Cabaret-style theater in Greenwood moving to new digs

Stage to Screen Catered Cabaret, which opened last fall in a small, downtown Greenwood space, is planning to move across town to a larger location that will allow the venue to significantly increase its programming.

The establishment, which produces original Las Vegas-style shows in a limited-seating cabaret environment, currently operates out of a not-quite-4,000-square-foot space at 350 S. Madison Ave. 

Chris Tompkins mug Chris Tompkins

In September, thanks to financial support from two of the theater’s regular patrons, it will move to an 8,500-square-foot space at 916 E. Main St. The new location, also in Greenwood, is a long-vacant spot in the Vista Run shopping center just west of Emerson Avenue. 

The bigger venue will offer more parking and a much larger stage, allowing Stage to Screen to bring in outside acts—bands, comedians, magicians—to supplement the theater’s own shows.

“We can actually have this space operating seven days a week, and that’s a huge huge difference for us,” said Stage to Screen owner Chris Tompkins, who grew up in Franklin. “There are so many things we can do.”

Tompkins, 59, who has a background in hospitality and entertainment, moved back to the area last year after 40 years out of state. He’s lived around the United States, including Florida, New York City and Las Vegas. Some of his past jobs include choreographer for the Indiana Pacemates, and producing shows for ESPN and Princess Cruise Lines.

The ability to bring in outside acts should be a game-changer, Tompkins believes. Stage to Screen hasn’t reached the break-even point yet, and the current venue’s size limitations are a big reason why.

Stage to Screen’s current venue has very limited parking and a 18-foot-by-16-foot stage that’s too small for outside acts, Tompkins said, so until now the venue’s schedule has only included its own productions. 

Tompkins and associates create all the productions, which he describes as Las Vegas-style musical shows. This season’s shows have included "Them Girls," a musical tribute to the Supremes, the Pointer Sisters and Donna Summer; a country music show called "Lil’ Bit a Country;" a holiday musical revue; and others.

“We’re not doing "Fiddler on the Roof" for the 15th time in the market,” Tompkins said. “We’re not like everyone else.”

Buffet-style meals are provided by an outside catering company, Grafton Peek.  

Even though several of its shows have been sellouts, it hasn’t been enough for the 76-seat venue to break even financially. 

The new venue’s stage is 41 feet wide and 24 feet deep—plenty big enough for outside acts. Its seating capacity will stay relatively small (about 96 seats) to preserve the cabaret feeling, but Tompkins will now be able to book more nights of entertainment, bringing in more revenue.

“At the end of the day, a business is a business. It has to make money,” Tompkins said. 

Tompkins said the new venue will be ready in time for the opening of Stage to Screen’s fall season—a show called Monsters and Mayhem on Main Street that opens Sept. 26. 

The move is possible thanks to investors Bob and Dorothy Rynard, who live on the south side of Indianapolis and are regular patrons at Stage to Screen.

Bob Rynard, who is retired from a real estate and development career, said they liked what Tompkins was doing and saw the business’ potential if it could find a more suitable space.

“They put on a very good show,” he said.

So Rynard offered to help Tompkins find a larger venue. He also offered to pay for leasing and renovation costs in the new space. Rynard declined to say how much he and his wife are investing in the project other than to say it is a “sizable” amount.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tompkins will repay the Rynards out of Stage to Screen’s profits.

Tompkins said about half of his audience is from Greenwood, but the other half comes from outside the city—as far away as Carmel and Noblesville, Plainfield and Columbus.

“We are definitely drawing from all parts of the city,” he said.

The new location is less than a mile from the Main Street exit on Interstate 65, which Tompkins said is another mark in its favor.

In other news this week, we'll start with a follow-up to a story IBJ first reported late last month: 

Yo Mama Roux at 8950 E. 10th St., whose owner had expected to close June 14 because of slow business, remains open. 

Owner Colleen Kenna said that as long as business holds up she intends to remain open, though "it is quite literally a week to week scenario and it's hard to say what will happen."

A fast-casual Asian restaurant, Yujo, is coming to 9431 N. Meridian St.

According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Yujo will specialize in Japanese ramen and boba tea, and this will be its first location.

The restaurant is aiming for an opening in late July or early August.

Goldfish Swim School plans to open its third Indianapolis-area location, at 1675 W. Smith Valley Road in Greenwood.

Founded in Michigan, Goldfish specializes in teaching children to swim. The company entered the market in 2013, with a Carmel location—its first in the state. It has since opened a Fishers location.

The 6,450-square-foot Greenwood site is targeting a December opening.

The franchise co-owner of all three locations is Katie Lee of BHB Investment Holdings. 

Zips Dry Cleaners, which entered the Indianapolis market last year with a store at 5025 E. 82nd St., plans to open a second local site at 1361 W. 86th St.

The new spot, in a long-vacant 2,900-square foot outlot building in the Greenbriar shopping center, is aiming for an October opening. Local franchisees are Larry Frutkin and his wife, Emma.

The Frutkins, who signed an agreement to open five local Zips, also plan to open at The Yard development in Fishers early next year. They’re also eying downtown Indianapolis for a fourth spot. They haven’t yet settled on a location for their fifth store.

Zips bills itself as an eco-friendly dry cleaner with a same-day, one-price business model. The flat rate for dry cleaning garments is $2.29. 

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