Amana – The Iowa Theatre Artists Company (ITAC) together with the Ox Yoke Inn® have created a very special “Dinner plus Theatre” summer package in Amana with the ITAC comedy, Dates With A Nut. Reservations are being accepted at the Ox Yoke Inn® for a unique dining and theatre experience. While the meal is served at the restaurant, patrons will then travel to the theatre for their dessert and the show. Dates With A Nut is an original comedy by ITAC co-producers, Thomas P. Johnson and Meg Merckens, both of South Amana. The play takes place in a “party room at a midwestern restaurant,” which prompted discussions earlier this year between the ITAC staff and Bill Leichsenring, Owner of the Ox Yoke Inn®. “We’ve had a great time coming up with the menu and logistics for this first-time partnership of our two businesses,” states Johnson. “We think our audience will enjoy having a great meal at the Ox Yoke and then coming over to ITAC for pie at our “restaurant” on stage. Not to mention that the play is really, really funny.”
The comedy tells the story of a middle-aged widower who reluctantly re-enters the dating scene via an internet dating service. He sets up one disastrous date after another at his favorite café, where a hard boiled, but soft hearted waitress becomes his self-appointed dating coach. Adding to the fun, Merckens portrays Dori, the waitress at the restaurant, as well as all four of William’s misfit dates. Tom Milligan of West Amana, a well-known actor in the area, is performing the role of William. The play is directed by Johnson with sound design by Austin Taft (Cedar Falls).
Dates With A Nut first premiered in 2006 at the Depot Stage in Amana. Over the years it has undergone revisions and updating as the world of internet dating has changed with the times. “We just couldn’t resist adding comments about the numerous commercials and dating sites that have emerged since we first wrote the script,” explains Merckens. “Having the opportunity to put this original piece back on stage has allowed us to edit and keep the script fresh and up-to-date. Adding the dinner and theatre combination has been great fun. I’ll be waiting tables again during the dessert portion of the show, just like the early days of my acting career,” she laughs.
Dates With A Nut opens on Friday, July 24 and runs through August 9 and then again from August 21-30. The weekend of August 14-16 will be dark. Reservations are required and may be purchased by calling the Ox Yoke Inn® at (319) 622-3441. Dinner and Theatre Packages are $45 for all performances. The performances are scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinées at 2:30 pm. Theatre-Only Tickets are available only at the Sunday matinées. The price of a Theatre-Only Ticket is $25.
The Iowa Theatre Artists Company is a small, not-for-profit professional theatre, located in the former Amana Barn Restaurant building. Information about upcoming offerings can be found on the website: iowatheatreartists.org The Ox Yoke Inn® is a national historic Landmark and is celebrating its 75th Anniversary of serving Old World German and American recipes in the Amana Colonies.
At A Glance:
What: Dates With A Nut – A Romance.Com(edy)
Where: Iowa Theatre Artists Company
4709 220th Trail Amana, Iowa 52203
When: July 24 – August 9 and August 21-30
Days/Times: Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm
Sundays at 2:30 pm (Dinner + Theatre patrons should arrive 90 minutes before show time at the Ox Yoke Inn®
Call: (319) 622-3441 (Reservations Required)