Richard Shaffer wants to make Mt. Pleasant?s Veteran?s Center the place to be in town. That begins on Friday with the opening of the Windmill Dinner Theatre.
?We?re going to turn (the Veteran?s Center) into a real social venue,? said Shaffer. ?Our plan is to create a series of events every month, starting with our St. Patrick?s Day event.?
Although St. Patrick?s Day isn?t until Saturday, the Windmill Dinner Theatre will commence on Friday, March 16. Dinner will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and showtime will kick off at 8 p.m.
Shaffer said the idea to open a dinner theatre in Mt. Pleasant had kind of always been there.
?In a former life, when I used to live in Phoenix, Ariz., before I relocated here, there was an operation in Scottsdale called the Windmill Dinner Theatre. It was the only place in Arizona where members of the actors union called Actors Equity (performed).?
Shaffer said he took over the Arizona dinner theatre when it needed a little love. Within a year-and-a-half he had turned the joint around and even had the opportunity to meet stars such as Katherine Hepburn. However, the theatre eventually sold and Shaffer?s tenure with the venue ended.
Eventually he moved to Mt. Pleasant and when he saw the renovated Community Hall in the Veteran?s Center he knew it could be a great venue.
One of the reasons he wanted to hold the dinner theatre in the Veteran?s Center is to help clear up a common misconception. ?We?re trying to get it out of people?s heads you have to be a service member to go to the Veteran?s Hall,? he said.
The second reason he wanted to open the Windmill Dinner Theatre is because there?s nothing like it in town. ?We want the people of Henry County to know there?s always something to look forward to at the Veteran?s Hall,? he said.
Each month, the dinner theatre will serve up some local entertainment as well as a great meal, Shaffer said.
On Friday, the menu will include St. Patrick Day staples like corned beef and cabbage. Not a fan of corned beef and cabbage? No problem, Shaffer says. The buffet also will have Maid Rites. This month the stage will feature local musicians.
This is another component to the dinner theatre that Shaffer is excited about. Shaffer foresees the dinner theatre as a place up-and-coming musicals and comedy acts can get their start. The Windmill Dinner Theatre is holding auditions for anyone that would like to join the house band or try out their stage acts.
Shaffer is excited to bring the dinner theatre to life on Friday and can?t wait to share some ?good, family fun? with the residents of Mt. Pleasant.
The Veteran?s Center is located at 300 W. Monroe St., in downtown Mt. Pleasant. Tickets for the event are available at Brown?s Shoe Fit.