Monday, March 20, 2006

"All Over But The Shooting" Raises Laughs & Funds

Article below appeared in the "The Talon", York High School's newspaper. Yorktown, VA.

Sophomore Production Raises Funds

By Taylor Riccio

The sophomore class had an unusual fundraiser this year: a murder-mystery snack theatre performed by York High’s Falcon Players. The fundraiser was a major success due to the hard work put in by the directors, actors and volunteer sophomores.
Sophomore class sponsors Jaime Miller and Heather Davis, both English teachers, conceived idea of a snack theatre to raise money. The concept for the show was created from Davis’ concern over the lack of a musical this year and desire to give the drama students something to do in the spring. Though it is a sophomore fundraiser, auditions were open to all classes.

The show “All Over But the Shooting” was written by Lee Mueller. The show is a comedic murder-mystery revolving around a murder committed during an audition for a show.

Lacking the luxury of an auditorium, the fundraiser was performed in the school cafeteria. The Players were forced to make due with what they had. Costs of the show were kept to a minimum so most of the ticket sales could go into the sophomore accounts. Costuming was provided from the actor’s existing wardrobes and the set was made of borrowed chairs and tables already in the cafeteria.

Accordingly, snacks were provided for the audience by donations from members of the sophomore class. The snacks were provided at a nominal fee and were served at intermission.

Since the snacks were all donated, the snack sales were all profit that went directly into the class fund.

Attendance of the performance was more than double what had been expected for the showing.

The show brought in over one thousand dollars in profit to the sophomore class through ticket and food sales. Due to the success of the fundraiser Miller and Davis plan to have a similar event next year.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Little Falls NY is Getting Murdered In The Morning

Little Falls, New York ---
The senior class of Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School is staging a murder mystery dinner theater presentation, "I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning,” this Thursday and Friday. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.

The mystery swirls around a wedding reception, where during the garter toss a mysterious man falls dead from a gunshot. An interesting array of wedding guests, including Mr. Parker, damage control expert, and Mary Berger, a society columnist, attempt to solve the mystery, while keeping the reception running smoothly. Many clever plot twists take the diners on a wild, mysterious ride before the truth is finally revealed.

The murder mystery dinner theater will be held in the Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School cafeteria and the cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 10 and younger. Tickets are available at the school, or can be purchased from a member of the O-E Class of 2006.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Perkins County Presents...

The Perkins County Area Arts Council in Grant Nebraska will be presenting the murder mystery I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning at the Perkins County High School on March 31st. April 1st and April 2nd. Check out Perkinscountycreators.com
Tickets are on sale in the showroom at Deaver Computer Service through March 15th during the stores regular hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon - Fri and Saturdays 9 a.m. 'til noon For ticket information and reservations drop by Deaver Computer Service, 223 Central Ave. Grant, Nebraska and ask our PCAAC ticket sales folks or call (308) 352-6508 during regular business hours 9-5 weekdays & 9-noon Saturday.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Grand Time in Granville

I was recently invited to see one of my productions performed by Granville High School students. Here is the article:

Playwright's presence boosts GHS actors
Sentinel Reporter

Playwright Lee Mueller had never been to a production of one of his plays outside of his hometown of St. Louis, Mo. So when the invitation came from Granville High School underclassman play director Samantha Mastrian Bell to attend the production she was directing of his play "Murder Me Always" last Saturday, he agreed.
Her cheeky invitation gave the cast the thrill of meeting a playwright. Cast member and freshman Moriah Parrish said during the first weeks of rehearsal the thought of the playwright being in the audience made her nervous. But by the time of the production, her reaction changed to excitement.

And after Mueller met her and other cast members after the show and told them a little about how he developed the characters, she had more reason to be positive.

"He was laid back and nice," she said.

Bell knew Mueller's work from having directed another of his plays while she was employed in the Zanesville School District. She said his plays are a good match for high-school actors.

"The writing is doable for high-school kids and the language is easy," she said.

Bell, an elementary-school music teacher, said she chose "Murder Me Always" because she liked the central idea in it -- a play within a play. A theater company's very bad performance comes to a sudden halt when the director is murdered. The second mystery takes over, and the entire cast become suspects. A gumshoe detective comes on the scene to investigate.

Though the play has a script to fall back on, Mueller's hope is for it to ride a lot on improvisation by the cast and the spontaneity of the audience, which is invited to help solve the mystery.

While improvising, freshman Tom Ream, who plays a suspect-turned-undercover cop, lists song titles for his upcoming musical. Mueller liked his ad lib addition and approached him after the show to ask if he could put it permanently in the script.

"Go for it," said Ream.

For Mueller, 45, writing plays is a night job he does for fun. His regular job is as a software trainer. He sells his two-act comedy murder mysteries through a Web site. A St. Louis theater, Affton Center Stage, regularly puts on his plays.

Mueller says he gets a kick out of seeing his thoughts, jokes and ideas interpreted by other people, and by an audience coming to see his work.

"People are taking the time from their lives to see my plays," he said.