Arts | Tibbie's Center Stage Fontana
By: Ashley Solis
When one thinks of dinner theatre, the city of Fontana probably doesn’t come to mind. Well, after this article, we are sure it will! This past weekend we were fortunate enough to enjoy a three course meal, drinks, and a live show in an art deco style theatre in the heart of the city called Tibbie’s Center Stage Fontana. The theatre's building was constructed in 1937 by one of the best known theatrical architects at the time, Carl H. Boller. It was originally a one-screen movie theatre. After the movie theatre closed in the 1950s, the building was used for various businesses such as an Elks Lodge, a roller skating rink, a tea shop and a stationary store.
The City of Fontana decided to renovate the theatre in 2008. Six and half million dollars later, Tibbie's Center Stage Fontana was born. The theatre maintains its original charm while housing today’s best production technology. Center Stage has a range of shows including the TIBBIES series, the Broadway series, the Great American Cabaret and other special events. While Center Stage offers one of the best dinner theatres in the Inland Empire, it is also available for private events including weddings, parties, fundraisers, award ceremonies and much more.
When we first arrived at Center Stage, we parked in the lot directly behind the theatre. As we made our way to the front entrance, my partner and I could feel our excitement bubbling up. Sharing a love for historical architecture, we immediately noticed the art deco-esque details on the outside of the building. As we turned the corner, the blinking lights and marquee were intoxicating, and in that moment we both knew it was going to be a great night!
We walked up shortly before they allowed the guests into the main theatre. We received our table number from a bubbly girl at the front desk, and we made our way over to the full bar in the lobby to enjoy a drink while we waited. With drinks in hand, we made our way near the baby grand piano. We sat and chatted on a circular red sofa. A few moments later, the staff invited the guests into the theatre. Upon entering the dim lit dinner theatre, it felt as if we had been transported back in time.
We quickly found our reserved table and watched as the red velvet curtain was slightly raised, revealing a live band playing music while we took in all there was to see. The servers, who were also members of the cast, immediately took our order for appetizers and more drinks. It truly felt like we were in the 1930s, enjoying the evening. It felt almost wrong to take out our cell phones to snap some shots for this article!
The show we saw was Hooray for Hollywood, which featured music from films over the years. Right before dinner was served, the entire cast went up to the stage and sung to us that it was “Salad Time!” We found this so charming and quirky! After devouring the Caesar Salad, our pre-ordered dinner was delivered to our table—Prime Rib for my date and Chicken for me! Once the show started, it was non-stop entertainment. The songs ranged from the movie “Singing in the Rain” and “Austin Powers” to “Mama Mia!”
Our personal favorite segment was the rendition of “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” by the 1940s group, the Andrews Sisters. The three performers were dressed in WWII inspired uniforms and sung around one vintage microphone. Perfection! The entire cast was full of energy and talent. Another amazing moment was as Marissa Cottrell came out in a little black dress to sing “I Will Always Love You” from the movie The Bodyguard. Cottrel flawlessly belted out Whitney Houston’s famous song, and it was nothing short of spectacular. Right before intermission, the cast announced that it was “Dessert Time” in full song and dance. Overall, we enjoyed the casts' talent, costume changes and sense of humor.
This is the last weekend to experience Hooray for Hollywood. We recommend checking it out, as you won’t be disappointed! You don’t have to travel to Los Angeles for this caliber of dinner theatre. Tibbies Center Stage Fontana is gearing up for their 2015/2016 season.
Tibbie's Center Stage Fontana is located at 8463 Sierra Avenue in Fontana. For more information on upcoming productions call (909) 429-7469 or visit them at centerstagefontana.com.
Full Disclosure: Tibbie's Center Stage Fontana provided us with two complimentary tickets for the show, however all opinions are 100% our own.