UPDATE: The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre closed in 2012. Shortly thereafter, the venue reopened as the Silver Star Playhouse. I attended a performance there, and, because it still seemed as though they hadn't figured out how they wanted to operate, what they wanted to serve and what the theater should look like, I did not write a review. Silver Star Playhouse closed in 2013 before the summer season. Prather Entertainment Group reopened it as The Palms for the 2013-2014 season, but in September 2015 it closed again.
The following, and the details on the following pages, relate to the original Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and my visit there in 2008.
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The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre opened in 2001. In a major metropolitan area where performing arts venues present concerts, plays, music and dance in nearly every community, the Broadway Palm offers a unique alternative to the typical theatre event.
Tickets to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre include both your meal and the show. The doors open between 1-1/2 and 2 hours before curtain goes up. Many people will arrive early to enjoy cocktails in the lobby, or to line up at the door to be in the first group to enter and be seated. All seats are assigned, so there's really no need to do this! I recommend that you arrive within that first half hour of dinner service so that you can enjoy a leisurely meal and take a quick break before the show starts.
Don't want to eat dinner at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, but you want to enjoy the show? There are 75 "Show Only" seats available. These are theatre-style seats in the rear of the theatre. The "Show Only" seats are all elevated.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre Factoid: All the music for the Broadway-type shows is performed live. The orchestra ranges in size from 8 to 20 pieces, depending on the production.
Lunch starts at 11:45 a.m. for matinées. Dinner is served beginning at 6 p.m. for shows starting at 8 p.m., and at 5:30 p.m. shows beginning at 7 p.m. The menu consists of a choice of meat, poultry and fish, with a carved item in the evenings. These selections are accompanied by vegetable, starch and pasta sides. There's a salad bar offering traditional salad fixings, veggies and toppings, as well as prepared salads like tuna and pasta salad. Vegetarians will find plenty of suitable choices, including a hot vegetarian dish. A dessert bar offering cakes, pies and pastries and an ice cream/toppings bar will satisfy your sweet tooth. At least two sugar-free desserts are offered. Your meal includes iced tea or coffee. There is a charge for other beverages, including milk, soft drinks, or alcohol. There is a short wine list of house-type wines that cost generally between $20 and $40 per bottle. Wine by the glass is available for purchase.
At intermission you'll be asked to settle the bill, if applicable. On the table you will find information and suggestions about tipping your server. The recommended tip was rather low, in my opinion, so feel free to tip more if the staff does a good job!
At youth programs, there's a a kid-friendly menu including hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni & cheese, pizza, chicken fingers, veggies and kid-appropriate desserts.
I know you're going to ask, so here's the answer: Yes! it's an all-you-can eat buffet, and you can make more than one trip. Don't worry--they won't run out of food.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre Factoid: Even though doors open and food is served an hour and half to two hours (depending on the night) before show time, if you arrive at least half an hour before the show starts you will be offered the full array of buffet choices for your meal.
There may be some special programming from time to time, but each season the main attractions at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre experience are the musicals. You'll see familiar titles each season -- A Chorus Line, South Pacific, Oliver, 42nd Street, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady are examples of previous shows. Occasionally, they'll present a musical holiday revue, or present musical plays based on the lives of famous performers like Patsy Cline or Buddy Holly. The shows are performed by professional actors and actresses, although occasionally local talent may be used for certain shows.
The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre seats about 500 people. Most are seated at dining tables. There are tables for two, four, six and eight situated on ascending levels from the stage. When you buy your tickets, be aware that a small party seated at a larger table may be sharing that table with another party. That's great if you like to make new friends! Otherwise, be advised when making your reservations that you might have to decide between a table closer to the stage vs. a small table just for your party.
The stage is very visible from all seats in the theatre, and the sound system is such that you will be sure to hear what's going on (all the actors were miked during the show I attended).
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre Factoid: The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre targets a family demographic, so all the shows would be rated G, or maybe slightly PG if there were such ratings for live performances.
The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is in Mesa. That's considered the East Valley, and it is southeast of Phoenix, south of Scottsdale and east of Tempe. Here is a map and directions to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater.
The theatre schedules performances on every day but Mondays. In the summer months, they close on Tuesdays, too. Tickets for shows at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre start at about $45 (includes show, dinner and tax). There is a service charge for each ticket. You may also purchase tickets to see a show without eating dinner. There are no senior discounts. Children's tickets (12 and under) are offered at a reduced price. If you intend to see at least four shows during a season, you can get season tickets at a reduced price.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre Factoid: Even though some things slow down in the summer months in the Phoenix area, you can enjoy shows at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa all year long.
All times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.
Before You Go: Five Tips
When I attended dinner and a show at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, I noted some items that I thought first-time visitors might want to know before they go.
- The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is located in a strip mall in Mesa. Parking is easy and free.
- There is a full bar in the lobby as well as a seating area where you can enjoy a cocktail before the doors open, if you so choose. People will start lining up at the theatre door about 15-30 minutes before the doors open. I'm not sure why, since all the seats are assigned, and there's plenty of time and food for everyone. But they do.
- The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre has a gift shop that is open before the show and during intermission. I found a few items there to take home!
- Even if you don't have any additional charges, like wine or soft drinks, you'll want to bring some extra money to leave a tip for your servers.
- The tables are on several levels, and there is adequate spacing between the tables to ensure that you have room to turn your chairs toward the stage and find your best angle to see the show. You may continue to enjoy beverages while the show is going on, and at intermission you may place an additional order or get refills of whatever you are drinking.
Before You Go: Five More Tips
I guess five tips weren't enough! Here are five more things you might want to know about the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre experience.
- The menu had good variety. You can check online to see what they are serving at each show. My take on the menu: it isn't especially creative or exotic, but for steam table selections I was pleasantly surprised. The food doesn't sit around for long, so it doesn't get stale or tough. Empty trays are replenished quickly.
- Casual attire is fine. You'll see slacks and collared shirts for men, dresses or slacks and a blouse for women. If you'd wear it to the beach, it probably isn't acceptable here.
- The age of the crowd varies; because of the types of shows presented you'll tend to see an older audience.
- The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is a great place to celebrate a special occasion, like a birthday or anniversary. If you tell a staff member, they'll announce the occasion before the show.
- Unlike other live performance venues, the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre has a refund policy. Check with them directly to see if you can get your money back if you have to cancel in advance.
The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre isn't the Marriott Marquis in New York, nor will you find the haute cuisine of a 5-star restaurant. If you are looking for a different way to spend an evening with friends, a unique place to take visiting relatives, or it's your turn to plan a date night, the Broadway Palm does present good food and entertainment at a reasonable price in a very pleasant environment.
As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with complimentary tickets. While it has not influenced this article, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy. All prices and offering mentioned herein are subject to change without notice. 03/08