Ain’t Missin’ Dinner! Returns to Chautauqua County

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Ain’t Missin’ Dinner! cast members rehearsing the upcoming production (L to R): Merle Szydlo (Dottie Mae), Jamie Lee Bonfiglio Davis (Gloria), JoAnn Liffner (Inga), Adam Owens (Bill)

Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care

Full disclosure….

I love AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER!

I’ve seen four different productions of AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER!

I produced two of those four productions of AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER!

I can’t wait for the new production of AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! soon to be produced as a fund raiser for Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care.

I’m a Hospice volunteer and am helping to bring AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! back to Chautauqua County.

Now that you know all that, let me give you information that will entice you to join in the fun; I hope you won’t be missin’ AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! 

In 1989 my wife and I formed Terreberry Productions and our first venture was a presentation of AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER!  The play’s author, our friend Tom Andolora, produced the play at the Shipping Dock Theatre in Rochester and after we experienced the play there, we knew that it would be a hit in Jamestown. Our presentation occurred at the Dolly Madison Room in what was then called the Common’s Mall in downtown Jamestown.  Soon after that, our second production of the same play occurred in the Crystal Ballroom in the Hotel Jamestown as a fundraiser for Jamestown’s Temple Hesed Abraham.  Both productions were highly successful with many audience members attending multiple times.

AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! is presented in the cabaret style: no stage as such, actors in the audience presenting directly to the audience, almost void of a storyline. This musical cabaret is very funny and self-affirming.  The cast is having as much fun as the audience. Original music by Andolora and Paul Sportelli easily brings the audience into the environment of the “chubby and proud support group” convention.  The actors and singers welcome the audience into their world.

In 1990, David and Marge Switala, as part of that years’ LucyFest, presented AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! again at the Commons Mall.  This production was also very successful because local theatregoers were anxious for a “replay” of the AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! that they had previously enjoyed.  It was the Switalas who suggested a production of AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! as a fundraiser for Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care.  

“It’s been 28 years since AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! was last produced locally,” said David Switala.  “There are still a great many locals who will remember its unique qualities.  I think it’d be a smash again.”

Back in 1989, Jamestown Post-Journal arts critic Bob Plyer said in his theatrical review that AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! has “the capacity to delight many people”…the songs “don’t overstep the bounds of good taste and stop short of being silly”…he also said that “sobersides, the hoity-toity and the chronically crabby are advised to stay home.”  

So let’s go with the Switalas suggestion, let’s keep in mind the endorsement of Bob Plyler and his admonishment of who should stay home, and you can take my word for it, this upcoming AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER!, with a bit of updating, is sure to please and is sure to be the right venue as a fundraiser for Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care.  I am a long time Hospice volunteer and am excited to be working with my friend Tom and the wonderful cast and crew he has assembled and I, without reservation, encourage you to join in at one of the evenings of production…and speaking of reservations, you can visit www.CHPC.care for more information regarding the show and to make reservations.

There will be four productions of Ain’t Missin Dinner! Two will take place October 5 & 6 at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown. The following week, two productions will be staged on October 12 and 13 in the Williams Center on the SUNY Fredonia campus.

Oh, did I mention dessert?  Dessert is served during intermission, there are door prize and a good time will be had by all.

I managed to say AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! fourteen times (including AIN’T MISSIN’ DINNER! in this sentence) (make that fifteen) because I want you to remember the name of the play, to join us for an evening of cabaret, to support the fine and important work accomplished by your Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care.

“Life is a cabaret old chum.  Come to the cabaret.”