4-Karat Magic at Ft. Knox

By Jean Metcalfe

It was a magical evening. Literally.

Fort Knox's Historic Heritage House Dinner Theatre closed out its run of "The Day of Vaudeville / A Night in Burlesque" on March 16 and this writer was in the audience to catch the magic act of our 'Bluegrass Bits" columnist Berk Bryant.

From the moment we stopped at the guard house at the entrance to the U.S.A. Armor Center (perhaps best known as the site of the U.S. Gold Bullion Depository, where the nefarious "Goldfinger" pitted his skills against James Bond and lost, leaving the gold intact), everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful. The guard was very congenial, providing a map and pinpointing the exact location of the theater, which exactly matched the precise directions given earlier over the phone by the theater's spokesperson.

We were greeted at the door of the intimate and comfortable theater by personable personnel, including theater director Ross Daniels, who promptly handed us the information he had promised. The high-school student who was our waiter was exactly the kind one hopes for at restaurants. He was working for tips, but even so, his manner was exceptional as he escorted us to our table, pointing out strategic locations along the way.

As we were finishing our delicious meal at our clean, white-cloth-covered table, Berk Bryant came by to perform a little bit of magic. It is quite interesting to have one foam ball become two while held tightly inside one's hand!

"The Day of Vaudeville / A Night in Burlesque" was a delight. It was an excellent way to get away from deadline pressures, but certainly more than deserving of a few minutes of this writer's dwindling writing time.

From magic to dance, from a Groucho-like doctor-nurse skit to a "Who's On first" routine, from a wonderfully executed, slightly-bawdy courtroom skit (Director Daniels was wonderful as the judge) to a patriotic finale, the entire cast (who had to strike the set after that performance) provided entertainment that made the just-under-an-hour drive well worth the effort.

Make that much more than worth the effort.

By the way, Berk, I still don't know how you turned one sponge ball into two sponge balls, let alone how you turned your cane into scarves and sparkly confetti!

(Berk Bryant's mother passed away just two days before this performance. But Berk performed all his scheduled routines, living up to the show business tradition that the show must go on. Our thoughts are with Berk and his family at this difficult time.)

"As You Like It" will be presented at Heritage House on April 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27. Auditions for "Big River, "Roger Miller's 1985 Tony Award-Winning musical, will be held on April 14.

Performance dates have not yet been The Heritage House Dinner Theater is located at 7375 Missouri Street. fl Knox, Ky. 40121-5000. For additional information and reservations call (502) 624-3048.