Stardust Dinner Theatre Going Strong in its 5th Season

by Todd Walburn

Artists are often faced with the dilemma of whether to create art they love doing or art that will be commercially successful.  My advice always is that art which is created honestly, with care and love of the process will always be successful on some level, even if it’s just the feeling of satisfaction from its creator.  It is the fortunate artist who finds the two paths intersect and find a medium or a style that resonates with their audience that is also something that they love doing.

This is true of any kind of art, whether it’s painting or writing or theater.  While the processes are different, the desire to connect in a positive way with your audience is the same.  One group who seems to have found that right mix of the drive to create and positive connection with a large audience are the talented folks at Stardust Dinner Theater.  The combination of great theater and a great meal appear to be just what people in Stark County were longing for and that’s exactly what they provide.  The group’s founder and creative director, Kathy Lewis Snyder, who formed the group in 2011, believes that when it stops being something she enjoys doing it will time to stop doing it altogether.  Now starting their 5th season at Tozzi’s on 12th, with a busy schedule, sold out audiences and great reviews behind them, Kathy is ready to have even more fun this year with no signs of the end in sight.

When the group started doing a series of murder mysteries, using rented lights, borrowed costumes and projecting their voices without the aid of microphones, Kathy was determined to work with people who were talented, committed to putting on great shows and shared her enthusiasm for finding fun in their work.  Now, five years later, the group has expanded their repertoire to include tributes of popular TV shows including The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy and Alfred Hitchcock in addition to their popular murder mysteries.

Their season, which usually begins as the weather warms in March, is just getting started (they just wrapped The Cannoli Caper at Tozzi’s and are gearing up for Always Patsy Cline, opening at the end of May and a mash up of the TV show/murder mystery formats in an Andy Griffith Murder Mystery later this year.)  Now they have their own lights, their own costumes and headset mics but they still haven’t stopped having fun doing what they love doing….and it shows.  They continue to fill houses, provide great entertainment at a venue that serves terrific meals and bring classic TV and classic genres back to an audience that never seems to cease being curious what they will come up with next.