Rainbow Dinner Theatre History
On April 4th in 1984, Rainbow Dinner Theatre took its first curtain call. It has been producing Broadway and original comedies ever since. Founders/producers David and Cindy DiSavino were two working actors living in New York City struggling to survive. Their theatrical jobs took them many different places, but nine times out of ten, they were hired to be in a funny. They decided they enjoyed making people laugh, and that it was time to make a business out of it.
Having worked at the Hunterdon Hills Playhouse in New Jersey, they took a lesson from this fine establishment, and its owner and their dear friend Jack O’Brien agreed to share a little of his business expertise and send them on their way to Pennsylvania and a new life. The best advice he gave them was to give the audience an experience to remember, and then they’ll come back for more. Cindy and David have been following that advice ever since.
Their first theatre was located in the banquet room of the Historic Strasburg Inn. The first show was Bernard Slade’s Romantic Comedy, which played one performance a week. They marketed the event and arranged for the actors, costumes, lights, set and even the hosting staff. The restaurant provided the food and wait staff. They learned a lot in the first two years, and the schedule grew from one show to two and sometimes three shows a week. But the Inn was sold and the new owners were not interested in continuing the relationship. David and Cindy had just bought a house and were expecting their first child. Surprise, surprise!
Much to Rainbow’s delight a well-established and highly successful restaurant had heard about their business and offered them a banquet room in which to continue to produce. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Lancaster’s famous Historic Revere Tavern and our dinner theatre. From 1986 un till 1995 Rainbow grew to a five-day-a-week operation, and were sold out almost every day. They grew with the help and support of some fantastic actors and a marvelous office manager; their contribution and that of all the actors, backstage personnel, waiters, cooks and managers who have come since have made Rainbow what it is today.
Through the generosity and faith of the Revere’s owners, plans were made in 1994 to build a larger facility. The high quality of the food would be maintained by the Revere, but Rainbow would take on the responsibility of menu choices, cooking, staffing, wait staff service and building maintenance.
With that giant leap forward, Rainbow had another new beginning. On February 14th 1995, the new theatre opened and the DiSavino’s began to learn a whole new set of skills: managing a restaurant. It’s good thing they have a sense of humor; there have been many things along the way that would make for a wonderful comedy. But in the end, the result is Rainbow Dinner Theatre, a beautiful place where family and friends of all ages come to eat well, and laugh well, and that is a marvelous thing.
To sum it all up, you might say Rainbow takes comedy very seriously, and for our customers, that’s a very good thing.