The Herald Bulletin

February 9, 2013

Theater on the Edge

Restaurant, singer producing dinner theater in Anderson

By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Food and entertainment are an obvious match but Madison County doesn’t have a lot of options that provide a “one-stop shop” for the two, Rick Vale said.

But a partnership between singer Vale and The Edge restaurant has created a new entertainment destination for Anderson.

Kris Sandman, general manager of The Edge, formerly Edgewood Golf and Dining, approached Vale during an Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra performance asking the musician about the two joining forces to bring dinner theater and entertainment to her facility.

“It all just came together,” Vale said of Theatre on The Edge. “The restaurant will be the venue, and I’ll be the producer, director and designer. This is a great thing for the community, The Edge and our local artists.”

The season of dinner concerts and theatre opens with the 6:30 p.m. Friday performance of “Swingin’ Songs of Love” with Vale and the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra. Tickets are $25 per person and include dinner, a glass of wine and a dance.

“When we are in times of economic upheaval, people tend to get sucked into a kind of depressive vortex,” he said. “The arts have a very special gift of being able to not necessarily help people escape but to help them cope and keep their head above water during those difficult times.”

The performances through the year include “An Evening of Black and White” with the Sara Scharbrough Trio, a Father’s Day brunch with singer-songwriter Paul White, a dessert theatre with Anderson’s Mainstage Theatre’s production of Nora Ephron’s “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” murder mystery dinner theater and “Rick Vale’s Christmas Cabaret.”

Sandman said she is excited to be working with Vale to bring another unique offering to The Edge.

“We have a lot of things to offer,” she said, pointing out the facility is open to the public. “This is one more opportunity for people to enjoy The Edge. These six performances will appeal to everyone.”

Theatre on The Edge provides big city entertainment right here at home, Sandman said.

“I’m excited about giving our local talented artists exposure and guests coming the opportunity to have a magical evening,” she said. “It is going to be fabulous.”

Vale said Theatre on The Edge’s schedule is working around the schedule of other art performances throughout the community  so they limit conflicts as well as being able to use resources like sets, costumes and actors from other organizations like Mainstage.

One of the biggest challenges for dinner theater has always been maintaining high-quality food and entertainment, Vale said. Since he is bringing talented performers into an already established restaurant, Vale said the partnership couldn’t be any better.

“The quality of food is going to be much higher than it is at Beef and Boards and the quality of entertainment just as good if not better,” Vale said. “This is the best scenario you could imagine. And there is nothing else like this in Madison County.”

The shows will be performed in the center banquet facility at The Edge providing seating for up to 150 people. Friday’s show will feature the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra along with Vale and Lydia McAdams as vocalists. They will be performing love songs from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. During dinner there will be background music and the concert and dance will follow.

“This has success written all over it,” Vale said. “I’m so excited about this opportunity for our community. Great food, wonderful entertainment and it is all in one place where you can enjoy it right here at home with your neighbors.”

White said he’s excited to be a part of Theatre on The Edge pointing out the venue is “beautiful” and a “comfortable setting” for both performers and the audience.

“Any live performance, especially those in more intimate venues, I love,” he said. “This space will give people the opportunity to have a more casual and intimal experience, especially in a dinner theater setting rather than a more formal performance in a big hall.”

Find Abbey Doyle on Facebook and @heraldbulletin on Twitter, or call 640-4805.