Shanes Gourmet ramps up entertainment schedule

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Entertainers from Shanes Dinner Theatre perform Mayhem at the 5 Aces Casino Feb. 14, 2013. From left are Sarah Gehring, William Haynes, Heather Caldwell and Michael Galusick. The show is one of two that rotate at the venue which is adding more entertainment offerings.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The owners of Shanes Gourmet are trying to turn the facility into a premier entertainment destination on the South Side.

Already home to Cloak & Dagger Dinner Theater, the venue has added improv and stand-up comedy on Wednesday nights and Burlesque: The Musical, a jukebox musical with popular songs, on Thursday nights. Salsa dancing and bingo are also in the offing.

"I would hope by April we will have entertainment seven nights a week," said Scott Morit, managing partner of the 150-seat Shanes, 447 E. Livingston Ave., just east of German Village.

It all started in January, when Shanes purchased Cloak & Dagger, a murder mystery theater that moved to the facility about two years ago.

Morit said the entertainment had become dull and he wanted to ramp up the production schedule. So, the theater now rotates two shows, Mayhem at the 5 Aces Casino and Let's Kill the Boss.

"I wanted to keep it fresh," he said. "I wanted to keep two shows running. I wanted to keep it fast-paced."

Cloak & Dagger, which was located at the Morse Banquet and Conference Center in Northland for 14 years, but moved three years ago, will add an early Sunday show starting in April.

Dinner service has changed, too. While patrons still are served salads, drinks and desserts, Shanes Gourmet now offers a dinner buffet, which has streamlined the dining process.

"I think it was really tall order to have actors be proper servers," Morit said. "That was an issue."

Morit said the expansion of Nationwide Children's Hospital and improvements along Parsons Avenue and in nearby neighborhoods encouraged him to strengthen the entertainment aspect of the business, which still offers dine-in catering services during the afternoons and non-event nights.

"I've watched this area go from scary to pretty nice," Morit said. "With that, and knowing there's nothing else around here doing what we're doing, it just really made sense to me."

Steve Emerson, the artistic director for Cloak & Dagger, said the murder-mystery shows have some colorful language and adult themes, but otherwise are safe for younger audiences.

"It's theater for a wide range of tastes," Emerson said.

"You could conceivably take your 10-year-old child and your 80-year-old grandmother and enjoy it yourself," he said. "How many things out there are like that anymore? They don't exist."

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