A visit to the Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre is a nostalgic trip back to the golden age of dinner theater. Lazy Susan was around when the so-called "chow-biz" was in its heyday in the Washington area. When the venerable Lazy Susan Inn, a family restaurant since 1955, began operating its dinner theater in the early '70s, the region was soon alive with competition, from the Hayloft Dinner Theatre in Manassas, Va., to Petrucci's in Laurel, Md. The Hayloft and Petrucci's, like many others, are now defunct but the Lazy Susan plays on.
Perched atop the hills above the Occoquan River north of Woodbridge, Va., the theater has survived with few outwardly significant changes in the operation. The exterior is a low-slung, faded and rambling structure like so many roadside restaurants along southbound highways, before the construction of the interstate. Inside, the dining and theater area is dark as a bar, tables arranged before a wide-but-shallow stage, with the rear tables raised a few steps for a better vantage point.
As in the old days, actors wait the tables, bringing drinks and coffee, while patrons fetch their own food from an adjoining buffet room. The food is abundant and tastes homemade. Many of the four shows a season are musicals accompanied by taped background orchestrations, but, of course, the singing is live.
The party atmosphere generated by the buffet -- and undoubtedly the cash bar -- always makes for a good time.
-- Leonard Hughes
Schedule of Performances:
"The Pajama Game" -- March 30-July 17
A musical comedy about an impending strike in a pajama factory.
"Something's Afoot" -- July 20-Oct. 16
A musical mystery.
"Sound of Music" -- Oct. 19-Dec. 31
The timeless story about a governess of seven musically inclined children.