Fishers resident Kenny Shepard puts in 19th consecutive year in “A Beef & Boards Christmas”
Kenny Shepard changes 220 times per week.
What is he changing? His costume.
The Fishers resident hosts the Christmas revue “A Beef & Boards Christmas 2012.” When the show gets into full swing and the cast performs 10 times per week at the dinner theatre, costumes are constantly shuffled out and changed.
He dons everything from a Santa suit to a bright white tuxedo, accented by blue elements.
At one point in the show, which Shepard describes as a performance of every Christmas song a person can think of, he dons a costume underneath a costume. It’s like a variety show exclusively for Christmas.
After 18 years of playing a role in the Beef & Boards Christmas show, changing is Shepard’s least favorite part of the experience.
This year marks the 20th consecutive year in a row the theatre has put on the show. It’ll be his 19th year performing in it in some capacity.
His favorite aspect of the show? Dancing the Christmas Waltz with long-time friend Deb Wims.
“That’s really special for the two of us. We love dancing together,” Shepard said. “Well, I can’t speak for her. I love dancing with her.”
They’ve known each other for about 20 years, and he said they know each other so well they can rescue each other if they veer from the script.
“There’s a lot of trust there between the two of us,” Shepard said.
The Christmas Waltz with Shepard is one of her favorites, Wims said.
Before Shepard met Wims, his career started after seeing an older sibling perform. The youngest child in the family, Shepard was dragged from performance to performance.
He said after some time he realized he could perform.
He started performing during his teen years with organizations like Footlite Musicals and the Civic Theatre. He eventually landed a gig at a theme park. He went to Butler University and picked up a degree in arts administration and dance.
From there, his journey took him to cruise ships, off-Broadway shows and performances at Disneyland playing Belle’s prince in the “Beauty and the Beast” more than 1,000 times, according to a press release.
Shepard said part of what makes shows like the Christmas revue special is that they run just the right amount of time, making things new.
He said in his line of work new opportunities arise, and sometimes the year isn’t always completely planned out.
While the landscape and gigs may change from time to time, Shepard said the “A Beef & Boards Christmas” mostly remains constant, with new segments being added as the only changing factor.
Beef & Boards carved out a niche with a family-friendly show that has a variety of acts, he said. This year, Alvin and the Chipmunks are a part of the show.
“The producers do a great job of casting here in that they are very mindful of putting people together that will become a family,” Shepard said. “It sounds cliché, but it really is true … They’re really great about bringing some of us back year after year, so it’s really like a family reunion.”
A Beef & Boards Christmas includes a holiday dinner buffet with the ticket. For more information on tickets and A Beef & Boards Christmas, visit this issue’s Night and Day Event Calendar.
Meet Kenny Shepard:
How long have you lived in Fishers? Seven years
What is your profession? Adjunct professor at Butler University and Anderson University
Favorite theatre show? “Cats”
Favorite actor? Daniel Day Lewis
Favorite venue? The Grand Palace in Branson or Disneyland