Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nice Work If You Can Get It...

The New Year's Eve dinner show at Dave & Buster's went very well. I was nervous because it was the first performance of a new script, and it's always more nerve-wracking trying to remember lines for a first performance. The audience of about 110 people participated, paid attention and laughed a lot. They were great!

For those of you not familiar with mystery dinner theater, I'll give a summary. While the audience dines on a three-course meal, the actors present a three-act murder mystery. The actors try to incorporate audience members whenever possible, and include them in jokes. Example: In the New Year's show we had a character with the first name "Happy" and the last name "Newyears." Corny, yes, but effective, because whenever her name was mentioned, the whole audience was strongly encouraged to yell, "Happy New Year's!" This show also featured a wedding, and audience members were picked out to stand on stage as bridesmaids and groomsmen. During the"question and answer" portion in each show between the second and third acts, the audience members quiz the suspects in the mystery and try to deduce whodunnit. The audience votes and then the solution to the mystery is presented as the third act. Usually the sponsor or host of the show supplies a prize to the audience members who correctly solve the mystery. It's not high art by any stretch of the imagination, but people usually have fun with it. Murder Mystery Players (MMP) offers private and public shows, usually at Dave & Buster's, a country club or a hotel ballroom. MMP also offers team-building games and interactive, live game shows. During the holiday season, I average two shows a week. Summers are usually pretty busy with shows too for some reason. I enjoy performing and stage managing the shows and games, AND it pays!

MMP Austin has a strong group of regular performers who are kind of like my theater family. Here are a few pics of the cast getting ready for the New Year's show.

Jeff Johannigman prepares to play the nervous groom.

Tracy Cathey looks over her lines for the role of "Rent-A-Reverand", the officiator of the wedding. Phil Klickman and Gary Hamilton prepare to play a suspect and the murder victim - I won't say which is which in case you attend a future show!

Our devoted director, Russ Wiseman, helps Phil with a costume fix, a.k.a. a safety-pin.

Me and Anna Maria Garcia. Guess which one is the bride.

Happy New Years! (Audience, that's your cue to yell it back to the actors!)

I wish all of you peace, health and wealth (however you choose to measure it) in 2007.