Off Broadstreet Dessert Theatre presents ‘Johnny Gough in Costa Rica,’ fundraiser for Music in the Mountains |

Off Broadstreet Dessert Theatre presents ‘Johnny Gough in Costa Rica,’ fundraiser for Music in the Mountains

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector


WHO: Off Broadstreet Cabaret Dessert Theatre and Music in the Mountains

WHAT: Johnny Gough in Costa Rica

WHERE: 305 Commercial Street, Nevada City

WHEN: Opening Jan. 24 and running for 6 weeks, with a special fundraiser to benefit Music In The Mountains Thursday Jan. 30 at 7:15 p.m.

TICKETS: 530-265-8686 or

For 30 years, Off Broadstreet Cabaret Dessert Theatre has been a great source of musical and comedy entertainment for locals and tourists alike. Owners Jon Driscoll and Jan Kopp have brought countless productions to the stage that never fail to entertain and amuse. Their latest creation — the third installment in the Johnny Gough series — features Jay Barker, Kate Haight, Krissi DeKowzan, Ken Miele, Micah Cone and Tina Marie Kelly. One performance will serve as a fundraiser for Music in the Mountains.

Opening Jan. 24, “Johnny Gough in Costa Rica” is the third installment in the musical comedy soap opera of famed police detective Johnny Gough (Pronounced “Go”). Co-owner and playwright John Driscoll said, “It’s a who dunnit’ and pursuit type of story line but all of our shows are musical comedies so they all have familiar songs that come in and out of it to carry along the story.”

There is no need to worry if you missed chapter one “Go Johnny Gough,” or even chapter two ”Johnny Gough at the Cheatin’ Heart.” Audiences will be quickly caught up to speed as the story moves to Costa Rica. Music includes hits from the 1960s to the 1990s.

According to Driscoll, the 85-seat cabaret theater was a dream come true for the couple who had worked at a local dinner theater before opening their own place. When the space, owned by the Elks Lodge, became available, they found themselves in the “right place at the right time.”

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Having worked in dinner theater in the past, they came up with the idea to treat the place like a dinner theater without the dinner.

Driscoll said, “We didn’t want to compete with local restaurants. We aren’t food people. We are theater people. So we decided to do something unique.”

Desserts are offered at intermission.  Coffee, beer, wine and soft drinks are sold before the show and at the break.

While the theater has enjoyed success pretty much since its inception in 1989, it is the original works that keeps folks coming back. Driscoll said, “We always wanted our own theater business, we just didn’t know how it was going to happen. When the opportunity arose for us to do it, we started out doing well known productions, such as ‘Nunsense’ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ but we realized it was more cost effective to write our own shows.”

Driscoll estimates that in the thirty years since, he and Kopp have created over 70 original plays.

The experience of attending a show at Off Broadstreet tends to be personal. From the process of making a reservation which includes a phone call back to confirm, to the familiar staff and even audience members. Driscoll said, “People like that. We want people to feel special when they come in. We want them to feel like they are part of a party. It’s not just about the play. It’s about going somewhere, going to somebody’s home, having some entertainment, surrounded by people they know. It’s kind of like our church.”

Preshow entertainment is provided by Chris Crockett who serenades the crowd for an hour.


As a member of the arts community, Off Broadstreet is supporting another community nonprofit — holding the Jan. 30 performance as a fundraiser for Music in the Mountains (MIM). Driscoll said, “Margaret Munson (with the MIM Alliance) approached me a couple of months ago and I thought it was a good thing to do. It feels good for us to give back to the community.”

MIM marketing and donor services manager Hillary Hodge said, “Arts organizations are more successful when we work together. We saw this as a great opportunity to do a little bit of cross promotion. Both of our audiences enjoy live performances and live music and while the genres may be a little bit different in our offerings, a chance to go out and see live art is always fun.”

As is common across most art organizations, MIM relies on donors to keep their doors open. Hodge said ticket sales account for only 25%-30% of their annual income. “We rely on our donors and volunteers and we are thankful for the community and for all who support us.” MIM is bringing the prestigious California Youth Symphony to the Amaral Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds of March 8. Tickets and more information are available at

As for Off Broadstreet, if you miss “Johnny Gough in Costa Rica,” they will be bringing back “Songbird” featuring Kris Stepanian and Jon in March. The theater remains a treasure in the foothill’s community. As Driscoll said, “We aren’t like anybody else.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at

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