Barn II set to open 2013 season

Log in to save this page.
beer for breakfast cast

Dinner theater season will include a premier followed by a couple classics and musicals 

Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre is hauling out a couple classic comedies during the 2013 season, including "Harvey" and "The Odd Couple, Female Version.

The season will also include a couple musicals.

The opener, however, will be the regional premiere of "Beer for Breakfast," a comedy written by a Chicago native. IT opens Jan. 10 at the dinner theatre in Goodfield.

Beer for breakfast may not seem like a big deal in some countries, such as Germany or Ireland, where some people reportedly pour beer on their cereal.

But in this country beer for breakfast usually means party time and that includes the newest production at Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre in Goodfield.

"Beer for Breakfast," the new adult comedy by Sean Grennan, makes its regional premiere at the Barn beginning Jan. 10. The seven-week run continues each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon through Feb. 24.

It is the opening show of Conklin's 2013 season that includes a couple musicals as well as a couple classic comedies, "Harvey" and "The Odd Couple."

"Beer for Breakfast" stars Bob Lane Jr., Mary Simon, Pat Gaik and Dan Challacombe. Simon directed the show and April Wyant designed the set.

 "Beer for Breakfast" debuted at the American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City during 2012.

"The Barn is very pleased to present the second production of this new show. 'Beer for Breakfast' is the story of what happens when four high school buddies reunite in a rural cabin for a guys weekend of bad food, loud music, beer and general debauchery," said a news release from the theatre.

"They're all set to party like it's 1979, only to have one of the guys' wives show up instead of her husband! The weekend turns into an outrageous all-out battle of the sexes to determine which is the superior gender. Will men prove superior? Will love triumph or will old grudges win? And finally, perhaps most importantly, if Doritos are made of corn, why can't they be considered a serving of vegetables?"
Sean Grennan, the playwright, is a former Chicago area actor and author now based in New York City who has written several comedies and musicals. Coincidentally, he is the brother-in-law of actor/author Paul Slade Smith, author of "Unnecessary Farce," which had one of its earliest productions at the Barn, and which will be reprised in the second slot of 2013, beginning Feb. 28.(Photo courtesy of Conklin's Barn II) The cast of "Beer for Breakfast," the opening show of Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre 2013 season, includes Mary Simon in the back and in front, from left, Pat Gaik, Bon Lane Jr. and Dan Challacombe.
Conklin's Barn II is known for its buffet that for evening performances includes four main entrees, featuring prime rib and fried chicken, with salad, homemade soup and cheese spread, and a choice of four homemade desserts.  Prices for dinner and show are $33.00 on Thursday evening, $35.00 on Friday evening and Sunday brunch, and $37.00 on Saturday evening, including tax. The Valentine's Day performance on Thursday, Feb. 14 is priced at $40 per person for dinner and show. No coupons, vouchers, gift certificates or Spotlighter discount cards are valid on Valentine's day.

No advance payment is required.  For reservations, call the box office at (309) 965-2545.  For more information, visit the Barn on the internet at
The rest of the Barn II's 2013 season, after "Beer for Breakfast," will be:


"The setting of this hilarious new play is two adjoining rooms in an economy motel where two inexperienced police officers have been sent to videotape a meeting between the local Mayor and the town's accountant, with the aim of uncovering an embezzlement scheme. Things begin to unravel when the Mayor runs into one of the officers in the lobby and we discover that the other officer is having an affair with the accountant. The Mayor's nervous security guard reveals that the embezzled money is a plot by the Scottish Mafia and that 'the Highland Hit Man' is on the way! The twists and turns will keep you laughing until the final moments.

The show stars Bob Lane Jr., Mary Simon and Pat Gaik and opens a seven-week run on Feb. 28, continuing through April 14.


"Senator Richard Willey is back in action in this hilarious sequel to the hit farce "Two Into One". This time the Senator, played by Bob Lane Jr., is checking into the Capital Hill hotel with the intention of having a tryst with secretary Jane Worthington, but when they discover a body stuck in the hotel room window all plans fly out the window and the Senator must call once more upon his brow-beaten personal assistant, George Pigden to try to save the day. Naturally, however, he makes things worse for everyone but the audience, who will reel with laughter as George and Senator Willey go into a tap dance of cover-ups to try to escape unscathed."
The seven-week run opens April 18 and continues through June 2.


"SH-BOOM! Meet the Crooning Crabcakes, four guys with a dream of making it to the big time! They enter the Big Whopper Radio contest to win their chance at fame, but trouble comes in the form of Lois, a former classmate who arrives to put some polish on the group but who also broke loveable Eugene's heart years before. While Eugene falls apart, Denny, Wally and Skip fall in love — and hilarious heartaches ensue! Featuring the songs "Earth Angel," "Unchained Melody," "Only You," and 20 more doo-wop hits, "Life Could Be a Dream" will leave you laughing, singing and cheering.

Starring Dan and Tamra Challacombe, Pat Gaik, Chad Kirvan and Dave Windsor, the show runs for six weeks only through July 14.


"Unger and Madison are at it again! Florence Unger and Olive Madison, that is, in Neil Simon's hilarious contemporary comic classic: the female version of The Odd Couple. Instead of the poker party that begins the original version, Ms. Madison has invited the girls over for an evening of Trivial Pursuit. The Pidgeon sisters have been replaced by the two Constanzuela brothers. But the hilarity remains the same. And in the expert hands of our own Mary Simon and Peoria legend Lana Warner, it's a guaranteed evening full of laughs."

The six-week run is July 18 through Aug. 25.


"What do Arles Struvie, Thurston Wheelis, Aunt Pearl, Petey Fisk, Phineas Blye and Rev. Spikes have in common? In this hilarious send-up of small town morals and mores, they are all among the upstanding citizens of Tuna, Texas' third smallest town. The long-running, Off-Broadway hit features two of your favorite Barn actors — Dan Challacombe and Pat Gaik — creating the entire population of Tuna in a tour de farce of quick change artistry, changing costumes and characterizations faster than a jack rabbit runs from a coyote. Two actors, twenty characters and a barrel of laughs."

This show is five weeks only, Aug. 29 through Sept. 29.


"When Elwood P. Dowd starts to introduce his imaginary friend, Harvey, a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit, to guests at a society party, his sister Veta has seen as much of his eccentric behavior as she can tolerate! She decides to have him committed to a sanitarium to spare her daughter, Myrtle Mae, and their family from future embarrassment. Problems arise, however, when Veta herself is mistakenly assumed to be on the verge of lunacy and the doctors commit Veta instead of Elwood. When Elwood shows up at the sanitarium looking for his lost friend Harvey, all heck breaks loose and complications fly fast and furious right up to the surprising, heartwarming conclusion." 

The classic comedy, starring Bob Lane Jr. and Mary Simon, runs from Oct. 3 to Nov. 10.


"Haul out the holly, it's time for another all-new edition of our annual revue of holiday music, comedy and hilarious audience participation that will put you in the holly jolly spirit throughout the season. Our talented cast of Christmas Crazies will have you tapping your toes, laughing out loud and maybe even get you up on stage to join in the fun directly! This is our most popular show of the year and seats always fill up quickly! Book early for this perfect outing for family, friends and company parties! Deck the Halls will be a guaranteed good time for all."

The seven-week run is Nov. 14 through Dec. 31.




About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).