Experience the magic that happens when live theater meets up with tasty food

Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where multitasking has become the norm. The practice of doing multiple things simultaneously, however, can have benefits beyond the inevitable saving of time.

Take, for example, dinner theater, where two wonderful forms of entertainment converge in one glorious and delicious evening. The dinner-and-a-show twofer has come a long way since its early beginnings in the Middle Ages. Here, we celebrate five places in Virginia that let your group have their cake, er dinner, and theater too.

Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre in Virginia

Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia, Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre offers Broadway-style musicals paired with traditional German dishes and classic American fare. Audiences are seated in comfy lounge-style chairs and are served a four-course meal prepared by their in-house chef. Following dinner, guests can take in a lively musical featuring large production numbers and intricately choregraphed dance routines. Upcoming shows include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat, Million Dollar Quartet and Fiddler on the Roof. Neighboring Matterhorn Restaurant & Biergarten is a great spot for a pre-show drink with its extensive selection of domestic and imported beers and wines.

Swift Creek Mill, CREDIT Photo by Steve Koehler

Swift Creek Mill, CREDIT Photo by Steve Koehler

Virginia’s Swift Creek Mill Dinner Theatre in South Chesterfield

Since 1965, Swift Creek Mill Theatre has been offering its unique take on dinner theater in a historic grist mill turned distillery turned playhouse. The Mill, a not-for-profit organization, has become an important member of the community through its youth theater, educational programs, utilization of local talent and engaging entertainment. Upcoming shows include musical Keep It on the Sunny Side and The Sweet Delilah Swim Club. Head to the Cabaret for a variety of live musical performances. Swift Creek Mill is celebrated for its soul-soothing comfort food as well as menus inspired by their corresponding performances. Pre-show dining is offered in the Mill Room or Granite Room.

Riverside Center for the Performing Arts in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Since it opened in 1998 with a performance of Oklahoma!, Riverside Center for the Performing Arts has featured more than 100 mainstage musical and dramatic productions and more than 120 musical adaptations of popular children’s stories for their Children’s Theater. The space offers 36,000 square feet of dinner theater and conference center and has attracted performers from Broadway stages and national tour casts, earning multiple awards in the process. In 2023, look for lively, professional performances of Ragtime The Musical, 42nd Street, The Bridges of Madison County and Miracle on 34th Street. Dinner theater patrons are treated to a chef-prepared, three-course meal themed around the productions.

Virginia Repertory Theatre Barefoot in the Park, CREDIT Photo by Aaron Sutten

Virginia Repertory Theatre Barefoot in the Park, CREDIT Photo by Aaron Sutten

Virginia Repertory Theatre at Hanover Tavern in Hanover

Part pub, restaurant, historic center and home of the 155-seat Bradley Theater, there’s a lot going on at Hanover Tavern. Licensed in 1733, Hanover Tavern has since led many lives, including as part of a plantation and lodging to several big-name visitors. In 1953, six New York actors founded Central Virginia’s first professional theater, Barksdale Theatre, and went on to present plays from the era’s most progressive writers. In its current iteration, Hanover Tavern is home to a merger between Barksdale Theater and Theatre IV becoming Virginia Repertory Theatre. Enjoy Southern-style cooking and a quaint setting in the pub before heading to the theater to see a heartwarming comedy or small musical.

Virginia’s Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show in Virginia Beach

At America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner theater anyone, and that includes guests, are part of the show and fun. From the start of the evening at The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show, actors are hidden in the audience adding to the mystery part of the evening’s events. Throughout the night, a crime occurs, hidden clues will be revealed, and the “detectives” will help everyone try and crack the case. Solve the case and win a prize. All that sleuthing is accompanied by a stellar three-course meal with a wide selection of beer, wine and cocktails available for additional purchase.

Virginia has some other theaters for travelers experience, along with plenty other attractions and activities to enjoy. If you’d like to get more travel ideas for Virginia and beyond, just Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel magazine for FREE and get even more travel information. 

By Lisa Shames