Inside The Lion’s Share Theater, the seats are arranged around eight or so dining tables carefully arranged into an irregularly shaped room. The stage is a roughly 5-foot-by-7-foot area rug at the back of the room with the backdrop of a curtained doorway. Even though it sounds rudimentary, the quality of the performances staged at The Lion’s Share shouldn’t be underestimated.
The theater and creative arts center’s owners, Jim and Joan Becker, are contagiously passionate about all forms of creative expression. Both have spent the better part of their lives involved in the arts in some way, whether teaching, directing, performing or writing plays and other performances. Though the Beckers are now both in their late 60s and retired several years ago, they’ve still felt the need to continue sharing their love for the arts with others, especially young people.
“Our mindset is that if we have something to offer the world we keep going as long as we are successful and enjoy it,” says Jim Becker.
At The Lion’s Share, a quaint, olive-green colored, 1904 Victorian home on the eastern edge of the West Central neighborhood, the Beckers not only stage dinner theater performances, but also teach children’s theater camps, visual arts classes and other special events.
For the past several weeks, the couple has been preparing their Valentine’s Day-themed dinner theater performance, The Heart of Jimmy Valentine, a three-act play written by Jim Becker based on a short love story by O. Henry. Four of the play’s five-person cast are aspiring, college-age actors, and the fifth member is a local nine-year-old girl who’s performed in several Lion’s Share productions.
Before the play and between each act, guests of the upcoming show will be served a four-course meal with all the sophistication of a five-star hotel.
“The point is to do it with elegance,” says Joan Becker. “We make it very sophisticated with china and crystal and candlelight, and we tell people to dress up.”
The Heart of Jimmy Valentine • Feb. 8-10 at 6 pm • $40, reservations required • The Lion’s Share Theatre • 1627 N. Atlantic St. • lionaround.org • 327-1113