Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Toby's Dinner Theatre in Columbia, MD

On December 4, 1979 Toby Barbara Orenstein opened her namesake Toby's Dinner Theatre in Columbia, MD.

But in conjunction with her Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts (CCTA), Toby Orenstein is a part of the unique fabric and history of the Columbia and Howard County community, serving children as young as 3 years of age.

Serving the Community
A few years earlier she had been recruited by visionary Columbia founder Jim Rouse to establish the CCTA as a non-profit school for children in the theatrical arts, where she remains the artistic director today.

In 1979 she approached Rouse with a proposal to establish her own dinner theatre, and Toby's still stands in the woods behind Merriweather Post Pavilion next to the "South Entrance Road" exit from US-29, near the Mall in Downtown Columbia.

CCTA has produced many talented performers who have gone on to careers in the music and theater industries (including current Broadway star Caroline Bowman, a Glenelg High School graduate).

CCTA programs start with "Tot" programs for children 3 to 5 years old and go all the way through the teen years (including the Young Columbians).

A few years ago they also started programs for special needs children, including a joint program with Loyola University for children with autism.

Many Young Columbians graduate to professional roles at Toby's as they develop their skills, and a benefit for CCTA is held at Toby's Dinner Theater every couple of years.

The performers at Toby's begin the evening as waiters serving customers during the dinner buffet before they begin the Broadway-style musical show.

Using a "theater-in-the-round" performing style, the play takes place on a large square stage surrounded by the dinner tables with a live orchestra, contributing to the personalized feel of the production. And then the same performers come out at intermission to offer coffee and dessert!

The format is challenging to stage but has been successful for Toby's for 35 years, with many of the shows and performers winning accolades and routinely drawing multiple nominations for Helen Hayes Awards.

2015 Season

For 2015, Toby's will stage five productions:
  • Mary Poppins (Nov. 14, 2014 - Feb. 1, 2015)
  • The Addams Family (Feb. 6, 2015 - Apr. 19, 2015)
  • 1776 - The Musical (Apr. 23, 2015 - Jul. 5, 2015)
  • Into the Woods (Jul. 9, 2015 - Sep. 6, 2015) 
  • Ragtime (Sep. 11, 2015 - Nov. 15, 2015)

Location and Pricing:

Toby's Dinner Theatre
5900 Symphony Woods Road
Columbia, MD 21044
800-88-TOBY'S (800-888-6297)

Peformances Times Regular Prices Group (15-19) - includes gratuity Group (20+) - includes gratuity & complimentary ticket for group leader Season Subscription (avail. thru 1/31/15)

Valid 1/2/15 - 1/31/16
Tuesday - Saturday Evenings Open: 6 PM; Buffet: 6:15 - 7:30 PM; Show: 8 PM  TUE-THU: Adult $55, Child $39.50
FRI: Adult $56.50, Child $39.50
SAT: Adult $58, Child $39.50
TUE-THU: Adult $50.55
FRI: Adult $52.55
SAT: Adult $56.55
TUE-THU: Adult $47.55
FRI: Adult $49.55
SAT: Adult $53.55
$165 for:

- 4 tickets
- 1 dinner/show coupon good for first 2 weeks of a show
- 2 half-price children’s coupons
- Various discount coupons

Restrictions apply, and not valid on New Year’s Eve

Nominal savings of $211
Sunday Evening Open: 5 PM; Buffet: 5:15 - 6:30 PM; Show: 7 PM  Adult $55, Child $39.50
Wednesday & Sunday Matinee Brunch Open: 10:30 AM; Buffet: 10:30 - 11:50 AM; Show: 12:30 PM  WED: Adult $55, Child $39.50
SUN: Adult $53, Child $39.50

* Child rate applies to children under age 12

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