WhoDunnit Inc. prepares for
15th season of dinner theatre
The group stages its season of shows
at Louisville hotel
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 2014) – For anyone seeking an evening of suspense and mystery, along with a great meal and quality entertainment, WhoDunnit Inc. offers the perfect option. WhoDunnit’s plays give the audience a unique, interactive experience. The non-profit group will kick off its 10th anniversary season in Louisville Oct. 11, with a WhoDunnit classic, “Murder by Midnight: The Case of the Missing Identity.” It will mark the group’s 15th season overall, since its founding in New England.
This double-anniversary season will feature two classic WhoDunnit plays and two new shows. “Murder by Midnight” is a WhoDunnit favorite that will start the season, and the “The Twelve Murders of Christmas” is another classic that will return to the WhoDunnit stage. “The Oxford Incident” and “Murder on the Alien Express” will have their debuts later in the season.
The cast of “Murder by Midnight” includes (from left) John Collins as Daniel Collins, Rebekah Dow as Mira, Ben Rogers as Jeremy Tallwood, Beth Olliges as Janice Tallwood, John Lina as Ellsworth Trent, and Emily Eader as Jesse Tallwood.
Arthur Patrick Brophy will star as famous WhoDunnit detective Dr. Angus MacCrimmon in “Murder by Midnight.” The play takes place in 1904 and centers on Daniel Collins, who wakes up to the horrific realization that someone has re-invented his life. The show, written by Ann Waterman and directed by Niles Welch, will run Oct. 11 through Nov. 15.
“We’ll have a combination of the old and new to celebrate the anniversary,” explains Beth Olliges, 48, creative director at WhoDunnit and part of the cast of “Murder by Midnight.”
The new scripts are developed by WhoDunnit writers. Ann Waterman, co-founder and CEO of WhoDunnit, crafts many of the plays.
Beginning as an annual charity benefit for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, WhoDunnit was founded in Massachusetts by Water-man and former actor and director Joel Hellman.
Since its move to Louisville, WhoDunnit shows have taken place at different venues. The cast performed at Masterson’s before moving to the Hyatt downtown. Last season, WhoDunnit shows were held at the Ramada Plaza. This will be the first season at the Hilton Garden Inn.
“It’s working out well so far,” Olliges says in reference to performing at the Hilton Garden Inn. “We will get to plant some roots and hope to stay there a while.”
This season marks Olliges’s fourth year with the organization.
“The WhoDunnit shows are always a lot of fun as an actress because it uses my normal acting skills as well as improv skills,” Olliges says. “You never know what the audience is going to ask. The only rule is you’re required to tell the truth. You can only lie if the audience asks if you were the one who ‘did it.’
“I never tell anyone who ‘did it.’ My boyfriend has come to see several of the shows, but I don’t even tell him anything about it. To me, the fun of the plays are figuring it out.”
Performing in a hotel once a week necessitates the use of mobile sets, and Olliges stresses the incredible amount of work required for each show.
“We need roadies to load up and set up our sets and sound equipment,” Olliges explains. “We have to set up at the hotel and test everything before the show. Then, once the performance is over, we have to reverse the process and take everything back.”
WhoDunnit also offers private shows, which further require flexibility. The sets and equipment have to be adaptable for various spaces, including country clubs, homes and other private venues.
Many of the details essential for success at diverse locations are attended to by Welch, executive producer and director for WhoDunnit.
“He deals with all of those many details that go into putting something like this on,” Olliges says. “He also directs many shows. He’s directing ‘Murder at Midnight.’ He’s great to work with. He always comes up with creative ideas.”
In addition to the excitement of performing for the double-anniversary season, Olliges says she is looking forward to the upcoming season for personal reasons. “At the Christmas show this year, I will be making my director debut. Erica Goldsmith and I will be co-directing ‘The Twelve Murders of Christmas.’ We’re both pretty excited about that. We have each been assistant director, but this will be both our first times actually being the person in charge.”
Olliges expects this season to be as great as the others. “We have really good, high quality entertainment. We pride ourselves on having high quality mysteries.”
• The cost of tickets is $45.50 per person, which includes dinner, the show, tax and gratuity. The plays are held at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2735 Crittenden Dr., Louisville. Anyone interested in private showings should contact WhoDunnit at (502) 426-7100.
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