Quality theatre close to home: Desiderio’s offers theatric innovation
“We started dinner theatre at our place on William St. 25 years ago,” said owner Jay Desiderio. “Right when I graduated from college, I got a degree in theatre, and decided to put my knowledge of theatre with the restaurant, and mix them together.”
This year, some interesting productions are planned. Running until May 20 is “Let’s Murder Marcia,” a comedy.
“We try not to make the shows too cerebral,” Desiderio said. “It’s a fast paced, quick-dialogue comedy."
In the hilarious play, a young wife thinks her husband is planning her murder, but in reality he is just planning her birthday surprise. The wife is extremely paranoid, overhears her husband’s conversation and interprets it as a murder plot. So naturally, she plans his murder in return and mayhem begins. The show runs until May 20.
On May 4 and 5 the Paul Pope Band will take the Lancaster Ale House Stage, and this Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15, Franco Corso will present his renowned tribute to Andrea Bocelli and friends.
“We fly him in from Florida and he does a tribute to Andrea Bocelli and friends,” Desiderio said. “His voice is so dynamic and exclusive here to Desiderio’s."
Desiderio first heard Corso’s voice in Florida, and “knew that Western New York was ready for him.” Individuals on the board for the Italian Festival insisted that Corso come and sing for them as well, after hearing him sing at Desiderio’s.
On April 27 and 28, “Poison Ivy,” a murder-mystery that includes active audience participation, will be presented. Desiderio’s friend Joel Weiss, who is also one of “Western New York’s best educators” according to Desiderio, wrote “Poison Ivy.”
“People come for dinner at 6 p.m., at 6:30 the cast mingles with audience, at 7:30 the cast takes the stage. There are different endings to the show, as they unravel the mystery,” Desiderio said.
For those who endure migraines thanks to the downsides of frequenting the downtown Buffalo entertainment district, like expensive parking lots, Desiderio’s offers theatre that is just as great only closer to home.
“People think it’s great that they’ve got some of the greatest theatre in Western New York right in their backyard,” Desiderio said. “People from all over come to our corner of the sky on Broadway and Bowen. It’s an alternative to just going out to dinner or to a sports event.”
Jay Desiderio’s brother, Bob, is a highly-regarded chef in Western New York, and following dinner they have a large stage play under the same roof.
“That’s what’s unique about it,” Desiderio said. “Both Bob and I laugh and dine and cry with the audience.”
Ever since the duo began working at their father’s original location on William St., they knew it would be their brotherly ambition to run their own place. Now, they are doing do, with unique creative flair and inspiration.
“We are proud and satisfied, not to mention the gratification you get when you hear the audience laugh and cry," Desiderio said, speaking of the cathartic reactions he has seen from his audience. “We both direct and produce the shows and food. It’s a wonderful evening for all concerned. It’s great to bring people from all over Western New York to our community.”