If Rolland Roebuck’s career were a play, he could not have scripted it any better. As one of the owners of Memories Ballroom, he has dared to dream, dared to chase those dreams, and is now able to sit back and live the dream.
The dream began when he stumbled upon Memories (then known as Port Danceland, and originally known as Weiler’s) 28 years ago. With then-owners, Bobi and David Schultz, Rolland brought the first season of dinner theatre to the facility. At the time, there was no kitchen, so the dinner was simply a box lunch.
With his vision for an Ozaukee County dinner theatre burning in his heart, he purchased the facility (which had since been renamed Memories, but more on that later) with partners Bob & Lynn Klemm in 2003.
Today, Memories is a thriving dinner theatre and banquet facility, bringing in around 20,000 guests per year. It produces five stand-up comedy dinner shows featuring an all-you-can-eat broasted chicken dinner called “Chicken Comedy,” eight dinner theatre productions, and three murder mysteries each year, providing year-round entertainment at reasonable prices. In addition, the rustic elegance of the facility makes it a sought-after hall for parties and weddings, bringing in 40-45 private events each year.
Since summers are such a popular time for weddings, summertime dinner theatre is a series of three weekday matinee productions. The first one for this year, “You’re Only Young Twice,” plays Tuesday through Thursday afternoons with one evening performance now through June 21st.
“The nice thing about the summer season,” says Rolland, is that you can come out and see the show and still have your evening free.”
The summer season also features the nearly sold out “Assisted Living- The Musical,” playing July 10-19, and “Squirrels in the Attic,” a comedy about empty nesters faced not only with the situation of their grown daughter moving back in with them, but the fact that she brings her obnoxious boyfriend with her. This show plays August 7-16.
The 2018 season wraps with two weekend series shows, “Killjoy,” a romantic, comedy/thriller playing November 2-11, and the popular musical comedy “Nunsense,” playing December 7-16. The upcoming Chicken Comedy and Murder Mystery features, as well as the 2019 season, will be announced this fall.
Long gone are the days of box lunches at Memories. Since adding a kitchen many years ago, dinner is now something to look forward to as much as the show, featuring a different themed meal for each production, with Memories’ famous fluff and a plethora of homemade desserts at the top of customers’ favorite picks.
The meals became so popular that a couple years ago, Memories started “Memories Kitchen to-Go,” a service where guests can order food to pick up for graduations and parties in their own homes.
After years of growing the business into a successful theatre, Rolland is excited to sit back and enjoy the fruits of his and his team’s labor. With the recent addition of a new hearing aid system called “The Loop,” where guests can tap their hearing aids into the sound system via T-Coil technology, and the completion of renovated bathrooms, Rolland feels like he has accomplished all that he set out to do with Memories.
“We picked the name Memories because anyone from the Weiler’s days will come in with memories, and anyone coming in since the Weiler’s days, we hope, will leave with memories,” explains Rolland. “I get to stand back now and just watch, and it’s joyful. I can help other people make their dreams come true, and that’s the part I’m enjoying now.”