Get your own standing ovation with an elegant after-theatre dinner.
Story and Recipes by Lon Lane and Stewart Lane | Photos by Jason Dailey
This month’s Inspired Entertaining story begins as the curtain closes on another.
In days past, going to the theater, opera, ballet or symphony was an all-night affair. People dressed in their finest suits, gowns and jewels in anticipation of the sparkling marquee to enjoy a full night of entertainment. Following the performance, prominent families would invite the director and lead cast or principals into their homes for Champagne, a late dinner and lively discussion about the performance.
Although these days aren’t too far in the past, as seasoned entertaining professionals we feel it is our responsibility to help rekindle the tradition of post-performance parties—they create a sense of community and camaraderie that, in turn, help sustain the arts.
So press your suits, gather your opera glasses and friends for a night at the theater and don’t worry about dinner—we have the ticket to a stylish after-party.
The post-performance meal is all about make-ahead items—elegant dishes you can prepare earlier in the day that can be finished with minimal effort. After all, the key to seamless entertaining where the host or hostess reaps the fruit of their labors is a menu that doesn’t require extended kitchen time.
Our party’s opening act is savory, broth-based Indian River soup, starring tomatoes and carrots, seasoned with fresh orange juice and splashed with dry vermouth. Topped with a little chopped parsley and orange zest this bright, light and fresh soup will revitalize you for long conversations and laughter late into the evening (or the wee morning hours).
Carry theatre and presentation from the stage to your dining room with a beautiful entrée of seared sea bass in parchment on a bed of couscous studded with tomatoes and currants. Assemble the dish before leaving for the evening and finish it quickly in the oven when you return home. The golden brown parchment splits easily at the table, releasing a fragrant puff of steam that envelopes the whole table. Accent the sea bass with a lemon rose and a sprig of fennel for the final flair.
The encore is always the best part—and for this party, that’s the dessert course. Warm chocolate cobblers baked in individual fluted ramekins topped with Chantilly crème and fresh berries are the perfect way to end your evening. The cobbler bakes to a brownie edge-like crown but yields to a molten center as your spoon passes through the layers.
The era of after-theatre entertaining can be easily resurrected—just like the revival of your favorite Broadway musical. Bravo!
Make the Recipes From This Feature
The Show Must Go On
Kansas City Repertory’s Artistic Director Eric Rosen gladly obliged to have this month’s Inspired Entertaining after-theatre dinner party shoot in the stylish home he shares with his husband, Clay Elder. The two, who met during the Rep’s production of “Into the Woods” in 2009 and were married three years ago, enjoy welcoming supporters, actors and crew into their Westside residence for post-performance soirees.
“Even if it’s not a Rep show, we will have impromptu parties two or three times a month after we’ve been out at different venues, using every ounce of cheese we have in the house,” Rosen laughs.
The couple has a well-stocked bar and music room (Elder plays stringed instruments and the piano) where someone will usually start tinkling the ivories during the party.
What Rosen loves most about these evenings after the show, being surrounded by 30 or 40 people, is the energy.
“The right group of people—diverse, from donors to cast and technicians—brings its own talent and creativity. That didn’t happen when I lived in New York or Chicago. Kansas City is a special place, where people wholeheartedly embrace the arts scene.”
Inspired Entertaining: After-Theatre Resource Guide
Kurlbaum Farms: Heirloom tomatoes | Cosentino’s: Sea bass | Panache Chocolatier: Chocolate for cobbler
Trapp and Company: Floral and vases, gold-trimmed water goblets, Champagne flutes | Sharyn Blond Linens: Linens & cocktail napkins, napkin rings, wine goblets | Halls: Wallace Golden Aegean Weave sterling flatware, Orrefors votives | Mission Road Antiques Mall: Champagne cooler, silver tray