“The GPS is telling me to turn here,” said my husband Travis. “Is this it?”
I’d been so busy selecting songs on my phone to play on the drive from Joplin to Carthage that I’d neglected my duties as navigator. Thank goodness Google Maps had been paying attention.
I glanced up to see a light brown building on top of a hill, nestled among several pine trees. A sign by the street read “Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre.”
“This is it,” I said.
We had tickets for the Saturday evening performance of Mind Over Matt, a play by Scott Haan. The doors opened at 6:00 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the performance at 7:30 p.m. Travis and I arrived shortly before dinner and, honestly, I was wondering how we would pass an entire hour before the play started. After all, we didn’t know anyone there.
We handed our tickets to the usher who led us to our table. We were seated with six other people; half of them had been coming there for years, and the other half were newbies, just like us. I thought it might be awkward being seated at a table of strangers, but conversation came easily – and even lead to a serendipitous moment.
About ten minutes after we were seated, a man sat down between Travis and the “regular” couple, whom he was meeting there. He looked familiar to me, and I mentally tried to place him. When that didn’t work (thanks a lot, memory), I started asking him questions to figure out where our paths might have crossed.
It finally dawned on me that I’d seen him at Joplin’s Stained Glass Theatre. His name is Karl Wendt, and he and his wife Shannon had performed songs at a children’s theater production (which they also directed) that we’d taken our daughter to see. When I told Karl I’d written a blog post about our experience at that performance, he said he knew that because he had just been reading that very post earlier that day. How cool is that?
Shortly after that aha! moment, a server came by with our first course, and Karl introduced us to her; she was his wife Shannon who was volunteering as a server at Stone’s Throw that evening. Up until that point, I wasn’t aware that the theater is a not-for-profit organization run completely by volunteers. As I observed the volunteers that night, I could tell that they were passionate about their cause by the way they attentively and enthusiastically served the guests; they genuinely wanted everyone to have a great time.
Dinner service began with a Caesar salad, topped with fresh Parmesan cheese.
The home-style entree was Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, whiskey glazed carrots, and a flaky dinner roll. It was simple and delicious.
If you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, you can let them know when you make your reservations and they will accommodate your needs.
Wine and beer tokens are available at the box office for those who are interested, and guests can purchase up to two tokens each.
Before I knew it, the dinner hour was over and the play began. Even though our table was near the back, we could still see and hear everything, thanks to the intimate size of the theater.
The production’s engaging cast consisted of local actors who put their all into their roles and played them with an energy equal to that of the theater’s volunteers.
The actors in Mind Over Matt portrayed different aspects of the main character Matt’s personality, kind of like the animated movie Inside Out. It was witty and quick-paced.
At intermission, dessert was served: warm peach cobbler bathed in cinnamon ice cream. It was dreamy.
It was a great night; give me good food and quality entertainment and I’m one happy lady.
Considering that the theater charges just $26 per adult* for a fun and unique Saturday night, I think that Stone’s Throw is a hidden gem in our area.
But, thankfully, my GPS can find it.
*Stone’s Throw pricing as of 10/17: Adults (19-54) $26.00; Seniors (55 and up) $23.00; Student (w/ID) $22.00; Youth (13-18) $21.00; Children (6-12) $12.00; Children (under 5) free.
To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.