Fanny Hill dinner theatre closes the curtains on its final show

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- It’s the final curtain call for a longtime area dinner theater. Earlier this week, Fanny Hill announced it would end its dinner theater after more than 30 years. Sunday afternoon the theater held its last official performance.

The sights, sounds and enthusiasm said it all as the final curtain came down on the last show at Fanny Hill's Dinner Theatre

“It’s really great to be here for the last one but I’m really sad that it is the last show ever,” Mary Behling said.

Behling, who is from Eau Claire, says she can still remember coming to her first show 27 years ago.

“My friends parents were here visiting and we went to ‘On Golden Pond’ and it was just a terrific show,” Behling said.

Behling was just one person in a crowd of over one hundred that packed the theatre for its final performance Sunday. For Theatre Director Don Hodgins, the last show was bittersweet.

“A theatre is one of those all-consuming things it’s beyond an occupation. You do put your heart and soul in it so this will be tough,” Hodgins said.

Fanny Hill served as more than just a place where Hodgins spent 33 years. It’s a spot where he says he started his family.

“My wife and I, our lives were out here. We started dating out here, we got married out here and we figured we would probably be buried out here. But I guess two out of three isn’t bad,” Hodgins said.

Hodgins and Fanny Hill owner Dennis Heyde say the decision to close the dinner theatre part of the restaurant wasn’t easy. But declining attendance ultimately led them to make the tough choice.

“The amount of attendance just isn’t dictating the costs. It’s very costly for us all through the house You put it all together and you need a pretty big base of people to be able to support the theater program,” Heyde explained.

As the king of rock and roll played his final act in the Elvis Show. Hodgins offered these words as the curtain closed on the final show, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it was.”