The Lanier Drama Group’s Trip to the Country Dinner Playhouse

by Richard Petty

Diagram of the drama group’s seating arrangment. In my sophomore year at Lanier high school, I went with the drama group at Lanier to see Al “Grandpa Munster” Lewis in the Country Dinner Playhouse production of Woody Allen’s “Don’t Drink the Water.”

We were all keenly interested in this production since we’d just done the show ourselves earlier in the year. Al Lewis’ version was pretty good but as I watched him play Walter Hollander, I could never completely clear my mind of his Grandpa Munster character.

These photographs include quite a few members of Lanier’s drama group. There are some significant omissions, however, which lead me to suspect that at least one of our tables didn’t get included in any photographs. For instance, Mike and Jenny Gordon were present, but where's Mark? How about Jenny Tompson or Kelly Connelly?

Here, I’ve attempted to diagram the seating arrangements, based upon the photographs.

Photo of the show's program cover.

Here’s what the front of the program for that show looked like.

You can see a copy of the program sitting in front of Mr. Foard in this picture.

I got several cast autographs, but not Al’s. We were told that he was feeling sick and wasn’t seeing people. I did get a look at him through his open dressing room door and he looked pretty bad. I was sure he'd die soon, but years later I read that he was running a restaurant in New York City. He's 93 and still alive today!

The Country Dinner Playhouse is closed now, but used to be located at 12173 Burnet Road, in north Austin. I don’t have a record of the normal ticket prices, but the back of the program for this show offers performance and dinner gift certificates for $10.95.

Unfortunately, the progam does not include a single date, but since Lanier had already performed its version of this play in the fall, this probably took place during the winter of ’76/’77.