Even though Club Boomerang has been open for three years, owner Brad Thomison says it’s only been recently that several people came to him separately with ideas of starting a dinner theater there.
Alex Novotny, a software developer for Koch Industries who has an undergraduate degree in theater, was one of those people.
“I was like, yeah, OK, we’ll see where this goes,” says Thomison, a recruiter for the University of Kansas Medical Center. “And next thing I know, he had ideas and plans and paperwork and calendars, and I’ve just been so thoroughly impressed.”
Novotny says his idea “just kind of spawned into this huge thing that we’re now starting.”
The Club Boomerang Dinner Theatre will be within the club at First and Cleveland and feature a combination of plays, musicals and parodies.
“We thought it would be really cool to do an environmental theater – kind of bring the actors into the audience,” Novotny says.
“We’re trying to capitalize on the uniqueness of the space,” says Thomison, who is a past Mary Jane Teall Theatre Awards nominee. “It’s creative and fun in a different kind of way.”
The club already has drag shows three nights a week and family karaoke on Sunday afternoons.
“I’ve always said that we’re more of a everybody bar that has a special openness for LGBT people,” Thomison says. “The rule has always been, if you’re OK with everybody else here, we’re OK with you.”
The current shows, which generally start at 10:30 p.m., will continue.
Thomison says he’s always wanted to expand the club’s reach.
“When I opened the bar, I really had it in mind it be a community center gathering place, (a) let’s-go-have-a-drink-after-work type of space and get used to its fullest potential. … For me the excitement and the energy comes from this idea that we can better utilize the space and open it to more people. I’m all about inclusiveness and openness.”
Some of the plays will incorporate LGBT themes.
Novotny wrote the first play, “Murder at the Drag Show,” which will open in September.
“A lot of it’s going to be improv depending on what happens with the audience,” he says.
A licensed play, “Dog Sees God” – a show about some Charlie Brown characters as out-of-control teenagers – also will be performed that month.
There will be live video of the performers on TVs around the club so no one misses anything as scenes are played in various spots of the room in addition to a small stage.
The stage along with Club Boomerang’s liquor license, full kitchen, tables and chairs make it a natural spot for a theater, Novotny says.
There will be food or drink specials at each show.
“Something that ties in with what we’re doing on the stage to make it fun,” Thomison says.
Because the club is licensed as a restaurant, children will be admitted, though shows will be geared more toward mature audiences.
Prices will be $20 for evening performances and $15 for matinees.
Unlike with some local theater groups, the actors and crew members will receive a share of ticket sales in part as an incentive to help sell tickets.
Novotny says he and Thomison’s passion for theater is what’s helping them get this one together so quickly.
“We’re both strong-willed and want to get things done.”
Thomison says Novotny’s creativity with is endless.
“I get a text message, a Facebook message, an e-mail – something that says, ‘I have an idea,’ ” Thomison says. “And my response is usually, ‘Oh, no.’ OK. Take a breath. ‘Let’s do this.’ He’s so creative and got so much energy, and I love that.”