Holiday Show a Throwback to the Old Variety Shows
The holiday season is here, and among the sparkling decorations and familiar music, we find a renewed focus on spending time with our loved ones.
For those looking to try something new, the Yellow Rose Dinner Theater in Moore offers a night of unique, family-friendly entertainment accompanied by a hearty meal. What more could you ask for from Oklahoma’s only year-round professional dinner theater?
Through Dec. 18, the Yellow Rose Dinner Theater presents “Dean Martin’s Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas,” a throwback to the old variety shows, including skits, Jerry Lewis and Jimmy Durante acts, and a fun story woven throughout the show.
“We really deck out the building and embrace the Christmas show,” says Michael Cooper, director of advertising and entertainment, also known as Dean Martin by theater regulars.
Going to the theater is a great way to make holiday memories with your family, he says, adding that theater-goers shouldn’t be surprised if they get hooked. Many people, he notes, have made the Yellow Rose’s Christmas program a lasting part of their holiday traditions.
In addition to a night of entertainment, the Yellow Rose offers a meal prepared hot and fresh daily by their on-site catering staff. The hand-made dinner consists of smoked brisket or chicken, cheesy potato casserole, vegetables and salad, and is followed up by an impressive selection of desserts, all included in the ticket price.
The people at the Yellow Rose Dinner Theater work to spread the Christmas cheer as far and wide as they can. Each year, they host the Sharon L. Vanover Memorial Dinner, a special weekly showing of the Christmas program for families in need. The program is named for Yellow Rose founder Timothy Vanover’s late mother, an unfailing supporter of the theater and its mission.
“The theater works closely with counselors in Moore, south Oklahoma City and Lawton school districts to identify families that wouldn’t otherwise get a Christmas experience during the holiday season,” says Cooper.
They hold gift-wrapping parties in the beginning of December, and join with various businesses to provide gender- and age-specific gifts for the children and even some of the parents. Cooper adds that the event inspires children to take joy in the spirit of giving, and it is not uncommon to see them gifting their presents to others.
The families are invited to a special show and dinner, and the Yellow Rose pulls out all the stops. Each child is given an overflowing stocking and multiple presents. Many bigger prizes also are raffled off during and after the show.
This event, which is completely free for the invited families, is fueled by volunteer participation and donations. “It’s such a special night for everyone involved,” Cooper says, “and it makes a real difference in people’s lives–both the guests and the volunteers.”
Providing entertainment with a purpose has always been important to the people at the Yellow Rose. “We do this to bring joy to other people,” says Cooper.
The theater boasts a professional troupe that has taken its act all over the country. “Everyone who works there is like family,” Cooper says, adding that “everyone does all that they can to help out. For example, I’ll play Dean Martin and then bus dishes after the show.”
The Yellow Rose opened almost 20 years ago, with a focus on completely original plays, all written, directed and produced by Executive Director Timothy Vanover.
Cooper and Vanover discovered their shared passion for Rat Pack music while rebuilding the theater after a fire in the early 2000s. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that three of us here just happen to sing like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.,” says Cooper.
This spurred on many other musical additions to the Yellow Rose repertoire, including Louis Armstrong and Marilyn Monroe, in addition to a variety of decade-themed shows.
Cooper welcomes anyone interested in the fun, unique theater experience, and tells them to expect “great food and a great show.”