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Mystique Theatre sets stage for new changes

By Kaitlin Loukides
Published On: Nov 25 2012 07:42:46 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 26 2012 10:58:30 AM CST

One local community dinner theater will be seeing changes in management who is hoping to get the community involved in its leadership as well.

CHUBBUCK, Idaho -

Magician Terry Commons had a vision to build a majestic theater where people could gather together over a festive feast while live entertainment performs in front of the dinner guests.

And 15 years ago, he did just that. But today, Commons is announcing he will be stepping down as the owner and father of the Mystique Dinner Theatre in Chubbuck.

"We've raised our kids here; we've raised a lot of other kids here," Commons said as he reminisced his days watching his own children grow up in that theatre. "We've done over 150 name titles in the 15 years that we've been here. We've had almost 2,000 cast members go across that stage and the thousands of performances we've done. It's just been a really exciting and fun experience that is so much more than we ever thought it was going to be."

Although Commons will be exiting stage left Jan. 1, he will be handing the theatre over to his long-time business partner and colleague, Larry Fisher.

Fisher is modest and prefers to avoid the limelight. However, Commons is confident he picked the right man for the job in order to move the theater forward.

"He's got the vision. He's got the ability to really put together a team that can take this to a different level," Commons said in response to why he picked Fisher to take the reigns. 

Despite the heavy load Fisher will be taking on, he says he is more than ready for the job.

He says the theater has been a steadfast symbol of art in the community and does not want to change the quality of performances the theatre has cranked out for the past decade and a half which has reeled-in the loyal theatre-goers in the local community.

"We want to continue the great performances that have been done in the past because they have done a great job and we just want to build on that and make it even better," Fisher said.

The biggest change the community will be seeing with the theatre which will be soon operating under new management, will also be a shift in the leadership role. 

Both Fisher and Commons stress the theatre will not be able to operate without a great amount of help from the community. So Fisher has decided to instate a board of directors for the nonprofit theater, which he said will allow more opportunities for the theatre to flourish. 

Those in the community who are interested in getting involved with the theater's board of directors committee are welcome to join since board positions are open to anyone and everyone who is interested.

"We have such amazing people in our community, and the support everyone has given us so far has just been amazing. I think with their help we can really make this an amazing place," Fisher said.

Commons says the theater costs more than $10,000 to run each month. This figure does not include the cost of food, clean-up, new props, and everything else it takes to put dinner on the table for guests each night. He says with this economy, it is hard to keep the theatre as lively as he had always imagined it just by earnings from ticket sales alone.

But Commons said it is not about the finances.

"It's great to see the kids come out and get this kind of experience while they can live their passion...it should really be all about the kids," Commons said.

The numerous actors who have taken the stage are not the only ones who have performed in the venue who have a passion for the arts. Commons himself has been a professional magician for the greater portion of his life. He is also a member of one of the world's most elite magician organizations at the Magic Castle, which sits atop a Hogwarts-esque hill overlooking Los Angeles.

Commons has performed his magic tricks in the Chamber for dinner guests during themed nights such as Charles Dickens during the holiday season and Edgar Allan Poe during Halloween.

For the past 15 years he has sat at the head of the table in the gaudy, majestic, yet gothic Chamber. And after the acquisition is complete, he will not be going too far. In fact, he still plans on coming back to perform in front of guests. But other than that, he will be mostly behind the scenes.

The Chamber is an intimate setting and  seats around 20 people who can all eat dinner in a private room with every decoration in the room planned down to the very last detail. The main hall seats 270 people during regular performances. During dinner theater performances, cut that by 100 and the venue seats about 170 people.

Off to the side on the opposite side of the building from the Chamber, is a dark ice cream parlour that now serves as a bustling concession stand during performance nights.   

Fisher also says the venue has also been home to weddings and other sorts of private parties in the past.

So as the theatre will be passed from Terry to Larry, theatre goers can rest assured they won't be seeing too many changes in a venue they have become all-too familiar with.

For those who are interested in serving on the board of directors, Fisher asks you to contact him via e-mail: larry@blackswaninn.com

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukides

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