Photo courtesy of Michele Anliker/Encore Theatre
I always enjoy a night out especially in the dead of winter when the weather may be giving you the blues. Last Saturday, as a belated Valentine’s Day celebration, Garrin & I adventured to Dexter, Michigan. The drive was quite pleasant though this little town feels like it is in the middle of nowhere located in Southeast Michigan on the banks of Huron River and Mills Creek.
The town has a number of quaint looking boutiques, lots of dining options, trails and a theatre. I definitely want to visit during the daytime and explore. Our celebration included dinner and a show. We asked our friend, Chris, who lives in Dexter for dining recommendations. On the list was the Red Brick Kitchen & Bar.
This is a Dexter family owned restaurant established in 2010 nestled in the center of downtown which is also central to The Encore Musical Theatre Company for seeing our show that evening. The restaurant interior is charming with brick accents and cute tables surrounding the inviting bar area. We did call in advance for reservations to learn that parties must be four or larger to do so except for Valentine’s Day. Luckily, the wait for a table on this Saturday was only about fifteen minutes.
We were seated at a cute round table tucked in a little alcove in front of the bar. The restaurant was busy with lots of chatter around us, however our table still had a feeling of intimacy being tucked away which I appreciated.
The menu features many choices and I definitely want to come back to try the pasta which looks fantastic. We opted to order an appetizer and classic sandwiches for our meal. The Brie plate appetizer offered baked brie, amaretto drizzle, apples and crostini and was quite tasty. I love a good cheese plate! And we enjoyed it too fast to remember to take a photograph.
Garrin ordered the Reuben sandwich and his marbled rye looked delicious. He also treated himself to the truffle fries with parmesan.
My favorite sandwich is often a grilled cheese so I opted for the Drunken Grilled Cheese though I skipped the beer braised onions. I also was easily convinced to try the truffle fries after I heard our waiter’s description.
There was Strawberry Shortcake special that night that we had to try for dessert. YUM!
Overall, the food was wonderful with quick pleasant service and we really enjoyed our meal at Red Brick Kitchen & Bar. I know we will come back in the future.
We finished dinner around 7:00 pm with plenty of time to walk over to the theatre for our 7:30 show. This was our first time visiting The Encore Theatre and I was quite excited to see Million Dollar Quartet since the show was directed by a friend, Tobin Hissong. The theatre building exterior is rather plain, however the stage and theatre area is quite nice. It is a smaller venue, I would estimate a 100 seats or less, that provide an intimate setting. I was impressed by the size of the stage though.
Million Dollar Quartet tells the story of the famous December 4th, 1956 jam session at Sun Records with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. Fortunately, there were recordings captured of this historical event which should still be listened to all these years later. Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, was inventive enough to aim for publicity calling the reporter from Memphis Press-Scimitar to capture photos and release an interview in the following day’s paper too.
Million Dollar Quartet captures the excitement and drama of that day in this highly charged musical. There are events such as expiring contracts and the opportunity that Sam Phillips may work with Elvis again due to a potential RCA buy out of Sun Records that move the story along in an excitable atmosphere. The production at Encore is excellent and the cast phenomenal.
It features accomplished musicians and actors in the principal roles: Marek Sapieyevski (Jerry Lee); Josh White (Elvis); Stephen Shore (Johnny); and Alex Canty (Carl). Kaitlyn Weickel as Dyanne, Elvis’ girlfriend who also delivers a couple entertaining numbers. In addition, Jim Walke as Sam Philips is a delight with his narration of the events of that day and his relationships with the artists.
The show delivers music that is the history of rock and roll at it’s core. A few songs of the original jam session are featured and the quartet really lights the house on fire. The show also delivers witty banter, drama, flare and excitement upon a stage that truly captures the image of Sun Studios back in the day. The actors bring the legendary musicians to life and transport you back in history. It is impossible to watch this and not tap your foot or clap your hands to the music. The direction of this show is right on point and it is incredibly fun to watch.
I truly enjoyed this show and it reminded me of why I am an Elvis fan all these years later. The music rocks your soul and captures your heart. I will definitely look forward to seeing other musicals at The Encore. I can’t wait to adventure in Dexter again!