It was a big weekend for one of Southwest Florida’s premiere theaters. Broadway Palm Dinner Theater celebrates 30 years in Fort Myers with a big party and official proclamation from the city. In addition, it was opening weekend for the theater’s new show ‘Hairspray.” The anniversary party was originally planned for the first weekend of last October. However, Hurricane Ian made the theater pivot from performances to a staging area for relief efforts.

Theater owner Will Prather hosted a big party Saturday night. Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson presented an official proclamation, naming the day Broadway Palm Dinner Theater Day. Then the curtain went up on “Hairspray” and it was excellent. The show is high-energy, lively, funny, and poignant. The cast is full of talented singers, dancers and actors. I had a smile on my face nearly the entire time. It runs through the end of next month. Go see it.

Before opening Broadway Palm, the Prather family operated (and still do) the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Prather’s were considered trailblazers in the local arts community when they renovated an old Publix Supermarket to open their new venue at Royal Palm Square on Colonial Blvd. In addition to the dinner theater, there is “Off Broadway Palm Theater” for smaller productions.

When Broadway Palm first opened, they had a mere 25 employees. Today, that number is well over 100. There is a bar in the lobby that has become a local hangout for some, even those who are not attending a show.

Broadway Palm 30 years

It’s not just the excellent shows that keep people coming back. It’s also the dinner buffet loaded with savory selections including a signature prime rib. Dessert carts are loaded with house made treats and an ice cream Sunday bar. Saturday night, there was a special cart with some of the Bubble Room’s most famous cakes. The Bubble Room is an iconic Captiva Island restaurant that was badly damaged by Hurricane Ian.  The restaurant used the theaters kitchen for months as a pop up site to distribute their desserts on the weekends.

Congratulations Will, your family and staff. Thank you for providing our community with such great entertainment, as escape from the world, for the last three decades. Broadway Palm Dinner Theater celebrates 30 years in Fort Myers and here are some photos

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