One of the things I love most about Fresno is the fact that there is great musical theater to be enjoyed here. I mean, “Phantom of the Opera” is coming to the Saroyan in October! Swoon! But I think. I know I’m guilty of it myself. Despite my love of Broadway, I hadn’t been there in 15 years.
That finally changed this week when I visited the Tower District dinner theater for their production of the Dolly Parton classic “9 to 5.” All I can say is, I have been missing out! And so have you, if you haven’t been down to Roger Rockas lately!
The thing I love most about Roger Rockas is how intimate the space is. It’s not at all like going to a sweeping Broadway or off-Broadway production, but that’s what makes it special. When I say intimate, our two-top was pushed right up to the edge of the stage. Like, I was paranoid the entire time that my foot was going to trip the actors going up and down the stairs. I might as well have been in the show. It was bonkers!
You start out with a leisurely dinner. This is optional, but it really adds to the fun of the evening. Friday and Saturday nights, there’s a gourmet menu to choose from, and Thursdays and Sundays, you can enjoy a plethora of dishes from a big buffet. What I was most surprised by was the delicious drinks. In addition to their regular menu of virgin and alcoholic cocktails, there is a themed menu of mixed drinks and alcoholic/virgin shakes for each show. My friend and I had the Potion Notion (kahlua, amaretto, dark creme de cacao, soda and cream, served on the rocks with a pinch of cinnamon) and the Femme Fatale shake (dark chocolate chips and raspberry puree with Svedka raspberry vodka). They were so unique and tasty! You can also order dessert (for an additional fee) to be delivered at intermission.
The service at the theater is amazing from top to bottom. The entertainment, presented by the Good Company Players, starts with a charming pre-show with the Junior Company, a group of young performers aged 8 to 16. Then comes the main event. The current show, “9 to 5,” runs through March 13th. The story revolves around three spunky women who join forces to outsmart their evil boss in the 1970s. “9 to 5” is funny, engaging and smart. The actors move throughout the room to sing from different points, so there’s not a bad seat in the house. In addition to being afraid of kicking the performers, I was also afraid to go to the bathroom during the show for fear I’d accidentally end up in a musical number, haha! I highly encourage all of you to go check it out before the run is over!
Now, I do have to warn you that the PG-13 rated “9 to 5” is not really family-friendly (think language and sexual innuendos). But that is not true of all shows at Roger Rockas. In fact, the very next show opening on March 17th is Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
Dinner and a show is $33 for kids and $55-59 for adults depending on the day. Show only is $32 for all ages. I would perhaps choose this option if you’re bringing younger children despite dinner being a better deal for them, because honestly, the only downside of the experience is that it is loooong. With dinner, we were there for about 5 hours total, and that may be hard for kids to handle!
There are also deals for students/military/seniors and, on certain days, for young adults aged 16 to 26. If you’re interested in “The Little Mermaid,” I would go online to get tickets or visit the Roger Rockas box office soon, because certain nights are already selling out!
You can see the full Roger Rockas performance calendar here. You can also visit the Roger Rockas Facebook page and the Good Company Players’ Facebook page for more information. Other upcoming shows this year include “Hello Dolly!”, “My Fair Lady,” and “Camelot” so there’s plenty of music and fun to be had!
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