This past spring as school was winding down for the year, drama and forensics students at Maryville High School got the opportunity to solve a “murder” while serving family and friends dinner in the school commons.
“The Kentucky Derby - a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre,” was an original MHS Drama and Forensics production.
The dinner theater wrapped up the school year for the students in the departments.
With each scene, guests were served a different course for dinner, and got to watch as the murder mystery unfolded, scene by scene.
The first scene was the arrival of guests, with “mint juleps” (iced tea) served to the diners. In the second scene, “The Opening Ceremony,” the guests were served a fresh fruit cup. A garden salad accompanied the next scene, “Suspicions and Rumors.” In Scene 4, “Murder,” they enjoyed a main course while a murder unfolded, with plenty of suspects.
“The Investigation” brought the characters to the forefront to try to solve the homicide. The audience got in on the act in Scene 6, “Guessing the Murderer.” All was revealed in Scene 7, as diners were treated to a gourmet dessert.
Prizes, courtesy of Puleo’s, Aubrey’s, Texas Roadhouse, O’Charley’s, Shoney’s, Dandy Lions, Razberries and The Village Tinker, were awarded as the fun evening came to a close.
Leslie Capozzoli, drama teacher and forensics coach, said the students had a great time. “It was the first time we have done this. It was so successful that we were hired out to do a private party at the Capitol Theater.”
Brittany Robinson said the student actors got the opportunity to play interesting, well-developed characters.
“We had to figure out who did it, and we played off whatever the guests in the audience said,” she said. “As long as I was not around my parents or someone I knew, it was fun. It got harder to stay in character when you were performing for people you knew.
Aaron Jamison, Jr., who played “Raj” the server, said, “I love the point of acting -- that you can be someone other than yourself is fascinating.”
Maryville High School drama and play production classes will begin the new school year with Woody Allen’s “Don’t Drink the Water,” on Sept. 25-26, with students from Sherry Petrowski’s class.
In November, Leslie Capozzoli’s students will offer a production of “M*A*S*H*,” Nov. 13-14.
A musical offering will be presented in March, combining with Dr. Ken Hawkins’ Maryville Singers. The choice of musical has not yet been announced.