The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Care for some dinner with your show?

    There is a place in Eau Claire where it is possible to watch a show while enjoying fine dining, stay at a bed and breakfast and view timeless collectibles. Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre can accommodate longings for dining and quaint decor.

    Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre, located just southwest of Eau Claire at 3919 Crescent Ave., has been providing the Eau Claire area with fine dining and live entertainment since 1978.

    Junior Kaysee Schmidt is performing in Fanny Hill’s current play, “Noises Off,” a spoof on the world of theater, which will run until Nov. 4. The show, Schmidt’s first at the theatre, is about a troupe of actors and what they go through onstage and backstage.

    The company holds open auditions in the fall to cast for all of its shows for the year, Schmidt said. While she is enjoying her time with Fanny Hill, she said it is time-consuming, especially for a full-time theatre major.

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    “It is completely different doing a show for two and a half months versus two weekends,” she said.

    The history of Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre dates back to the late 1960s, general manager Cathy TePaske said. The theatre was first opened as a beer bar and disco in 1968. Because at that time the drinking age in Wisconsin was 18, a bus would come to UW-Eau Claire to shuttle students between campus and the beer bar, TePaske said. A supper club was then added on to the disco.

    In 1978, the dinner theatre, then called Top of the Town Dinner Theatre, was added. Neil Simon’s comedy “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers” was its debut performance. What originally began as a way to offer live entertainment to customers on nights where nothing was booked became the Fanny Hill productions, TePaske said. After disco died, the name was changed to Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre. Fanny Hill added a bed and breakfast in the 1980s, with four additional rooms completed in 1994. The bed and breakfast consists of 11 Victorian-themed rooms.

    Fanny Hill accommodates special occasions such as weddings, family gatherings and corporate events with its banquet facilities. Guests can choose from several different locations, such as the gardens, overlooking the Chippewa River or the ballroom.

    The theatre produces five to seven shows a year, TePaske said. Fanny Hill has hosted 300 performers, putting on more than 140 comedies and musicals, with 7,500 performances for about a million people, according to its Web site.

    Fanny Hill will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2008. The theatre will recap some of its best shows from the last 30 years, starting with “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers” at the end of January. TePaske said she is looking forward to a year of amazing shows to celebrate the anniversary.

    To wrap up the 2007 season, theatre director Don Hodgins will be directing “That’s My Boy,” which he also wrote. Hodgins decided to write his own piece for the Christmas season because he could never find anything that he liked, TePaske said. “That’s My Boy” will be running Nov. 9 through Jan. 27.

    Junior Martha Seroogy said she recently played with her quartet for a wedding at Fanny Hill. Seroogy said the decorations always match the season, which adds to the charm of Fanny Hill.

    “It’s really cozy and cute,” she said.

    Seroogy added that the location of the dinner theater adds to its appeal.

    “It overlooks a beautiful landscape, with lakes and lots of flowers,” she said. “I would have a wedding there.”

    Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre
    3919 Crescent Ave.
    Tickets: Visit the Fanny Hill Web sitefor showtimes and prices, or call (715)836-8184 for tickets.

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    Care for some dinner with your show?