For nearly 40 years, Westchester Broadway Theatre has been giving people dinner with a show.
Starting Monday, they’re giving people dinner with a movie.
On select dates starting Aug. 9, the Elmsford dinner-theater will present a series of movie nights they call “Hollywood and Dine.”
You can still get popcorn and candy with your movie, but WBT is upping the ante, with a full bar and a special menu of pub food made to order and brought to your table.
No more balancing stale nachos with glowing cheese on your lap. No more fumbling for a popcorn bucket in the dark.
The pub menu includes appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and personal pizzas. Desserts include chocolate lava cake, a turtle cheesecake, a hot fudge sundae and apple crisp caramel.
Sounds downright civilized.
And you can order beer, wine or mixed drinks.
“In New York, no movie theater can sell alcohol,” says WBT house manager Steve Calleran, of Shrub Oak, who is driving the series. “We’ll be the only place where you’ll be able to sit and watch a movie and have a drink.”
If you want another round, WBT co-founder Bill Stutler says, you can fill out an order card while the movie is running, put the card on the front of your table and a waiter will fill your order.
“I wish we could take credit for it, but it’s flourishing all over the country,” Calleran says. Texas is dotted with Studio Movie Grill venues, some of which serve six screens from one kitchen, 1,800 dinners a night, he says.
WBT is principally a live theater, though — with multiplexes north and south of it on Route 9A —?which means Calleran can’t show first-run movies.
“We want people to tell us what they want to see,” he says. “We’ll be the only place where you can see a picture that already left a theater and we’ll put it back in a big-screen theater. We’re going to show some movies that generations of people haven’t been able to see on a big screen, like ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail,’ and ‘Chariots of Fire.’
“It is an utterly unique moviegoing experience for this area,” he says.
“Movies just aren’t the same on DVD,” Calleran says. “I’ve got a fairly nice TV at home, but it’s not the same as sitting in a dark room with that bright screen.”
WBT is installing a new 26-foot-wide screen for the series.
Calleran says tickets — which are $8 — can be reserved to secure coveted middle rows in the theater’s 200-seat center section. But reservations aren’t required.
Before the movie starts, they’ll show “Movietone News” newsreels, “Merrie Melodies” shorts and trailers of coming attractions.
Monday’s opening act is 2007’s “Hairspray,” with John Travolta, Christopher Walken and Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad, a big Baltimore girl whose hair defies gravity and whose dancing defies description.
On Aug. 11, it’s “The Hangover,” and on Friday, Aug. 13, WBT will show “Friday the 13th” at a midnight show after a preview performance of the theater’s mainstage show, “Rent.”
Friday’s schedule demonstrates how Stutler and Calleran are approaching this venture, as a novel way to fill the gaps between shows.
Stutler says he has wanted to present the stage musical “White Christmas” for years, only to be denied the rights.
“Maybe we’ll show ‘White Christmas’ the movie on our big screen,” he says with a chuckle. “That’ll show them!”
“Hollywood and Dine” presents an interesting dilemma: What wine to drink while watching “Hairspray”?
There’s a Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks Merlot from California, described as “soft, fragrant and fruity, full of youthful flavors.”
Sounds a bit like Tracy Turnblad.
“Hollywood and Dine”
Here’s the lineup of films for Westchester Broadway Theatre’s “Hollywood and Dine” series.
What: “Hairspray” Aug. 9; “The Hangover” Aug. 11; “Friday the 13th” Aug. 13; “Sweeney Todd” Aug. 23; “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” Aug. 30; “Slumdog Millionaire” Aug. 31; “Invictus” Sept. 13; “The Dark Knight” Sept. 14; “Chariots of Fire” Sept. 15.
When: Doors open at 7; movie starts at 8 p.m. Except Aug. 13 showing of “Friday the 13th,” when doors will open at 11 for a midnight show.
Where: Westchester Broadway Theatre, 1 Broadway Plaza, Elmsford.
Tickets: $8. Full bar and pub menu available.
Photo by Carucha L. Meuse / The Journal News: Steve Calleran, the house manager at Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford, Aug. 2 2010. The Theater is launching “Hollywood and Dine,” a series of movie screenings that will be accompanied by a served pub menu.