When does planning an innocent back-to-school hop consist of kidnapping a famous singer? When the owner of the town’s favorite diner and school hop venue is planning to sell the place, and a high school boy with a crush wants to help his hopeful love cover up a lie and raise the money to buy the Burger Shake. That’s when.
Set in the 1950’s DeKalb County’s most talented performed four shows this past weekend of "Welcome to the Burger Shake" written and directed by Josh Isaac.
The tremendously entertaining performances saw DeKalb County High School’s Student Council President Beth and high school nerds Donald and Daphne planning a huge back-to-school hop. Since the school cafeteria had been shut down by the health department because of something found in the mystery meatloaf, they decided to hold the hop at the favorite local diner the Burger Shake. As usual with all high school students, love was in the air with tough guy, yet smooth talking Biff seeing more than his share of interesting contenders. During summer camp he and Beth became close, yet when returning to DeKalb County his girlfriend Roxy reclaimed him. Biff’s friend Felix also caught the love bug when looking at Beth.
When Beth and her friends went to the Burger Shake to talk with managers Tom and Tessie, they were informed that the owner, Mr. Banks, was going to sell the diner due to lack of business. When Mr. Cash called to see if Tom and Tessie were able to raise the money to purchase the business, in a panic Beth grabbed the phone and told Mr. Banks that her famous cousin Clayton Holiday would be coming to Smithville to perform in concert to help raise the money to buy the Burger Shake.
Hysteria and excitement filled the air when everyone heard the famous crooner Clayton Holiday was coming to town. Trapped in a lie, Beth was distraught and trying to figure out how to repair the damage after the gossip spread to media outlets.
Everyone was heartbroken at what to do. Felix declared he was going to help and disappeared from the diner. After the group was told the Woodbury Yellow Jackets were planning to crash the high school bop and burn the place to the ground, everyone ducked for cover as one of Roxy’s mean-girlfriend’s Skipper ran in yelling, "The end is near; the end is near!" only to find out that her favorite hairspray, Ultra Clutch Heavy Duty, was be discontinued.
Only to make matters worse, Mr. Banks sent in Betty Ford to monitor the goings-on at the Burger Shake as he did not believe Clayton Holiday was truly coming to perform. The stiff-collared, trouble-seeking Betty Ford caused everyone to get in high-gear preparing for Holiday’s pretend performance. Even the Red Hat ladies, along with one of their almost deaf husband, were giving cleaning duty.
As everyone is busy working to prepare the Burger Shake for the hop, Beth receives a letter from Holiday confirming he is looking forward to performing in Smithville. The letter causes Betty Ford confusion yet gives the group a little more time to come up with a plan.
After having been missing from the group, Felix returns with his contribution to the solution for the girl of his dream and the beloved Burger Shake – famous singer Clayton Holiday bound in a wheelchair with a sock in his mouth. In order to surprise Beth and the others, Felix hides his surprise in the cooler.
With time running out, party decorations go up and long-time waitress Cookie brings in a bowl of punch. With no one looking, feisty red hat member Perky adds a little home-made remedy to the bowl and scurries away with no one the wiser.
After Biff filled Betty Ford’s coffee with chili peppers, he offers her a glass of punch to soothe the heat. Unknowing waitress Lola gladly gives Ford multiple glasses of punch, resulting in Betty Ford becoming sloshed and hitting on Biff.
Trying still to determine how to fix the mess they were all in, Felix asked Beth if she had received his letter. At which point he reveals his surprise rolling famous singer Clayton Holiday into the Burger Shake. Everyone is in even more paniced after seeing the singer has been kidnapped. Beth tries to explain the situation to the singer, even removing his restraints yet received no compassion for her cause. As Holiday tries to escape, Felix hits him over the head with a pan and restrains him yet again.
With the trouble only growing larger, the Woodbury Yellow Jackets show up sending everyone into a tail-spin. Expecting them to beat up everyone and burn the place down, the leader of the Yellow Jackets shares that they had heard of the Burger Shake going to close and was only there to help.
When mean girl leader Roxy finds Holiday in the freezer, she sees an opportunity to convince him to help save the beloved Burger Shake. After performing "Be My Baby," Holiday suspects Roxy will be the next big thing in the entertainment business, admits there is a beloved diner in his hometown and understands their love for the place, and agrees to perform in order to help raise money in order for Tom and Tessie to buy the business from Mr. Cash.
The hop is held with a record number attending to see Holiday perform, and the needed money is raised. Tom makes the deal with Mr. Banks to buy the Burger Shake, and everyone is ecstatic. To make things even better, he tells wife Tessie that they are naming their new business Tessie’s Diner.
This original production had its crowds laughing, dancing and in one scene brought to tears. An excellent performance from this large cast ranging from very young to seasoned, with excellent performances and award-winning vocal performances, is in the books as a complete and utter success.
This was the DeKalb County Performing Arts’ third production with the fourth one "Steel Magnolias" scheduled for early fall.