In the early 1970s, several local business owners saw the need for an entertainment center that could host convention business, concerts and theatre productions. The Windmill Dinner Theatre group, which owned dinner theatres in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, constructed and managed the facility. Carolyn Thomas, then Derby General Manager, partnered with Bekki Jo Schneider to buy the center in 1985. As of 2009, Thomas was retired, but she and Schneider, who produces and oversees all aspects of the business, still own 50% of the company. The other half is owned by small investors.
The Derby offers a homestyle American buffet featuring a salad bar, fish, beef or Turkey, a variety of vegetables and sides, hot rolls and beverage. Bountiful deserts are a tradition and a full bar is available. The "Footnotes" vocal ensemble entertains patrons prior to the performance.
The venue uses the theatre-in-the-round configuration, and the actors are professionals. Performances are on Tuesday through Sunday nights, with matinées on Wednesday and Sunday. The theater's stage can rise and lower for set changes and musicals include an orchestra which plays in the "attic". Each year, the Derby presents eight mainstage shows, four Children's productions and seven concerts.