TUSTIN, CA. Tucked away in a strip mall in Old Tustin on El Camino Real near 6th Street is the Encore Dinner Theatre. It was originally a movie theatre built in 1959 and was Tustin’s only theatre for many years. The theatre was remodeled in 1978 and converted into a dinner theater then renovated again in 2011 to its present ambience.
Encore Dinner Theatre and Club is dedicated to providing quality food and entertainment to our customers with an emphasis on great value. We take pride in providing great customer service in a relaxed atmosphere. Our intentions for our patrons are, an experience that exceeds your expectations of the “usual” dinner and a show. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share the arts with you and we consider Encore Dinner Theatre to be the “crown jewel” of Tustin and all of Orange County! ~Encore Dinner Theatre Mission Statement
The food was tasty; the service was motivated, professional, helpful, and the ambience was inviting. The self-acclaimed crown jewel of the Orange County arts scene made rockin’ to Martin Anthony’s Rockin’ 50’s, 60’s Tribute to Elvis show enjoyable. However, my one suggestion is dessert should really be included in the price of the dinner and show, but we appreciate the gift of preferred parking valued at $10 for the 2014 Crème de la King Karaoke Contest at the OC Marketplace. Martin Anthony is currently the crowned champion of the Crème de la King, winning the top prize two years in a row.
Martin showed us why he is a consistent top contender in contests throughout Southern California with his Elvis tribute show at the Encore. Backed by the Good Rockin’ Tonight band, Martin put on an energetic, spectacular show taking us through a musical history of the early years of Elvis’ career. The man can sing! The man can move! The leather cover encasing his guitar is imprinted with the moniker Kid Thunder. If this is a reference to Martin’s high octane stage performance, then it is a well-deserved nickname. Martin’s performances energized the audience with the power of a lightning bolt and the thrill of thunder resonating through you from head to toe.
Martin sang all the familiar hits everyone knows like Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, and many others. He also gave us an impromptu rendition of Suspicious Minds by request from a fan. The song was recorded by Elvis in 1969, so technically, it’s a 60’s song though it’s primarily associated with the concert years and jumpsuit. Undaunted, the band struck up the familiar chords and Martin rocked his interpretation of the iconic song.
The talent of an ETA can be gauged by how well he can pull off an Elvis song “out of character.” Martin was wearing black slacks, black leather shoes and a black 50s era blazer designed by Traci Bottini-Zusman. Though Martin was completely out of character for the song, it didn’t matter. He rocked the song to loud applause and cheers. He showed us what a 20-something Elvis might have done with the song if it had been written in the mid-50’s when his career was skyrocketing. There were no splits, of course, because that was not early Elvis, but there was just enough gyration to give you a realistic early Elvis feel for the song. It wasn’t over done or over sung and very believable. It was the highlight of the night and the audience loved Martin’s interpretation of the song.
I can’t end this article without mentioning Good Rockin’ Tonight’s young drummer, Joseph Magers. Magers’ energy and talent equally matched the skill and pace of Martin’s zeal on the stage. If you get the chance to see Magers’ playing with Martin’s band, Good Rockin’ Tonight or with Todd Torres’ band, Graceland, watch him, because you’re in for a treat.
Good food. Great songs. Superb entertainment. What more could Elvis fans want? Encore! Encore!