MESA, AZ - Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre fans, you can finally put the question to rest: No, the Broadway Palm is not coming back.
Instead, The Palms Theatre has opened in its place.
Signs for The Palms are up at Brown and Higley roads in Mesa, where the new venue, owned and operated by Prather Entertainment Group — the same that ran the Broadway Palm — will begin selling tickets to the public on Oct. 5. Pre-sale tickets are available through Oct. 4 to previous Broadway Palm subscribers.
"It's much more versatile in that we're going to be doing musicals, concerts and comedy, and we'll be opening to local community and high school productions and doing much more community outreach," says Tom Prather, head of the venue.
Four Broadway musicals are planned through May 2014 for The Palms' main stage, where a handsome carved-wood proscenium — added when the space was leased in 2012-2013 by the short-lived Silver Star Playhouse — frames the performance space.
As in the old Broadway Palm days, buffet dinners will be available with the show experience, but Saturday-night performances will feature a more upscale served dinner of prime rib or chicken.
A new row of two-person tables near the stage, in the theater's A section, will be available for $35 per seat for guests who opt not to dine. Seating in another section close to the stage, the B section, has been divvied up to create more tables for couples.
Three children's shows, with professional actors, full-scale sets, costumes and lighting, are also in the lineup. After each show, the cast will answer questions from the audience, sign autographs and take pictures with kids.
In The Palms' smaller Marquee Theatre, nearly 20 concerts, from The Osmonds to The Piano Man: The Music of Billy Joel and Elton John, are slated.
A massive new box office and bar fashioned in the same impressive wood craftsmanship as the main stage arch will be new to patrons who haven't visited since the Broadway Palm closed in July 2012. Prather says plans are under way to add a player piano to the bar area and host Friday-night gatherings there with the cast of the show playing in the theater.
On the first Friday of every musical production, the theater will partner with a local organization to help that group fundraise. The group will get 150 tickets to sell for $50, and it will get to keep $38 from each ticket sold.
The venue will also be open to school and community performance troupes to mount their productions, and a large backstage rehearsal space will be available to them.
"We want this to be Mesa's community theater center," says Prather.
If you go
What: The Palms Theatre, a new venue offering musicals, concerts, comedy, children's theatre, and buffet and served meals, in the old Broadway Dinner Palm Theatre building.
When: Tickets go on sale Oct. 5 to the general public. See website for production titles, times and dates.
Where: 5247 E. Brown Road, Mesa Cost: Ticket prices vary.
Information: (480) 924-6260 or ThePalmsTheatre.com