Sunday, April 20, 2008

An Evening At "Uncle Phil's Diner"

Last week I was invited by a gal that I work with, Patti, to attend a function at her church, which was last night.
Westside Church in Omaha was host to a wonderful rendition of Uncle Phil's Diner. It was an interactive dinner theater set back in the 1950's; a fun-filled 2 hours of entertainment complete with a full meal (see menu below), singing of memorable songs from the '50's era, dancing anywhere you looked, games and acting amongst the audience; including a few unsuspecting volunteers from random tables. (Click on the menu to read it better)

The room was decorated with vinyl records both real and paper, some of which were on each table as part of the centerpiece. There were diner tables and chairs....remember the stools that had red vinyl seats and chrome legs? All the actors were dressed in the appropriate attire to match the character they played. Poodle skirts, high-water pants, large rimmed glasses with black frames and tape over the bridge piece, rolled up sleeves on t-shirts with Lucky Strike cigarettes in the pockets, bee hive hairdos, slicked back hair with the duck tail look in the back, etc. Everywhere your eyes looked was something else that made you feel as though you were watching an episode of Happy Days.
The main story is that the diner has hired a band to play live music. Throughout the course of the show, the phone in the diner rings several times . Uncle Phil always answers the calls. It's ultimately the band calling to say they have gotten lost en route to the diner. So at this particular show, they were ending up at different towns near Omaha. For instance; Gretna, Lincoln, Mead and Grand Island. So in between calls, while waiting for the entertainment to show up, the diner employees are always coming up with different things for the patrons to do to keep them busy and happy. I.E. One such game was "This is your life." Another was bingo. They also had singing by each of the employees of the diner. They all had superb voices and sang such songs as Johnny Be Good, Splish Splash, Born to Hand Jive and Tammy, just to name a few.

After all the phone calls of being lost, Uncle Phil finally decides that it's getting too late for the band to even bother....even if they do find the place! Flodene remembers that the kitchen staff practices each night after closing. "Why don't we have them come out and play?", she says. So Uncle Phil agrees. They introduced the staff as "The Kitchen Band" which sounded very good!

The main stage of Uncle Phil's Diner

At my table sat Bill from California who flew in to surprise his friend Gloria, one of the actresses, here as LaVonna

The centerpiece at my table. It's simple yet clever!

Daniel, also at my table from Westside Church. He dressed up!
Gertie, one of the main characters
Wally, another main character
The "Kitchen Band". They had to fill in at the last minute for the band that had been booked and got lost looking for the diner!

Gertie dancing and singing "Splish Splash" (see the little bubbles in the air?)
Bubble gum bubble blowing contest of audience members
Wally is trying to win over the heart of Gertie

Flodene, another main character
They played "This is Your Life" with Bill from my table while waiting for the band to show up!

Bill's friend Gloria in character as his dentist from years back.
Uncle Phil making sure that Daniel knew he can't smoke (his fake cigarette!) in the diner, with Tony (a diner employee) looking on.

This was a very fun evening. I especially enjoyed the dessert. They had 3 kinds of pies, fruit, 3 kinds of cookies, chocolate cake, german chocolate cake and cream puffs. You could load up as much as you wanted to eat! Very tasteful. All the food from the menu was catered by one of our local grocery stores, Hy-Vee. I recommend to anyone that has a chance to see these types of shows, to attend if at all possible. If you enjoy music, this is something that would put a smile on your face!

1 comment:

Kevin Moberg said...

Is this a company that local groups can book to come in and perform on site? Or is this an Omaha group of performers? And what did the show have to do with church?!

It sounds very fun, though. I'm impressed that there could be so many options on the menu, considering it was catered. Sounds like a real restaurant with lots of choices!

(I've been remiss in tending to my own blog lately, haven't I? I have lots of pics to post. I'll get to that soon.)