Pete Kramer's Article in The Journal News. For the full article visit:  http://www.lohud.com/story/entertainment/theater/2017/04/20/professional-theaters-milestones-westchester-rockland/100562756