Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Draws a Crowd

Centertainment Productions hosted the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s first ever murder mystery dinner last Saturday.

Hosted in the Encore of the Dreyfus University Center, the dinner was complete with a gourmet meal and an interactional mystery that participants were called upon to solve.

The theme of the night was Fergie’s song, “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.” It was played numerous times throughout the evening along with other songs to set the mood.

“I have been singing that song all week. We were all really excited for this event,” said Allison Kelley, Public Relations Director at Centertainment.

Photo by Emily Hoffmann. Diane Ray, Rebecca Jankowski, Lars VanAlstine, and Kurt Bennett, freshmen, make conversation at the murder mystery dinner on Saturday.

Photo by Emily Hoffmann.
Diane Ray, Rebecca Jankowski, Lars VanAlstine, and Kurt Bennett, freshmen, make conversation at the murder mystery dinner on Saturday.

The Encore was decorated to the hilt and was transformed into a 1920’s-esque speakeasy called “The Juice Joint.” Guests came dressed elaborately in costumes that fit the times ranging from flapper costumes to full on wigs.

Guests even attempted to speak in 1920’s terminology with words like “swell” and “dandy.” It was clear that students and community members came ready to embrace the era.

Every player was assigned a role in the mystery. UWSP freshman Lars Vanalstine played a south side mob member.

“I just came with friends to see what this was all about. I have had a really great time,” Vanalstine said.

Dinner was served as a four-course meal catered by University Dining and Summer Conferences. The first was coffee, artisan rolls, and mixed green salad. The second was carrots, green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. The third was roast poultry or tofu roulade. Dessert featured strawberries with basil.

Dinner was followed with mingling based upon the character descriptions players were given. That is when the mystery began.

Notorious Nick, North Side Mob Boss, was shot. The character was played by visitor Ben Menard. The rest of the night featured a detailed investigation where all participants attempted to figure out who the culprit was. Participants were asked to fill out a slip to make their guesses.

Senior psychology major Lucas Linnell was assigned the role of police chief Cameron and was found to have committed the murder in the end.

“A friend of mine had done one of these events before, so I thought I would come and check it out. It was awesome, and I would definitely do it again,” Linnell said.

At the end of the event, various awards were given out for Drama Queen, Dressed to Kill, Mr. Money Bags, and the Smoking Gun to those who had guessed the murderer correctly.

Centertainment’s Club/Variety Coordinator Emily Anderson was in charge of the event.

“I usually put together the comedy and magic shows. Every once in a while, though, I get to come up with a homegrown event,” Anderson said.

Anderson wanted to put together an event where participants could be interactive and creative, something new and fresh that would draw people in.

“The event went even better than I thought it would. Tickets sold out in fifteen minutes. One hundred people probably would have come if we had enough roles to fill,” Anderson said.

Anderson made it clear that she could not have pulled off the event on her own. As a full-time student with 18 credits, she spent 40 hours during the past two weeks in the office planning the event and learning about every character.

“Everyone at Centertainment helped pull this event together. Everyone really had my back. From the catering to the decorations and music, it was a blast to create this event. This is what work should be like, things that make your heart happy,” Anderson said.

Centertainment aspires to make the murder mystery dinner theater a yearly event.

MyKayla Hilgart

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