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Exclusive dinner theater opening in Downtown Knoxville

KNOXVILLE — A brand new theater company will offer a unique entertainment concept in downtown Knoxville in August.

The Square Room Dinner Theatre will open with a presentation of “Barefoot in the Park,” a classic play by Neil Simon, at the Square Room in Market Square on August 7-8 at 6 p.m.

The Square Room Dinner Theatre is Knoxville’s only theater company that provides a quality theatrical play and a four-course dining experience. It will be catered by Café 4 in the Square Room. Local actor and Square Room Dinner Theater Producer Mark Jennings developed the concept when he saw a niche for dinner entertainment in downtown Knoxville.

“Dinner theater seemed to be a logical fit for the Square Room. Knoxville is very supportive of its local artists, and every night, downtown is packed with people looking for entertainment,” said Jennings. “The Square Room Dinner Theater will be the perfect fit for couples, groups of friends and families looking for an upscale, fun night out in downtown.”

The pre-fixe menu, catered by Café 4, will feature four-courses: a cheese tray, choice of soup or salad, choice of entrée and New York-style cheesecake. The doors will open at 6 p.m., and guests are encouraged to order by 6:30 p.m. to guarantee service before the show begins on the Square Room stage at 7:30 p.m.

“We’ve assembled a talented group to kick off this concept,” said Jennings. “A few months ago, I approached Café 4 owner Lori Klonaris about partnering with us to provide the venue and the menu. I selected a beloved play, brought in talented director and Clarence Brown Theatre House Manager David Ratliff, and cast Knoxville’s best local actors.”

Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” is a romantic comedy set in New York City in the 1960s. The play follows two newlyweds: Paul, a conservative lawyer played by Alex Gherardi, and Corie, an easygoing housewife played by Kathryn Wright.

The couple learns how to make a marriage work as they move in to a five-story New York City walk-up apartment. The hilarity culminates in uptight Paul kicking off his shoes and learning to run barefoot in the park. “Barefoot in the Park” was brought to the silver screen in the popular 1967 film adaptation with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

“After our initial production, we hope to expand this concept to schedule a few shows a year at the Square Room,” said Jennings. “I already have several more great plays and musical reviews in mind for the coming months, so be on the lookout on the Square Room website and social media for more announcements.”

Rounding out the cast are local favorites Gayle Greene, Joe Jaynes and Brandon Gibson.

Tickets to the show are $45 and include both dinner and a show. Tickets must be purchased in advance online at, by calling the Square Room box office at 865-544-4144, or in person at the barista counter in Café 4 at 4 Market Square.

Published July 23, 2014

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