News and Tribune


February 28, 2009

Derby Dinner Playhouse continues success with unique atmosphere in Clarksville

In the realm

To say Derby Dinner Playhouse is among the last of a dying breed would only be partially true.

Yes, Kentucky no longer has a dinner theatre, and the Clarksville location is one of the few in Indiana — with the next closest being in Indianapolis. But Derby Dinner co-owner and producer Bekki Jo Schneider said there’s no lapse in popularity at the entertainment center.

Derby Dinner celebrates its 35th anniversary this year and is still entertaining around 200,000 people annually with a budget of more than $5 million.

Since opening in 1974, Derby Dinner has hosted approximately 6 million people. It currently boasts a record 8,300 season ticket holders for Derby Dinner’s main stage and 2,200 subscribers to the children’s theatre.

According to Schneider, that makes Derby Dinner the fourth most successful dinner theatre in the country.

“We’re never in the dark,” Schneider said of Derby Dinner’s extensive performance schedule. She prides herself on knowing what her audience wants to see.

“Our audience trusts us a lot with shows they don’t know, because they know we will bring them good works,” she said.

And that means Schneider doesn’t have to limit her choices to only a few shows.

Schneider’s role as producer means she handles performance selection, casting, hiring staff and some directing. Lights, sets, props, costumes — Schneider oversees the whole gambit.

She began her career as an actress at age 16 and now at 62, says she has fallen in love with the business side of theatre. “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita” and “Dream Girls” are among Schneider’s favorite musicals that have been performed at Derby Dinner.

How it began

The theatre started after several businessmen decided they wanted a convention center that could host all sorts of entertainment. Windmill Dinner Theatres built and managed the facility in the early going.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Easter 2014 photos

Click on any photo to purchase it.

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
2013 Photos of the year

Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.