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Drama and dining

Once upon a time in Buffalo, when the Buffalo Braves still ruled the Aud, dinner theater was still a pretty hot ticket. People like Tom Dudzick (who wrote "Over the Tavern") and Neal Radice (director of Alleyway Theatre) were producing such shows regularly -- and making money -- to the delight of thousands of fans. But since the late '70s, the idea of chewing on a strip steak to the strains of Neil Simon seems to have lost most of its inexplicable appeal.

Enter Jay and Bob Desiderio, former dinner theater producers and entrepreneurs who have started the form anew at their eponymous restaurant (Desiderio's on Broadway, 5827 Broadway St., Lancaster). They're mounting a dinner-theater production of the Neil Simon comedy "God's Favorite," which opened Thursday and runs on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 9.

Jay Desiderio, who said he produced his last dinner-theater show in 1998, said now was the time for a resurgence of the once-popular hybrid of drama and dining.

"Now with this void of theater coming upon us, with the closing of Studio [Arena] and the high ticket prices of Shea's [Performing Arts Center], the time is right to do this and bring back what I once had," he said.

The show is directed by Jay Desiderio and features a cast of locals. For more information, tickets and reservations, call 683-7767.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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