Club Mystique…the Research!

(This was originally posted May 16, 2010. This spring ’2014′ will be our 3rd time doing this amazing show)

As a 33 year old woman who grew up in Utah, I can’t say as I’ve had much experience with film noir.  I did study “Citizen Kane” in my Intro to Film class way back at the community college but unfortunately all I could really remember about the film was that the sound and dialogue were not balanced and as we all leaned in to hear who exactly Rosebud was…a shrill cockatoo made its loud squawk and my film professor quickly turned the volume down….so much for Citizen Kane.

When we decided to try our hand at a classic Who Done It mystery, it only seemed natural to set it in America in the classic film noir style of the 1940′s. As the production team sat around at our brainstorming meeting, tossing out ideas and scenarios of how the mystery should go down, I thought to myself, “Man…this is gonna be a tough one to write.” My experience is quite extensive when it comes to mystery novels and novellas but I tended to read more modern stories written by authors such as Janet Evanovich and Harlan Coben. I have, of course, read most of Agatha Christie with her Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, but old English settings are nothing like the seedy world in which film noir flourished. It was time to start the research…

Ah…the Internet…with its vast rolling hills of crimson red and it’s shimmering…wait…wrong script…sorry. The Internet…chock full of intrigue, mystery and ALOT of opinions. I just started reading…what is film noir?…what themes does film noir invoke?…how the film makers who made film noir didn’t classify it as film noir…how it helped calm a world troubled by war…all kinds of topics. I read and read and read and then I went to the library. I checked out a very good book entitled, “Somewhere In the Night: Film Noir and the American City,” by Nicholas Christopher. It soon became apparent that all film noir shared exciting and striking similarities. One was that the city itself is a character. The city breathes and takes lives.  The city is a maze of which the hero (who inevitable dies) cannot escape. I also came to realize that there is always a femme fatale who is doomed as a character that knows that all the men will love her but that she will destroy them in the end. She cannot help it…it is her plight. I also learned that the set of morals or values that control these characters exist outside the normal acceptance of society. Everyone is crooked…everyone.

Next, time to watch film noir. Back to the library…I watched “Laura”, “The Maltese Falcon”, “Murder, my Sweet”, “Casablanca”, “Marked Woman”, “The Big Sleep”, “The Other Woman”, “Force of Evil”, “Sunset Boulevard” and “Double Indemnity.”  I read another book…”Los Angeles Noir” which is a collection of short stories.

I began to dream in film noir. I was thinking in film noir. My sentances became fraught with depressing statements. I no longer just associated PI’s with Garrison Keller portraying Guy Noir on Prairie Home Companion or that Potato spud private eye on “Between the Lions.” I was breathing it and it was time to start writing.

Unfortunately, all of my preparation only gave me 48 hours to come up with a completed first draft script. Luckily, I have an amazing Production staff who was able to understand what I was trying to say in some places and were able to look at things from a perspective that wasn’t seen within the world of Film Noir. I was also challenged to add humor to the script, but I wasn’t striving for the cheesy, slapstick humor that finds its place in some parodies. I hope that the humor is subtle and enjoyable without making one groan. I guess time will tell.

We are in rehearsals and it is going well. I can never accurately judge a piece during its creation and the organic nature of the company makes it impossible to know what will work and what won’t. This is new territory for me but I am excited to see how it has pushed me and made me grow!

Show opens April 19th!

7 Tips on How to Effectively Mingle During Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

Mingling during murder mystery dinner theaterMurder mystery dinner theater begins with mingling. Mingling is when the actors talk to the audience before the show begins. The object of this is two fold. First, to help you understand the background of the characters and their relationships with each other. And, second, to bring you into the world that we have created. We have compiled a list of 7 tactics that will help you become part of our world, give you a leg up on the competition and make your friends believe that you moonlight as an amateur detective.

1. Be involved.

The actors will try to engage you. Talk back to them and make them perform for you. Interactive shows can be a little strange if you’ve never experienced one before, but they are a blast if you jump in with both feet. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by the actors. Almost anything you do will be received well, as long as you are not offensive. Pretend the actors are long lost friends and enjoy the ride.

2. Be receptive.

Respond naturally to the actors. The actors will talk to you longer if you are receptive to them.

3. Ask questions.

Ask QuestionsIf you want to solve the murder then you will need to start asking questions from the beginning. Ask the characters about their background. Why are they there? What is their opinion about the other characters? Who do they like? Who do they hate? What do they like to do in their spare time? This is a great chance for you to get insight into the characters and see what they are like so you can watch for more specific things during the performance (Hint: Don’t ask about the murder. The characters will have no idea that a murder will be happening and they won’t answer any question to that end until it actually happens in the progression of the show. So, just don’t do it.)

4. Dress up.

Come dressed up in a costume that fits the theme of the show. You don’t have to wear a whole costume, but perhaps a hat, shirt, dress or some additions that fit the theme. This will help you to become more involved.

5. Come with a group of friends.

murder mystery friendsWhen you are with a bunch of good friends you are able to relax a little more. You are more comfortable interacting and being involved.

6. Don’t take offense.

Remember that the actors will be flirty and try to involve you. Don’t take offense to this, but embrace it. If the actor feels you are timid about them they will likely move on to someone else as they do not want to offend.

7. Enjoy yourself.

Remember that we are here to entertain you. This is a show, enjoy it. Be a part of it.

Do these things and you will have a great time during mingling and maybe even win a prize when you solve the murder. Let us know some of the things that you have done during mingling in the comment section below.

*Special thanks to April Tritchler and Andrew Lenz for helping me put together this list*

3 Most Important Things to Watch for during a Murder Mystery

The three most important things to watch for during a murder mystery.

Do you have trouble solving the murder? Have you ever wondered why some people are able to solve the murder so effortlessly? Here are three activities that will take your murder mystery crime solving ability to the next level.

#1: Keep an eye on the props the actors use.

murder mystery weaponProps play a crucial role in helping the murderer commit his (or her) dirty deed. You need to pay attention to how the characters interact with the props they use. Watch for who comes into contact with items that might be used for the murder. Keep in mind who had access to the weapons and who touched them last.

#2: Pay attention to who is on stage when critical information is presented.

during murder mystery pay attentionThe characters will not have knowledge of everything that goes on during the show. If they are not on stage when certain events happen or when important information is given there is a good chance they will not be able to shed more light on that incident during the questioning period. The characters will also be influenced by the events they are witnesses to. The way they react can give you clues into what they might be thinking.

#3: Keep tabs on the relationships between the characters.

murder mystery relationshipsThroughout the show the relationships between the characters will change and develop. Be cognizant of this. Pay attention to who likes who. Who are enemies? What are the underlying reasons for their enmity? Who would benefit if suddenly one of the others were gone. The characters in our shows develop and change during the course of the evening which causes their relationships to change as well.

If you keep in mind these things as you watch the show and interact with the actors, then it will be easier for you to put the pieces of the mystery together and solve the crime.

Three little reviews

Theatre Reviews . . . the mere mention can bring dread or excitement to an actor/director or anyone involved in putting on a production. It’s like a first date, in some ways, and I’ve always had mixed feelings about it. Will they like me? Will I do something horribly stupid and they will think I am ALWAYS like that? AHHHHHHHHH!

But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .

justiceWe just opened our Summer Murder Mystery, “Justice at the Gold Dust,” and had the unique opportunity of having three different reviewers from three separate theatre critic sites attend the show on the same night. The actors were aware that critics were there, but did NOT know who they were. Actors (and writers/directors… let’s be honest) can take bad reviews really hard. Give us a good review and we are swinging on a star.

From my standpoint, as the director, there were things that didn’t go quite right and things that went really well. Interestingly enough, the biggest flaw that I saw wasn’t mentioned in any of the reviews (more on that later) but I felt that the audience enjoyed themselves.

Now, all the reviewers had valid opinions and I’m grateful for their hard work. We had some mistakes. In fact, I hear about them all the time (patrons, emails, friends, family) and unless there is a common theme, I tend to take it all with a grain of salt. Reviews, however, somehow have more weight. My reviews were interesting. They were in contrast with each other. In fact, I actually decided to write this article because of the three very different reviews of the exact same show.

I couldn’t pass up this unique opportunity to compare the reviews of the exact same show. It has been Zen-like and thought provoking. I hope that you find it of interest as well.

So without any more prep…

THE REVIEWS!

I’ve included links to all three here below. For the sake of clarity, the first link refers to what will be now called Review #1. The second link is to Review #2 and the third link is to Review #3.

Review #1 http://utahtheatrebloggers.com/15554/justice-at-the-gold-dust-sparkles-with-talent

Review #2 http://frontrowreviewersutah.com/?p=1287

Review #3 http://backstageutah.com/justice-at-the-gold-dust-the-wild-west-only-funnier/

What I am attempting to do here is to demonstrate (as the reviewers so helpfully provided) how three different people seeing the EXACT same show can have such different opinions. I’m hoping that this article will help put to rest the absolute agony of receiving a bad review and also to realize that a good review doesn’t mean perfection. This is written for the performers (whether you do Dinner Theatre or not).

First, let’s focus on the specific actors performances:

Review #1 – “The strongest performance out of the cast of six came from Tiffani Barney as Belle Mallory. Barney embraced the role of the young wife trapped in an unhappy marriage, and sparkled in her interactions with the other performers. She was especially charming in the card game and in her songs.”

AND

“Some actors didn’t maintain a Western drawl for the entire show, and some of the acting (from Scott Stone, for example) felt too much like a presentation, and not enough like a traditional acting performance, for my tastes.”

Review #2 – “The Mayor’s unhappy wife, Belle Mallory, is played by Tiffani Barney. Her performance lacks depth and most of the time she’s onstage she just looks confused. Whether the blame belongs on the shoulders of the director or the actress is unknown.”

AND

“The crooked Mayor – Duke Mallory – is played by Scott Stone. I really liked Scott’s voice and his portrayal of a statesman. Oftentimes, when the character is attempting diplomacy, he has the confident phony smile of a seasoned politician. Scott is also a joy to interact with during the portions of the show when the cast mingles with the audience.”

Review #3- Nothing specific about any of the actors acting but did mention that the vocals overall were adequate.

So, Scott and Tiffani were the best and worst… AT THE SAME TIME. Now, that is real talent…

Secondly, the food:

Review #1 – Nothing about the food.

Review #2 – The food is served banquet style and the idea is you have your food and have begun eating by the time the show begins in earnest. The food is what you’d expect from a steak house, albeit a bit on the cold side. It’s served with forks but no knives so I found it a bit hard to eat bone-in chicken breast with any class, but it is a steak house and the show is wild west themed so perhaps it’s meant to foster an even greater sense of cowboy chic.

Review #3 – Dinner was then served, classic BBQ – ribs, chicken, beans, corn, cornbread, and chocolate cake. It was good. Not great, but pretty good. Barbeque doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for clean eating or avoiding sugars, and there wasn’t a green thing in sight. I could have used a salad.

Thirdly, my script:

Review #1- I also thought that Murphy’s script was a little disjointed (such as the sudden shift of attention to Janet after the faceoff between Jesse and Zeke), but she also effectively made the mystery solvable, but not obvious, given the number of red herrings in the story. Murphy also established an effective Old West atmosphere (with the help ofJeremy Tritchler‘s set), which made it easier for me to throw myself into the experience ofJustice at the Gold Dust.

Review #2- The weariness of this production may have been due to the script, which seems to be constructed over a thin veneer of tired wild west tropes – the lusty barmaid, the crooked mayor, the ingénue, the tomboy, the leading man, and the town drunk are all present.

(Authors note… but you can now immediately see them in your head… can’t you? Check out my article called “It is what it is.”

AND

For the most part the acting is flat and the pacing is off. I attribute these faults to the director. With a cast of only six the ensemble seems perfectly capable of keeping the show together, but the timing is all wrong and the show really drags. There are also multiple holes in the plot – one of which involves Rose Doolan’s husband dying of black lung when he worked in a gold mine, not a coal mine.

(This has taught me that I need to make sure that my actors are getting ALL of the information out during mingling… for instance, gold mines don’t just produce gold. Black lung is produced by prolonged breathing of mine dust, no matter what is mined. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-01/27/c_13153187.htm)

Review #3- The magic of a melodrama is in the ridiculousness of it. I couldn’t decide if they really wanted it to be a melodrama, or a legitimate theatrical piece. The jokes were fine, but it seemed like cast members were unsure if they would play and didn’t want to invest too much in case they fell flat, which is the fastest way to kill a moment. You have to believe it, deliver it, trust it, and if it seems iffy, you make it bigger. It’s the silliness that makes it work. There can be no hesitation. That being said, it was opening night. Hopefully, as they come to know their characters better, without thinking about it, they will find those places where the comedy is so stupid, it’s hilarious.

(As I sit in the back thinking… wait… what did he just say? I did NOT write that… :) )

Next, the music:

Review #1- As strong as these performances are, the highlight of the show was the songs, written by Jeff Parkes. I was quite surprised that the songs were so catchy; Parkes shows an excellent sense of character in his songs, none of which felt clichéd or pedantic. I genuinely think that Parkes has the talent to write a full-length musical.

Review #2- The show begins with a lackluster musical number and maintains the same monotonous pace throughout.

Review #3- The songs were fine, but occasionally felt stiff.

(This is where I will insert my two-bits…on that night, two of my actors just couldn’t find their note on one very noticeable part. We figured out why and fixed it but I was amazed that not ONE of the reviewers mentioned it.)

Finally, the overall enjoyment:

Review #1-Justice at the Gold Dustis a nice night of entertainment, and this type of show—with its strong audience participation component and a dinner—could be great for the first time audience members. The plot is accessible, the actors are fun to interact with, and the play shatters popular conceptions about theatre being boring or stodgy.

Review #2 – The program informs the audience “The town of Silvercrest has dried up along with its gold mine. You are traveling through on your way to greener pastures and have stopped at the local watering hole to rest your weary boots.” The performance, much like the town of Silvercrest, is dried up.

Review #3 – I, being an actor, director, costumer, etc., tend to expect a lot from productions. It’s hard not to nit-pick or think of how I would do it differently. Plus, it is my job to be a critic. So for an unbiased point of view, I quizzed my date who just wanted to be entertained. He saw far fewer flaws than I did. He found it amusing, thought the acting was well done, enjoyed and embraced the corniness, and was completely interested in exploring the clues, interviewing the characters, and discovering who the murderer was. Simply put, it was fun. He danced on stage, bantered with the actors, and declared it a success. Justice At The Gold Dust, and probably any of Poison Ivy Mysteries productions, would make for a charming date, unique birthday party, and excellent entertainment for a family reunion or company party.

To sum it up, let’s turn to my brother, Jeff.

So the reviews are basically:

1) This is the best show EVER!!!!!

2) Everything sucked and I was cold! (Read full review for explanation)

3) I just wanted a salad. And I guess my date liked it.

And as for me, I’m living the DREAM! Are you?

It is what it is

murder_mystery_answerConsider the following…

You love baseball and you’ve attended many baseball games. You are an expert in baseball. A friend invites you to a hockey game. You don’t know anything about hockey but you were told that it is a sport, like baseball. They have teams and need to score points and people really enjoy hockey. So, you go; only the whole time you are trying to apply the rules and logic of baseball to hockey. Sure, they are similar, but they are also different. So, you enjoy yourself but you don’t quite know how to classify the fighting between the players, the skating on the ice and the different score keeping rules. Now, if that were the end of it, then you might chalk it up to a couple of things. If you enjoyed yourself, you might think, “That was fun, different, but fun; maybe I’ll try it again sometime now that I know what to expect.” If you didn’t like it then you might think, “Well, that was similar to baseball but lacked the elements that I really love about baseball, like the home runs. I also didn’t like how the players treated each other.” Your life would go on and you would have experienced something new.

Now, what if after the game you were expected to critique what you saw based on your expertise on baseball? Many elements are the same but many are different. Could you be an expert on the differences?

Dinner Theatre is to Traditional Theatre as Hockey is to Baseball. Not better, not worse… just different.

“Ok,” you’re thinking,”What’s your point?”

We do dinner theatre, which in some theatre circles isn’t considered valid theatre. In fact, the Equity Actors Guild allows Equity actors to perform in dinner theatre and variety shows (such as the performers at Lagoon) without breaching their agreement. When I first heard that I was a little upset, but then I figured, “. . . well, it gives us a better actor pool . . .” Anyway, this attitude is an interesting one because I believe that it confuses or inhibits traditional theatre goers. They can’t figure out what it is because it is itself.

It is dinner theatre.

Many of the guests that typically attend our shows (and keep coming back) wouldn’t step into a traditional theatre. In fact, we have received numerous comments over the years from patrons who were quite apprehensive about attending the show and left feeling entertained, engaged and uplifted. Not in any kind of meta-spiritual way or anything, but more as a release. They really enjoyed themselves.

Last year, we competed in an entrepreneurship contest called Grow America. One of the judges (and potential investors) asked us if we were a theatre company or an entertainment service. I replied that we are an entertainment service. We are NOT out to make dark and edgy commentaries about the political state of the world or to educate or even influence. We want people to relax, enjoy themselves and laugh.

Dinner Theatre plays by different rules. It has to, otherwise, it will fail.

Rule One : Use the audience’s frame of reference.

We have a little more than two hours to introduce and maintain 6 main characters, give them interesting motives and backstories and keep them relevant. In order to do this, I have to rely on stereotypes. Everyone understands the commonly accepted stereotype of the Wild West Cowboy and the Saloon girl. We all make assumptions (correct or not) that most everyone can agree on. They are our socially accepted attitudes. If I had to create characters with the complexity that is commonly seen on the traditional stage, then the play would be so much longer and lose its purpose: simple entertainment. I do my best to incorporate unique and original stories within those parameters. Is this an excuse? Perhaps, but it is what it is. I did write one mystery without any real stereotypical elements and it was such a task to inform the audience (in 20 minutes no less) of everything that had happened and who the characters were that no one really understood what was going on.

Rule Two: Murder Mystery must be an accessible and light hearted affair.

Because . . . Murder is bad.

I could go dark and icky and tragic and there is a place for that, but I have chosen not to. This means that there is a vaudeville-esque feeling to the show. We are, however, striving to stay away from pure groaning cheese (and that may be why some people aren’t sure if we are slapstick or serious) and we continue to work towards this.

Rule Three: Involve the audience.

This is because, at least in Poison Ivy’s version, it is a game. We want to bring you into another world. We are the first step towards Virtual Reality and it is so much fun!

What can YOU get out of performing in Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre?

Murder Mystery Theatre differs from traditional musicals and straight plays in many ways.

Generally, actors know what to expect from the rehearsals and performances when participating in the traditional forms of theatre. Many actors do not quite understand the logistics or benefits of performing in Murder Mysteries.

The following can help you to understand how participating in this remarkable form of theatre may help you increase your theatrical proficiency and improve your life skills.

 

Everyone is a Lead

There really are no small parts in a Murder Mystery. You are an integral character. Every part is extremely important to the mystery. There are 5 to 7 people in a show and each character has ample twists and turns. You get to explore interesting relationships with your other actors and discover what makes it all come together.

 

Working with Distractions

We audition and rehearse in my home. There are two reasons for this:

  • The environment during rehearsal, albeit productive and focused, is punctuated with doorbells, noodles cooking on the stove, and a couple of kids running through the house. Actors learn how to stay focused in this “distracting” environment, which prepares them for the waiters, late comers, unpredictable audience members, and the general hub-bub of eating and drinking.

 

  • The smaller space of my home-based rehearsal location prepares the actors for the small restaurant banquet rooms. In fact, it always makes me laugh a bit when the actors will first encounter the space, and comment on how much more room they have.

How does this help you with other theatre experiences?

It prepares you to roll with the punches and have the skills to cover flubbed lines and uncooperative scenery.

 

Ground Level

Being in on the ground level of an original theatre piece is awesome! How often do you get to help define and create your own character without copyright infringement?

Acting in these shows are liberating since my company owns all the scripts and music. We welcome ideas and interpretations of the characters.

Do you have a specific skill that you would like to explore? Martial Arts, Ventriloquism, back flips…whatever!

Do you want to add a line? You get the chance to make your character come alive.

No, we don’t have the prestige of Shakespeare, but neither did he when he wrote the stuff.

 

Improv

Many actors may be searching for ways to improve their improvisational skills. There are many improv troupes who offer workshops—some for free and some for a fee. These workshops concentrate on improv-type games and exercises.

With Murder Mystery Theatre, we explore a slightly different, yet valuable form of improv which we call “mingling” and “questioning”.

 

Mingling involves talking to the audience “in character” about the circumstances surrounding the world of the play as well as the other characters involved. There is no “fourth wall” (although, I have created a fifth wall, which involves including the audience into your world).

Mingling can force you, as an actor, to understand the character that you are playing in an intimate and surprising way. You will be able to think the way your character does, as you answer audience questions and discover that you are cleverer than you thought. You will be satisfied when you find yourself coming up with extraordinary banter and wit, and begin to deeply understand who you are in your world.

 

Questioning is an extension of mingling.

The audience has specific questions to ask you, but they are encouraged to ask anything that they like. You will learn to think on your feet.

If you are the murderer you will get to lie to your hearts content.

 

Developing the skills of mingling and questioning will increase your ability to delve into your character(s) (in the Murder Mystery show and other subsequent theatre parts you might be playing) with your lines and their subtext.

Mingling can also help you in auditions to become more confident in your cold readings and with whatever the director may ask of you. It can help you in your daily life, building your self esteem and sharpening your intrapersonal skills.

 

But don’t take my word for it (thanks LeVar Burton).

 

“As an improvisational performer, I had a hard time accepting an audience, or the whole audience, into a scene on stage. After performing Murder Mystery Theatre, I can more easily slip audience participation into my improv scenes.”

– Jeremy Tuttle, Executive Director of the Jesters Royale at the Empress Theatre

 

“This form of theater is one of the most challenging and rewarding, as the actors are required to interact with audience members that are completely unpredictable while maintaining their character’s persona and backstory. It challenges you by stretching your improvisational skills, and rewards you with immediate audience feedback so you know right away what works and what doesn’t. After working in this environment, you have a stronger ability to fully delve into a character, so much so, that you can react to any question, comment or challenge as your character and are better able to develop a character on your own in only a moment.”

– April Tritchler, Prominent Actress at the OBT and Empress Theatre

 

“An incredible experience! I love having to be SO in character that I not only get to act, sing and dance, but I get to interact with the audience. I find that extra element exciting. Murder mystery has helped me investigate my character’s motives, objectives and even my speech patterns. Truly amazing!”

– Kevin Dennis, Choreographer and graduate from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy

 

We invite you to audition and open yourself up to a new and fun experience.

Murder Mystery is an amusement park for actors!

Me and that Frog

Sometimes artists are asked who their biggest influence is and I always think it is interesting that people can narrow it down to just one person… because for me, it isn’t a person… it’s a Muppet.

kermitThat’s right… a Muppet, by the name of Kermit the Frog. When he says things in movies or on his show or random interviews, I can almost hear myself saying the same things and I certainly can identify with how he feels. His desire to put on a good show, having done all that he can do, and hoping against all hope that it will turn out. His love for those that he works with and the insurmountable obstacles that he has to face. His trust that things will work out and his ability to not kill people… (wait, did I say that last one out loud).

Kermit and I go way back… we had the Muppet Movie on a VHS tape that my mom had recorded off the TV. I watched it over and over and over, always wondering how a frog from a swamp even dared to dream that he could become a star. “… the lovers, the dreamers and me…” Because what was Kermit, a lover? Or a dreamer? … nope, just a frog. He wasn’t even in the right place to dream. I always found that rang true for me…

But if a frog could try…

I now know why a bear and a pig and a whatever, would come and follow a frog… because they all want the same thing… to be loved and valued. And what did he have to offer anyway… he certainly wasn’t classically trained in the arts and he certainly wasn’t the best looking or well connected, but he had a dream and he certainly was determined and he worked hard and he made others believe in him (even and especially when he didn’t completely believe in himself.)

kermitgangwebAnd sometimes the jokes worked and sometimes they didn’t and sometimes he had to hire people and sometimes he had to fire them, but mostly he just prayed that the audience would love it and love those animals that believed in the same things that he did… that it could all be amazing.

And others laughed because they didn’t understand… he wasn’t doing Shakespeare or anything “important”. (Says who?) Why worry so much over “light” comedy? Why worry about making people laugh?

But he did…

And he put himself out there… original stuff (inspired by all kinds of things) and bad jokes and brilliant ideas and trusting in humanity to give back what he gave.

And then there were the hecklers…

Kermit helps me embrace the hecklers and has made me realize that even the hecklers play an important part.

kermitandmeSo, what about me? I create Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, which I always feel like I need to explain. It isn’t pretentious and sometimes it isn’t any good but sometimes it is brilliant and it is always true. It is what it is and, heaven help me, I love it. I love the things that I get to do and I love the people that I consider family. I love the bad jokes and the good ones, I love the musicality and the “fake it til you make it” mode, I love that it is sooo incredibly hard sometimes, because that’s what makes me want to be better than before.

So, thank you for being part of this dream. A dream which I still can’t believe is coming true and a dream that might fade someday, but a dream that a little redheaded kid of no particular importance is trying to share with the world.

And honestly, it’s good to be in such good company… me and that Frog.

The Shocking Truth About Crime/Mystery TV

jeremy_waterI consistently find myself becoming exhausted as I wait up for Annelise to come home from rehearsal. Last week, during this normal practice, I fell asleep on the couch. When she got home, she turned on an episode of Monk to watch while she unwound and ate her dinner. I woke right up. There is something about a crime/mystery TV show that piques my interest. It was midnight, but I was wide awake. I love a good murder mystery. Whether it be Bones, Criminal Minds, CSI or Monk, I can’t get enough. I know I’m not alone on this. Millions of TV viewers enjoy murder/crime shows as well, at least that’s what the number say.

According to http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateMystery/tv.html there have been 606 mystery/crime television series made dating back to the 50′s. One of the longest running, Murder She Wrote, had 12 seasons with 264 episodes aired. We have an infatuation with murder mystery. Why? Why are we drawn to them?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I would rather watch a mystery show over any other T.V. genre. This is because mysteries get my brain working and my intellect can run wild. I try to figure out the mystery before it is revealed. I enjoy piecing together the clues like a puzzle. When I’m able to solve the mystery before the main character, I get great satisfaction. And even if I don’t, I’m hooked until the end. I want to know if my conclusions are correct. If I start watching one late at night, I know I’m doomed to be tired the following day. I can’t turn it off until the crime has been solved and I might even be tempted to watch the next one.