There are few places in Southern California where you can find an all encompassing evening of entertainment including a gourmet meal and a Broadway style show. One of the few is the Candelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre in Claremont. It’s a great place especially for celebrating a birthday or anniversary. In fact, Mick Bollinger, general manager, will introduce the celebrants to the audience prior to the show. Mick is part of the Bollinger family, which has been operating the Candelight Pavilion for 25 years. Yes, this is their Silver Anniversary.
The venue is large. It seats over 200 people.
There are a number of private boxes on the second story that can comfortably accommodate up to 9 people. On the main floor there are round tables that seat up to 6 as well as more private semicircular booths that seat 2 to 4.
A ticket to one of the ten shows per season includes the show itself, a gourmet dinner (salad and entrée) and pre-show entertainment. Appetizers, drinks and dessert are extra, but very affordable.
Appetizers, including Baked Brie and Shrimp with Sun Dried Tomato Provencal, range from 7-12 dollars. Desserts, and there are a number of truly yummy selections, are all under 10 dollars. My favorites: Southern Bread Pudding with a warm Jack Daniels sauce and Apple and Marscapone Strudel, baked and served with red hot cinnamon sauce and brown sugar sour cream. As for the entrees that are included in your ticket price: Slow Roasted Fajita Rubbed Tri Tip; Chicken Breast stuffed with black beans, corn salsa and jack cheese wrapped in a puff pastry and served with a chipotle cream sauce; Filet of Sole stuffed with salmon mousse; and for those with a yen for the spicy, Roasted Anaheim Chili stuffed with ancho-chili couscous.
The portions are really big, and I’d suggest not going overboard with appetizers, even though they’re pretty terrific, or you may have to take the rest of the meal home in a doggie bag!
The service is excellent with the young staff well trained and friendly and knowledgeable about both food and beverage.
As you dine you can listen to Michael Ryan who provides relaxing and virtuosic classical guitar. His repertoire extends from Bach to the Beatles.
Then the show! The curtain rises to reveal a professionally staged musical on a large proscenium stage. The most recent: Tony Award winning “Man of La Mancha,” one of the most popular hits, revived seven times on Broadway. The cast in Claremont includes many familiar faces to Candlelight regulars. The principal role of Cervantes/Don Quixote is portrayed by John Lalonde, current Artistic Director. His voice, as well as the others in this talented cast, are impressive, delivering such musical standards as “ The Impossible Dream” and " Dulcinea.” And while the music is prerecorded, it’s dynamic and doesn’t prove intrusive to the production.
Ticket prices: $48 per person matinees, $54 Thursday and Sunday evenings, $57 Friday evenings and $59 Saturday nights. There are also season subscriptions, group and special children’s rates. You can go online to their website for details.
Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre
455 Foothill Boulevard
Claremont, California 91711