Elizabeth Stark Payne treasures the family shows at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.
“Maybe because I have young children or maybe because I’m still a kid at heart,” Payne said.
Payne will direct “Beauty and the Beast,” which runs May 18 to July 9 at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis.
“Being surrounded by talented people all day, creating Disney magic, envisioning those little kids dressed as Belle or Beast with smiles, what’s not to love and look forward to?” Payne said. “I stage managed the last production back in 2016 while I was pregnant with my first daughter. My mother (Suzanne Stark) played Mrs. Potts, so it was a special time. I also did props and was the company manager for this and the previous 2005 production.”
Payne, a Fishers resident and Carmel High School graduate, is a Beef & Boards co-owner along with her father Doug Stark and two brothers.
“Every theater has their own special quirks that may be considered challenges, but I like to think of it as thinking outside the box,” Payne said. “Many Disney productions have a lot of spectacle to them, meaning big sets, big costumes and lots of effects. We are an intimate venue, so we don’t necessarily have the space for what you would find in a big Broadway proscenium house. So, I like to think outside the box to give the audience the spectacle they want within the intimate setting. I think it works out great, especially because it gets the kids up close and personal to the characters.”
Payne said “Beauty and the Beast” is probably her second-favorite musical behind “The Little Mermaid.”
“I have three daughters and they each like something different, but my youngest, who is 3, wears a Belle dress weekly,” Payne said. “I’m not kidding.
Payne said the last shows she directed were in 2022 when she directed “It’s A Wonderful Life” and a one-hour version of “A Christmas Carol” that runs each December.
The last Disney show she directed after “The Little Mermaid” in 2019 was “Newsies” in 2021.
For more, visit beefandboards.com.