WT Productions to host interactive 'Murder's Day' dinner theater fundraiser
It would be the typical Mother's Day dinner, but this family is anything but typical. Mom has to celebrate a week early because her five offbeat children can never agree on anything.
There's Neil, her favorite, who is most interested in himself, fashion, and being pampered. Anything or anyone else is a distant second.
There's Jane, who goes all out to get her mother to notice and praise her. There's Mikey, who is part of the local forest preserve police but desperately wants to join the city force.
There's Carrie and Terry, twins who are inseparable and have the tendency to finish each other's sentences. They believe they're identical twins even though they are not.
Then Uncle Paul shows up out of the blue. He hasn't been around for decades. What does he have up his sleeve?
And what's the deal with Jeremy, the maître d'? One of these characters will die, and the rest of them will be suspects.
That is the premise of the upcoming "Murder's Day" by Debbi Dennison of Streamwood and Carl Zeitler of Glen Ellyn.
WT Productions is partnering with STC Theater for this murder-mystery dinner theater fundraiser event.
"Murder's Day" will be a one-night only performance on Saturday, May 6, at North Avenue Pub & Grill in their private dining room.
A social hour begins at 6 p.m. with the performance at 7 p.m.
During the social hour, characters will interact with audience members. They may provide details that can be used as clues to help you determine the killer later that evening. Salad and an appetizer will be served just prior to the show beginning. There will be a meal break when the entrée will be served.
Once the main course is over, the performance will resume until dessert is served. During this time, predictions of whodunit and why will be collected. The show will conclude with the big reveal. Once over, several prizes will be awarded to those who guess correctly or come up with very creative responses.
Speaking of those prizes, several local businesses have donated some very nice items.
Pinot's Palette of St. Charles donated a prize basket worth $200, including a $150 gift certificate, art supplies, and a wine opener.
All Dressed Up Costumes in Batavia donated a basket of various Tastefully Simple jars of sauces, spices, and oils worth approximately $100. They also donated a bath bomb with a candle, a bottle of chocolate wine, and a mystery gift.
Paula's Couture Consignment in Batavia donated a bottle of red wine with a pair of glasses.
North Avenue Pub & Grill is donating a $50 gift card to their venue, and Dawn Block/Century 21 donated a $35 gift card to Home Depot.
"It truly is a night out for the audience. It's fun for them to try and guess whodunit and why. Clues are sprinkled throughout the script. In hindsight, many of the clues will make audience members say 'Aha.' 'Murders Day' is both scripted and interactive," Dennison explained. "The actors break that fourth wall and talk to and engage the audience. The social hour is especially fun. Actors completely interact with the audience in character on an improvised level. We've got some really fun, quirky characters played by fantastic actors."
Dennison and Zeitler are also directing and appearing in the production, which also features Mackenzie Grattan (Winfield), Tom Ochocinski (Forest Park), Stephen Pickering (Fox River Grove), Nikolai Sorokin (Wheaton), and Julane Sullivan (Batavia).
Grattan is looking forward to the performance. "This is my first ever murder mystery and it's been such a fun and interesting rehearsal process! The mixture of improvised audience engagement and rehearsed mayhem is an exciting challenge. And -- of course -- my castmates are stellar. It's been wonderful to work with some old friends and make some new ones on the way," she said.
Pickering was equally enthusiastic. "This cast is stacked! It's really a dream to be working with these brilliantly talented people, even more so on such a funny script! This experience is such a joy!"
"I love watching my cast mates bringing the script to life -- making the characters truly their own with enthusiasm and fun," Ochocinski added.
Patrons have three plated entrée choices: vegetarian rigatoni with vodka sauce, roasted chicken with roasted potatoes, or pan-seared salmon with roasted potatoes. All meal options include house salad, bruschetta, soft drinks, water, coffee, tea, and a slice of cheesecake. There will be a cash bar available for other beverages during the social hour and meal break.
Tickets are $61 for the vegetarian rigatoni, $69 for the roasted chicken, and $69 for the pan-seared salmon per person. Tickets include the meal items, performance, tax, gratuity, and all other fees. Part of the proceeds will go to STC Theater, a local community theater in its first year. Please help support the arts.
Tickets are only available online and must be purchased by Saturday, April 29, in order to have meal orders, staffing requirements, and seating arrangements ready for the night of the event.
Tickets are available at wtproductions2.weebly.com. "Murder's Day" is appropriate for audiences age 12 or older. Free parking is available.
North Avenue Pub & Grill at 27W371 North Ave. (Route 64) in West Chicago is in its first year of current ownership. They routinely provide a variety of entertainment options and are excited to include "Murder's Day" to the list.
"We are very excited to get something a little different here at the Pub, and I think a murder mystery dinner is perfect," stated David Klem, owner and operations manager.
Dennison also appreciates the opportunity to perform there. "The North Avenue Pub & Grill is a wonderful location for the show! It's very cozy and charming inside. It's big enough for the actors to move around, but small enough that the audience will feel like they are a part of the show," she said.
Members of the cast believe that "Murder's Day" audience members will be in for a treat. "The play is funny and sweet -- pretty much the hallmarks of all Dennison/Zeitler productions. And this play teaches us that individual differences help make great families," Ochocinski said.
"This is a marvelous way to begin your Mother's Day celebrations -- great food, and a really funny mystery show! It's the complete package," Pickering added.
"Who wouldn't want to spend an evening with good food, fun, and friends? We promise to provide an evening of murderous fun to celebrate mothers and everything they do for us," Grattan said.