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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Murder Me Always Encore at New Bern Civic Theatre

From the Sun Journal New Bern, NC -

Dinner theater murder mysteries by design allow the audience to get involved in solving the crime.

New Bern Civic Theatre’s production of “Murder Me Always” doubles the challenge.

It is a play-within-a-play, with a murder mystery within each production.

“The audience will be initially watching a play that is being done by a theater company and in the midst of this play, it is interrupted by the director being shot,” said Angelina Hardy, who directs the production and also plays the role of the director. “The detective comes out, and the audience gets to interact with the actors and help solve the mystery.”

The dinner theatre is performed at The Courtyards at Berne Village, the fourth time the Civic Theatre has teamed with the senior living community for a production. The Courtyards underwrites the costs, with all the proceeds going back to the nonprofit theater group.

“The reason we do this is to support our local community economy, especially the Civic Theatre to keep such a viable piece of entertainment going in this community,” said Linda McGuire, marketing director for the Courtyards. “It’s our way of giving back to the community for the support the community gives us, by ensuring that we have high quality entertainment continuing in the downtown New Bern area.”

Saturday’s performance sold out in two weeks, which prompted the Civic Theater to add an encore performance Aug. 1.

Hardy said the initial play is set at a dinner party in a mansion.

“It’s a snobby high-society dinner with clique characters, where someone is supposed to be poisoned,” she said.

But the play is interrupted by real foul play and takes the audience on a different storyline.

“I specifically had the actors play the fake play a very distinct way so that when the murder happens, there is an obvious transition into real life,” Hardy said.

As is typical with dinner theatre murder mysteries, every character has secrets and motive and all are suspects.

There is an 11-actor cast featuring some Civic veterans such as Tom Dunton, Keith Boyd, Daryl Harris, Kathy Morrison and Kandy Antwine, along with debut performances by Gayle Albertini and Lisa Hubbell.

Charlie Hall can be reached at (252) 635-5667 or chall@freedomenc.com.