Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ relationship with UMD and the Duluth theatre scene

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Chanhassen Dinner Theatres is regarded as the nation’s largest dinner theater. The product that CDT puts out is 100% Minnesota-made. They’ve hosted over 12.5 million guests in their 50 year history with professionally performed shows for all audiances.

And there are many Duluth ties to Chanhassen, whether it be the crew backstage, costumers, creative team, or the performers.

President of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Founding Board Members, Michael Brindisi acknowledges there’s amazing talent that comes from the North Shore. Especially the students that study theatre at UMD. After watching his daughter go through the program, Brindisi set up an alliance between the university and the dinner theatre back in 2012.

He says, “One day I brought up the subject of an alliance with UMD. I said, ‘you know maybe we should do something together and share our resources.’ So we created the UMD-Chanhassen Dinner Theater Alliance.”

Brindisi goes on to say, “It attracted a lot of talented actors, technicians, stagehands, and costumers to our theater as interns or even as first entry first time hires on our stage.”

Right now the Dinner Theatre is performing Jersey Boys, a musical that recently released the rights to regional theatres across the nation.

It’s a show that Michael Brindisi shares a lot of personal experiences with. “The story tells you that the [Four Seasons], despite of all their fame, fortune, and success, weren’t very happy in the end. And so it makes you look at your life and say, “maybe those things, fortune and fame and money are not as important as my wife, or my daughter, my son in law, my grand child, or my life at home. And who can’t relate to that?”

And Chanhassen takes pride in getting the rights to newer properties. Bringing popular Broadway musicals straight to their large audience in Minnesota.

“It’s really been a feather in our cap. I have to say I’m really proud of Chanhassen for doing The Prom and other plays like Mamma Mia, Footloose, [getting] newer properties in front of people,” says Brindisi.

“When these new properties get released, which is a real waiting game some times, you have to wait 20 years because they’re touring and remounting it on Broadway. You just think of my go we’ll never get it.”

For more information on Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ production of Jersey Boys you can check out their website here.