Wednesday, October 1, 2014

One wedding and a murder

The nexStage Theatre hosts matrimony-themed murder mystery

Express Staff Writer

Actors Claudia McCain, John Lewis, Holly Ann Hatch, Nate Farrell, Sallie Castle, Michael David, Tony Barriatua and Cathy Reinheimer star in nexStage Theatre’s “The Wedding from Hell.”
Courtesy photo

    Think Col. Mustard in the billiard room with a revolver a la the classic game of Clue, but 3-D.
    The nexStage Theatre in Ketchum will host its fourth annual murder mystery fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m.—this one centering on a bungled wedding ceremony. It is aptly named the “Wedding from Hell.” Guests are part of the show and must team up in order to find clues and name the culprit in a “who done it” murder sequence. Teams submit their guess for the suspected killer at the end of the evening and the nexStage provides prizes for the correct answers.
    The cabaret-styled show includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner catered by Tom Nickel of the Sawtooth Club. Each table includes two bottles of wine, one white and one red. The evening ends with celebratory wedding cake for all attendees.
    If an evening of thrills, chills and exquisite food isn’t enticing enough, the event is also a benefit for the nexStage Theatre’s ongoing performances, community programs and educational performing arts classes.
    “Out of every ticket, 50 percent is tax-deductible,” said Patsy Wygle, who is the play’s director, along with Keith Moore.    
    The nexStage Theatre, founded in 1992, is a non-profit arts organization for Blaine County. The group is involved in music, dance and theater productions, offers performing arts classes for south-central Idaho families and helps underwrite nonprofit community events, according to the company’s website.  
    Wygle and Moore began using Eileen Moushey’s interactive murder mystery scripts four years ago as the vehicle for nexStage Theatre’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Wygle said they met Moushey in New York City several years ago and were impressed by her work’s adaptability, humor and drama.
    Moushey is a Midwestern playwright who wrote dozens of adaptable murder mystery scripts that can be full-length performances or shortened down to accommodate even a performance on a train.
    While kids are welcome to attend, Wygle said the murder mysteries mostly attract adult audience members, as they offer alcoholic refreshments.
    In previous years, the nexStage Theatre hosted period-piece murder mystery shows using Moushey’s scripts with themes including disco and “The Fatal 50s.” This will be their first contemporary mystery, Wygle said.
    In the “Wedding from Hell,” the parents of the bride, Tina, and groom, Bruce, are dysfunctional and scheming, ex-flings show up unannounced, and the hapless wedding planner, played by Wygle, botches the flowers, the music and the ceremony. The plot itself doesn’t have heavy audience involvement, though the help of a guest may be called upon during “one brilliant, very dramatic death scene,” Wygle said.
    “The cake is a mess,” the play’s press release reads. “Tina’s dress came from a thrift store, due to a last minute mix-up. She breaks the heel from her shoe as she comes down the aisle. The wedding napkins read ‘Bruce and Tuna.’ A stranger shows up in time to die. Will Bruce and Tina be together ’til death do us part?’”
    While we’ve all attended less-than-perfect weddings, this one has a guest with blood on their hands. In the Ketchum mystery-theater tradition, Wygle asks attendees to come in their most hideous wedding garb. Prizes will be awarded to the best outfits.
    “Come in your old bridesmaid dress you swore you’d never wear again,” she said.
    The wedding party and guests are played by Claudia McCain, John Lewis, Holly Ann Hatch, Nate Farrell, Sallie Castle, Michael David, Tony Barriatua and Cathy Reinheimer.
    Tickets are $85 per person or $600 for a table of eight. The event has limited seating. Book your seats by calling 726-9124.    

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