Want to see a show, have a few laughs, listen to some great music and have an amazing evening?
You don't have to travel far because the Gandy Dancer Theatre and Conference Center in Elkins offers live music, dance and comedy in West Virginia's only Branson-style dinner theater.
Named after a railroad term used for workers who laid and maintained railroad tracks, the Gandy Dancer is enjoying its second season and is proud to be located in the history-rich city of Elkins.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Chad Clem
The Gandy Dancer Theatre and Conference Center in Elkins features live music, along with a Branson-style dinner theater.
"My dad was a gandy dancer and worked on the railroad for years," explained Ralph Bennett, vice president of the Gandy Dancer Theatre and Master of Ceremonies for the Mountain Memories Show Band, which performs at the theater regularly. "When we were knocking around ideas for the name of the theater, we mentioned 'The Gandy Dancer,' and I knew, being located in a railroad town, where so much of that history still remains, that we had to go with it."
The Gandy Dancer Premiere Show features live music from the Mountain Memories Show Band, which performs favorite hits from country, oldies, blues, gospel, rock and roll, patriotic, Motown and other genres. The show also features the Gandy Dancers, who charm and amaze audiences with their high-energy performances. Audiences are always encouraged to participate and have as much fun as possible, whether they are tourists seeing the show for the first time or locals who are seeing it for the 60th time.
"We have an outstanding group of talent in the area," said Ralph Bennett. "We have tons of local support."
After a wonderful plated dinner, audiences are invited to sit back and listen to the fabulous Mountain Memories Show Band as they serve up a two-hour Branson-style show featuring music from the '50s through today, including country, pop, Motown, gospel and patriotic, along with family-friendly comedy and amazing dancers. The Gandy Dancer offers a show that's guaranteed to have audience members dancing in their seats, laughing until they cry and give them memories to last a lifetime.
"If you want to have a wonderful meal, hear great music, watch amazing performances and just have pure unadulterated fun, then this is the place to be," Bennett explained.
The Gandy Dancer also has a Christmas show that starts in November and goes on throughout the Christmas season, featuring live performances of everyone's favorite Christmas songs. There is also a Mystery Dinner Theatre in November and on New Year's Eve that is guaranteed to be tons of thrilling fun.
Each season of shows begins in April and every season is different.
"We never repeat our songs or shows per season," said Bennett. "Each show is unique."
Tickets for all shows are available online or at the box office.
But the Gandy Dancer Theatre is not used merely for live performances; the space is also a premiere venue for business conferences, receptions, reunions and other social gatherings.
"Most people don't know that this is available to them," G'na Stephens, CEO of direct marketing sales for the Gandy Dancer, said. "They tend to take it for granted because it is in their own backyard."
The theater has hosted proms, corporate businesses, wedding receptions and social events from organizations such as AARP and tourist groups.
"We are here to show people part of what West Virginia has to offer," Stephens added. "And there's no better place to do it in than right here."
To buy tickets, book an event or find out more information about The Gandy Dancer Theatre, visit www.gandydancertheatre.com or call toll-free at 1-855-GANDYWV.