In its 51st season, Black Hills Community Theatre did something for the first time: repeat a fundraiser event.
Not that it could’ve been a hard decision, given the reaction last year to “Fezziwig’s Feast.” Last year, the Victorian-themed, “Christmas Carol”-infused, three-performance dinner-theater event — which was the group’s annual fundraiser — sold out two weeks before the show opened, director Zach Curtis told Compass.
“It was really a strong response,” he said of last year’s fundraiser. “I think there was a very positive response to moving it to the Christmas season and doing a holiday-themed show, and I think the “Christmas Carol” is very popular on top of that, so I think there was a lot of interest.”
This year’s “Feast” will run from Dec. 19-22 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City, with cocktail hour starting at 6 p.m. each evening followed by a four-course meal intermingled with the entertainment. The event also will include specialty drinks, raffle drawings, live and silent auctions and complimentary wine, according to a press release.
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Curtis, who also plays Scrooge in the production, said previous dinner-theater events consisted of a two-act play with dinner, the first act, an auction and the second act. What boosted the appeal of “Fezziwig’s Feast,” he said, is that the meal is incorporated over the course of the evening’s entertainment. A butler will pass out hors d’oeuvres, then the prologue introduction to the show is followed by the salad course. The first act will take place before the Victorian-influenced main course, with another act followed by dessert.
When attendees show up, Curtis said, actors will already be milling about the room and talking with people while the food is passed around and music is played on instruments.
“The concept of the show is you are at the Fezziwig party that is in ‘A Christmas Carol,’” Curtis said.
Over the course of the evening, according to a press release, the show will focus on Mr. Fezziwig, played by Jeffrey Alan Smith, leading a performance of a new holiday ghost story written by Charles Dickens, Fezziwig’s friend.
At one point in the telling of the story, Curtis said, the tale arrives at the party itself in real time before moving on.
“There’s just a neat sort of immersive feel about it that is not in past dinner-theater shows, so I think there’s a lot of fun with that,” Curtis said.
While the event is a repeat from 2017, almost the entire cast has flipped from last year to this year, Curtis said. Of the 22 cast members in this year’s production, 17 are new. The only actor repeating the same role from last year is Michelle Martinson, who will again play Mrs. Fezziwig.
The rest of the cast includes Lacy Thormahlen, Holly Lindsay, Leslie Villa, Jason Knox, Caitlin Monahan, Caroline Haugo, Connor Stuck, Isla Woodruff, Poppy Stevens, Penny Stevens, Parker Knox, Greg Johnson, Kherdine Weber, Ken Young, Braden Bilyeu, Matthew Vidal, Brady Riker, Candi Fender and Kaleb Wilkening, a press release said.
Tickets for each show are $72 per person, $565 for a table of eight, or $670 for a table of 10. To purchase tickets, visit bhct.org, call 394-1786, or go to the Performing Arts Center box office in Rapid City.