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Gospel Revue at Wytheville’s Wohlfahrt Haus Delights Audience

The Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre, a German-themed establishment in Wytheville near the intersections of Interstates 81 and 77, has been entertaining guests since it opened in December 1999. Their current program, Then Sings My Soul, is a collection of traditional Christian hymns and contemporary worship songs and takes its name from a line in “How Great Thou Art.”

The Wohlfahrt Haus’ website introduces the program as: “The Gospel show that started it all makes a comeback for the first time since its premiere. Join us in praise through song and revelation as we present moving and timeless music of the Christian faith paired with Bible verses and moving stories. Certain to lift you up and imbue you with the spirit. Rated G.”

Combining a tasty meal and quality entertainment, the dinner theater is a fine destination for a day trip from the Roanoke or New River Valleys.

This reviewer made his first visit with a bus group on a blustery morning in early April, and the German theme of the Wohlfahrt Haus was augmented by the snow flurries, adding an Alpine feel. Our group entered through the lobby and was greeted warmly by Director George Bailey, and then entered the theater. On that day, all seats appeared to be sold out. The room is filled with tables for two, four, or six, and guests remain there for the meal and show. The servers are also the performers, and the service was friendly and swift.

The meal consisted of a garden salad and pita chips with dip, for appetizer. The entrée was Hamburger Steak with Gravy along with Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Peas, and Homemade Dinner Rolls. Chocolate Cherry Cake and coffee are served during the intermission.

After the meal, the servers cleared the dishes and headed backstage to get ready to deliver their high-energy performance. The curtain rose and revealed about twenty musicians; guitarists and a drummer but mostly vocalists, performing “How Great Thou Art,” from which the show got its name.

There was a mix of older and newer songs, including “He Turned the Water into Wine” and “Down in the River to Pray,” featured in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou? The pace was quick and ever-changing, interspersing slower with faster songs, and the deliveries included solos, duets, trios, quartets, or all singing en masse. Moreover, some jokes, drama sketches, or inspirational stories were told between songs.

The show then ended as it began, with a rousing rendition of “How Great Thou Art.”

All in all, the event was entertaining, enjoyable, and worshipful.

Bobby Harris, who began serving in music ministry at age 16, is Pastor to Senior Adults at Mineral Springs Baptist in Vinton, and he had this to say: “I have been taking groups to the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theater since it opened in 1999, and we always enjoy the shows and the wonderful food, but this show Then Sings My Soul was exceptionally good. All the musicians sang beautifully. I loved ‘He’s Alive,’ ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow,’ ‘Still the Greatest Story Ever Told,’ and CeCe Winan’s ‘The Goodness of God.’

“They were all great, but these four were really moving to me. We are looking forward to the next trip there. I encourage everyone to support this local Dinner Theater!”

The dinner theater offers Thursday and Sunday matinees plus Friday and Saturday dinners at 6:00 followed by the show at 7:30.

Then Sings My Soul runs until May 5.

Tickets for both the meal and program are $60, with children’s meal and tickets available. (For Oklahoma in the fall and the Christmas program later, tickets are $65.) Reservations can be made by calling the Box Office at 276-223-0891 or 888-950-3382.

Wytheville is just about a 90 minute drive from the Roanoke Valley and 30 minutes beyond Blacksburg, south on I-81.

Since The Wohlfahrt Haus is near the intersection of Interstates 81 and 77, it is easily accessible not only from western Virginia, but also from North Carolina, West Virginia, and eastern Tennessee,

The Wohlfahrt Haus is at 170 Malin Drive, Wytheville, VA 24382.

–Scott Dreyer

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