Capones Dinner & Show
4740 West Highway 192, Kissimmee 34746
(800) 220-8428; (407) 397-2378
Prices: Adults $45.99, children (4 to 12) $27.99. Plus tax and tip. 50% discounts frequently available.
Times: 8:00 p.m. nightly during spring and summer, 7:30 during fall and winter.
Directions: On the south side of 192, a short distance east of the junction with SR 535, between Mile Markers 12 and 13.
Somewhere along the tawdry, commercial strip of Route 192 in Kissimmee you’ll find an innocent ice cream parlor. But as with so much in the Orlando area, there’s more here than meets the eye. For you see, the ice cream parlor is just a front for a speakeasy, Prohibition style. Yes, we’ve gone back in time again to 1930s Chicago, where the action owes a lot to Damon Runyon via Guys and Dolls and the Chicago accents sound straight outta Brooklyn.
Capone’s Dinner & Show is a cheerful mishmash of Broadway show, nightclub cabaret, sketch comedy revue, and all-you-can-eat Eye-talian buffet — that’s buffet, as in Warren or Jimmy. Dinner includes the usual soft drinks, plus beer, sangria, and rum runners. In addition, there’s a cash bar for serious drinkers.
The fun begins when you arrive and pick up your tickets at the box office. You’re instructed to knock three times at the secret door and give a password. Then you get in line outside, where black-vested waiters warm up the crowd with the wisecracking rudeness that is to become the evening’s hallmark. So be forewarned: Don’t wear garish tourist garb unless you can take some good-natured ribbing.
Once the show’s ready to begin, each party is led to the secret door, knocks three times, and gives the password — and they don’t let you in until you get it right. Once inside, you’re in a spacious nightclub with a large stage. The waiters — with names like Babyface — take drink orders and keep up a cheerful patter laced with film noir gangster patois. Much of the seating is in long rows of tables, so you’ll have a chance to chat with the folks on either side of you; it’s a fun way to get an idea of the wide cross section of types and nationalities drawn to Orlando.
The show, which revolves around two pairs of star-crossed lovers, freely borrows plot elements from Guys and Dolls, Some Like It Hot, and any number of old gangster movies. Best of all is the kewpie doll leading lady, dumb and delicious, with a voice that would shatter fine crystal. The cast relies heavily on intentionally bad jokes and audience interaction to generate laughs. More often than not they succeed. Throw in some leggy chorines, a bit of torch singing, and a better than average buffet dinner and you have a winning combo that has stood Orlando’s test of time. It’s hard not to like this bunch, even if they don’t always shoot straight.
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