Last August, husband-and-wife team Justun and Julie Hart launched Timber Mill Theatre, the Fox Cities’ newest dinner theater company. Between them, they share 15 years of professional theater experience.
A 2015 production of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” brought Justun, a Fox Valley native, back to his hometown for a performance at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
“When I came back, I saw that even in two or three years Appleton had changed,” he says. “I thought it might be possible to do what I love and do it here at home.”
Timber Mill Theatre is named for the local lumber industry and work ethic for which the Fox Valley is known. Julie says it was important that the name reflected the area’s cultural history.
“We don’t want this to be just ours,” Julie says. “We want the community to take ownership of it too.”
Timber Mill Theatre’s first show was a musical revue of classic Broadway numbers at the Bridgewood Resort Hotel in Neenah. The sold-out event was a smash success, with 200 attendees dancing the night away. Justun says the experience revealed the local demand for meaningful interaction through performance.
“It really solidified for me, too, how much people love storytelling,” Julie adds. “That’s why we are in this. [Storytelling] touches our lives and we love seeing how it touches other people.”
Next up, Timber Mill Theatre will pay tribute to The Carol Burnett Show, celebrating its 50 anniversary, on April 12 and 13 at the Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort in Neenah. Cocktails begin at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and the performance at 8 p.m.
For tickets, visit timbermilltheatre.com