'Diner theater' atmosphere, decor transform Greater Days Restaurant into 'Rick's Café Américain' for production commemorating 75 years of Casablanca, Road to Morocco

A famous movie will receive a “diner-theater” celebration of its 75th anniversary, with performances of Casablanca by Hollywood Live beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 at Greater Days Restaurant in downtown Hannibal.

Director Frank Elmore, who also plays the part of Rick in the production, said he soon discovered that The Road to Morocco came out at the same time as Casablanca — coinciding with escalating war in North Africa in 1942. He and Clark Cruikshank, who plays multiple roles in the performance, will perform a light-hearted duet on a fake camel during a movie-trailer tribute to The Road to Morocco. Elmore said Rajah Maples, who will perform as Ilsa, is a fan of film noir — she thoroughly researched the lighting and acting techniques that evoke the genre. Elmore said in addition to video footage and acting on the stage, action will be present throughout the restaurant, too.

“We're not just going to sit there and read it for you,” he said. “We're pretty excited about it.”

Greater Days owners Terry and Gail Bourret will serve a Moroccan-style buffet, including shish-kabobs and a date dessert. Elmore said the table settings, dancing harem girls during the buffet and decorations throughout the restaurant will have visitors feeling like they are in Rick's cafe.

“We'll be walking around through there as if those are tables in the cafe,” Elmore said. “And everybody there should feel like they're a part of it, especially when the Gestapo guy walks through.”

Elmore said that the performances will be a fitting tribute to both films, with a light-hearted approach throughout each event.

“We're just really happy about it,” he said. “It's going to be fun. We just want to have a good time, and there's a lot of talent around.”

Tickets will be available for the dinner and performance for $30. Performances will take place at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, at Greater Days Restaurant, 111 N. Main St. Tickets may be purchased by stopping by the restaurant during the day or by calling 573-221-6900 or 573-795-0060.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com