Audience names murderer in SHS mystery

Tickets on sale for dinner theatre production set for September 10

Stephenville High School Varsity Theartre players rehearse for a September 10 dinner theatre production of Romance is a Killer, featuring (left to right)vLeah Dowell as Lady Dorothy, Jasmine Secrest as Priscilla and Kaydee Jones as Lucretia. || Photo courtesy Mindy Pope


STEPHENVILLE (August 30, 2016) – Stephenville High School players rehearsed their lines all summer. They’re ready for their first production of the 2016-17 season. And, the premiere promises everything a mystery-loving, hungry audience craves – intrigue, suspense, murder… and lasagna.

The to-die-for production of Eileen Moushey’s “Romance is a Killer” will take the stage in the cafeteria at Henderson Junior High at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.

The setting is a romance novel convention, where novelists are vying for the coveted prize at the “Love Knot Awards” Banquet, according to SHS theatre instructor and show producer Mindy Pope.

Joey Wehnert and Alexus Duckett are serving over the cast as assistant directors.

“These seniors are in their fourth year of varsity theatre,” Pope said. “I’m really letting them direct this show with some help from me. They are doing an amazing job!”

A murder mystery is nothing without a murder, and one occurs at the convention. And a mystery becomes even more mysterious when the actors themselves are unsure of the outcome. Pope said the production asks audience members to decide how the performance ends.

“At intermission, when dessert is served, the audience will have the opportunity to interact with and question the characters,” she said, adding after they are quizzed, detective diners vote for the one they believe committed the crime.

The table will then turn on one of the potential suspects, as well as the actors themselves.

Throughout the production, clues will be given to help the audience draw a conclusion. Those clues will be presented by a member of the cast who plays a convention security guard.

“The kids do not yet know the ending, who did it,” Pope said, adding there are nine possible murderers, as many potential endings and the actors have rehearsed and will be ready for any outcome.

“I have produced this show three times and the audiences have never picked the same ending,” Pope added.

The long list of players includes The long list of players includes Sarah Ziegler and Aubreyanna Ziegler, playing convention hosts; Laramie Montgomery, as the publisher of Heart Throb Publishing and emcee of the event; Autry Wells, playing the security guard; as well as Kaydee Jones, Keith Ray, Jasmine Secrest, Aislinn Oxford, Creed Wilkerson, Alyssa Lee, Kyla Carter, Jessica Pacini, Leah Dowell, Brayden McCoy, Courtney McGuire, Jolie Mays, Salette Rios, Madi Gist, Jordan Self, Cooper Vandenberg, Cameron Bishop, Jala Watts, Destinee King, Dayanira Inman and Maeci Ray.

Tickets to the dinner theatre are $15 per person with seating limited to 250 individuals. The meal, lasagna, salad, garlic bread and dessert, will be prepared by Behind the Spotlight, which is made up of parents of the theatre students.

Pope said the dinner theatre promises a good time for audience members of all ages, as the playwright allowed for adaptations that make it family friendly.

The performance is major fundraiser for the SHS Theatre Department. Proceeds will help offset the expense of future shows, provide assistance to theatre students in need, feed students at the department’s annual banquet and fund an outing for players and technical students to see an off-campus production.   

Tickets can be purchased at the front desk in the foyer of Stephenville High School or from a theatre student.

Meanwhile, Pope said the season will also include a November 5 production of Singin in the Rain Junior, with a public performance at 2 p.m. and presentation play at 8 p.m.

The department will also hold its second annual Zombie Run on April 22.

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