Circle Theatre Revival: “Phil’s Diner” Open for Business


June 2nd, 2017

Martin (Dan Luethke, center), flanked on the right by Rudy (Steve Gibbs) and on the left by Phil (Mike Markey) is overjoyed to announce the birth of his baby. Photo courtesy of The Circle Theatre.

Omaha, NE—Phil’s Diner was a concept designed by The Circle Theatre co-founder, Doug Marr in the ‘80s, and it may be the first example of what you might call diner theater. There’s not a stage, exactly–guests watch from their tables as the lives of Phil and a gang of other plucky characters unfold around them.

The first performance of Phil’s Diner was in 1984, and much of the original cast has gotten back together to recreate that first episode, titled, “Phil Contemplates Putting a Jukebox in the Diner.”

Performing without a stage has its challenges, but the actors prepare much the same, pouring over scripts and rigging props, but with the added difficulty of stumbling around bar stools and not knowing when to come out of the kitchen.

Over the years though, there’s no doubt the actors have made their mark on their characters.

Phil’s Diner will be open for business Friday and Saturday nights, June 2 through the 17. To reserve a booth and slice of pie for the performance at Harold’s Koffee House in Florence, visit

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