Dinner Theatre returns to the Clock Tower Resort

Dinner Theatre returns to the Clock Tower Resort


The curtain will again rise on dinner theater productions at the Clock Tower Resort when the new Jubilee Theatre opens its doors March 15.

The theater operated for nearly 30 years at the resort and has been dark for just more than a year. Now, with a new name, new line-up of attractions, and a new producer, the Resort will offer a combination of musicals, revues and comedies, plus late-night revues and children’s theater.

Taking over this ambitious project is theater veteran Don Grant Zellmer, a native of central Illinois. Zellmer owned and operated Zellmer’s Dinner Theater near Peoria for 14 years, where the venue attracted local theater-goers, as well as motor coaches and tours from across the U.S. Zellmer’s holiday show, Holidazzle! A Spectacular Holiday Follies!, played 12 times weekly from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 for 12 years and was consistently rated as one of the top attractions in central Illinois. The Las Vegas-style revue will now cap each season at the Jubilee Theatre, featuring elaborate costumes from Las Vegas and other surprises. Zellmer also created The Roaring 20s Red Garter Revue, which became Peoria’s longest-running musical comedy revue.

Zellmer is a producer, director, choreographer and performer who has operated showrooms and dinner theaters in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. He has returned to Illinois after completing a season performing in Branson, Mo. Last season, he appeared with Mickey Rooney and the Diamonds (“Little Darlin’”), and prior to that he has been the opening act for Barbara Mandrell, The Spinners, Dionne Warwick, Tony Orlando, Louise Mandrell and others.

Zellmer worked for three years out of New York as a producer/director/featured artist for a national production company and has appeared on stages throughout the U.S. in roles such as Harold Hill in The Music Man, P.T. Barnum in Barnum, Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl and the M.C. of the Silver Slipper Las Vegas Revue. With television, film and stage credits, he returned to Illinois in 1984 to open his operation in Peoria. The theater was especially noted for its premier productions and played an 18-month run of Singin’ In The Rain, where 400 gallons of water were piped onto the stage to create the rainstorm.

“We’re very excited about this project,” said Zellmer. “Since the Rockford area supported the dinner theater for so many years, we’re hearing over and over how anxious residents are to have this attraction back as part of the Clock Tower Resort.”

“What we plan to do,” he continued, “is to bring a mixed bag of productions that appeal to a wide variety of patrons. With the excellent dinner packages available through the Clock Tower, combined with a totally unique approach to the project, it’s our hope that the area is delighted with the results.”

As a long-time member of the National Dinner Theatre Association, Zellmer has zeroed in on what pleases audiences. “How can you go wrong with great food, great live entertainment and just an overall great time?” he remarked. “Dinner theater is a total entertainment experience. Each show cannot be all things to all tastes, but the offerings of the season should have something for everyone—from kids to adults, from contemporary to classics. The location, the theater, the resort—it’s a package that can’t be topped!”

The Jubilee Theatre opens with Bandstand USA—The Fabulous Fifties Flashback Show, followed by a comedy, a Broadway musical, then to top the season, Holidazzle! A Spectacular Holiday Follies!. These main stage shows will play for about three months each on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees (more weekly shows will be added for the holiday production).

In addition to the main stage, the Jubilee Theatre will offer Saturday matinee children’s theater productions, beginning with Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. A racy late-night revue is also in the works for Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as a specialty show for Sunday evenings, such as a Country-Western revue for the summer months. Broadway musicals are not announced yet, but a sampling of Zellmer’s prior seasons included a variety of styles such as Sweet Charity, Funny Girl, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Mack & Mabel and Cabaret.

Dinner show guests will dine in the Clock Tower’s popular Bellamy’s Steak and Seafood House prior to the performance, with menu choices such as the new Seafood Buffet or Prime Rib Buffet. Show-only tickets are available as well. Cocktails will be served in the theater lobby prior to the show and at intermission. Group rates with generous discounts are available through the Clock Tower’s sales department and special performances on afternoons and evenings that are not regularly scheduled show dates will be made available for groups.

With a March 15 opening date, the Jubilee Theatre is offering gift certificates for gift-giving. The gift certificates are valid for the entire 2003 season and may be purchased at the Clock Tower Resort.

With an ambitious season and high excitement, the Jubilee Theatre at the Clock Tower Resort promises to be the city’s newest and most exciting entertainment destination. Information: Call Don Grant Zellmer at 229-4033.

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