(Originally appeared in Mutant Renegade Zine #9, Fall 1998)
Zeds TV Dinner Theater is a fairly new attraction in the fine city of Dayton, Ohio. Started by two energetic thirty-some things, Yvette ‘Zak’ Mitchell and Nancy ‘Ed’ Stewart, this place is destined to be one of the most unique entertainment venues that has hit this fair city in quite some time. Mutant Renegade was able to talk to the enterprising pair on a windy Thursday afternoon as they were preparing for that night “Green Acres – Arnold the Singing Pig’ Program.
MRZ – How did you get the nick names ‘Zak’ and ‘Ed’?
YZM – We’ve known each other since we were kids. We were both tomboys big time. So we gave ourselves ‘boy’ names and they stayed with us ever since.
MRZ – Tell us how the idea for Zeds came about?
YZM – We loved going to the Neon movies and seeing Rocky Horror on Saturday nights.
NES – We also loved the old cheesy sitcoms like Star Trek, Green Acres, Three’s Company. One day we came up with this idea that it would be kind of neat to do these shows in front of an audience like they do with Rocky Horror.
YZM – The more we thought about it, the more we realized that it was basically like dinner theater without the dinner. Then it hit us. We’d serve food and call it TV Dinner Theater.
NES – You see dinner theaters don’t speak to our generation. Excuse me if I say it, Generation Xer’s couldn’t care less about a bunch of cowboy jocks singing about Oklahoma! They would rather hear about Giligans misadventures, thus Zeds TV Dinner Theater.
MRZ – Who’s Zed?
NES – Zed is a combination of our names. Kind of like a big tomboy brother.
YZM – No, actually Zed’s the freaky biker cop from (the movie) Pulp Fiction. He’s such a bizarre character, who to us kind of Personifies the whole feeling of our dinner theater. (laughter)
MRZ – What sort of programs do you have? What are some of the tv shows you do?
YZM -We’ve been working on what we call “The Horny Spock” episode of the original Star Trek, which we hope to be doing next month.
NES – You know the one where Spock has to return to his home planet so he can relieve himself of Vulcan Blue Ball. He ends up having to fight Kirk before he can get it on with the Vulcanette.
YZM – It has one of the greatest fight scenes in television history. Da-da-da-da Dn da-da-da.
MRZ – What other shows do you plan to be doing?
NES – The Courtship of Eddies Father, Gilligans Island, Fantasy Island, All in the Family, Three’s Company… the list goes on.
YZM – And Saturday night is monster and a movie night.
MRZ – What exactly is that?
YZM – We re-enact a movie on Saturday nights, edited of course. This Saturday we’re doing Deliverance. You should both come. Grog kind of looks like Ned Beatty. Come on Grog say SUEY! SUEY!(laughter and nervous look from Grog)
MRZ – Sounds like an exciting time. What is the monster part?
NES – This was actually an idea from Derek, a friend of ours. We basically get two people from the audience, strap their arms to their sides and make one wear a Godzilla mask and the other wear a King Kong mask. We then spin them around and the first one to knock the other one off the stage is King of the Monsters for the evening. Which basically means they get free food for the show.
MRZ – Any exciting bouts?
NES – Once a King Kong guy puked and passed out in his costume, which really sucked because, you know, have you ever tried to get vomit out of synthetic gorilla hair?
MRZ – Well, actually no, I haven’t.
NES – Let me tell you, it’s no damn treat.
MRZ – Any other treats in store?
YZM – Once a month we turn a regular television show into a musical. This month it’s Green Acres. I’m not going to tell you what episode, but it features Arnold the Singing Pig.
NES – We also have local bands play here throughout the week when we aren’t doing our show. And even sometimes after the show. Tonight The Dude Guys will be playing.
MRZ – What kind of junk food can one expect?
YZM – TV dinners, twinkies, Hohos…an assorted amount of junk food.
NES – Fried chicken, meat loaf or Salisbury steak, and lots of grease. Mmmm, MMM Good.
YZM – It’s amazing how many kids today don’t know what a real tv dinner is. Forget the weight watchers lasagna shit. I take the good ol’ banquet Salisbury steak, vegetable medley and tuff titty burnt brownie over that crap any day.
MRZ – Thanks for your time guys. Let’s end this interview by telling what your hours are.
YZM – We are open Thursdays through Saturdays, with some music shows during the week. Doors open at 7:00pm, shows start at 8:00 .p.m. It a good clean time so bring your mom and pay her back for dragging you to all the crappy dinner theater shows when you were a kid.