Mystery Dinner Theater at Sky View

Image: Maggie O’Toole (Emily Teuscher) demonstrates the bran scanning device.

Maggie O’Toole (Emily Teuscher) demonstrates the bran scanning device. (Corey Burger)

The Sky View players got together several nights last week and will host several shows this week in an intimate setting for their Mystery Dinner Theater series.

The Mystery Dinner Theater is a great intimate setting where student participation is the name of the game.  If you are not acting in the production taking place on a given night you are most likely helping out in other ways such as serving dinner to the other guests, helping with other technical issues, or even taking tickets, and doing laundry.  

The shows are directed by Nan Wharton who heads up the theater department at Sky View and who has been responsible for the incredible productions that take place there.  Recent productions of the Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast rival full scale Broadway productions in their scope and quality.  

Wharton has helped put together five separate shows for this year’s mystery dinner series and counts heavily on the student participants to pull off these shows. 

Kortnee Smith has the title of “House Manager” of these productions and takes care of things like making sure things get set up right, cast members and techies are in place, overseeing that dinner is going well and generally making sure the show comes off as planned.  Along with her duties of house manager Smith also has a role in the last show American Medical Assassination.

Tonight and Tuesday the Sky View Players will present Ghostwriters and Ghost Riders; then Sorority Disorders on the 25th and 26th; followed by American Medical Assassination on the 27th and 28th.  The shows all begin at 7:30 p.m. each night.

The student actors seem to really enjoy themselves.  Smith said, “I’m more of a musical theater person but it is an awesome time to be able to get more one on one time with people.”

The students will not divulge the plots of the show no matter how much you pry or try to bribe them. They have all been sworn to secrecy by Ms. Wharton.  

The cast really enjoy their characters and get into them from the time they arrive until the show is over. I had the opportunity to attend last Saturday’s showing of Space the Fatal Frontier. It was a fun show and a very enjoyable setting. 

The cast included Ultrakate 3000 played by Emily Shirley who spoke to me as a robot the entire time that I interviewed her.  When I asked Shirley aka Ultrakate if she got to kill anybody during the show she told me in methodic robotic speech that it was classified information.  Shirley is a senior who is in her last production at Sky View.  I asked her if she was sad to be doing her last show and if she commented, “I am incapable of human emotion.”

Erin Pitcher played Ptarantula the Mistress of Pain (That’s right Tarantula with a P).  Pitcher has been in several shows at Sky View including most recently the Encore production and Beauty and the Beast .   When speaking of these shows she says, “It’s definitely on of my top favorites.”

Tyler Jones played Zoltar Intergalactic Warlord and keeper of the peace.  He was decked out in horns and a cape and told me he got to wear the cape because he was the best!  He couldn’t tell me what planet he was from but did tell me the name of the planet would sound to a human like the sound that your hip makes when it dislocates.

It’s obvious that the cast has a great deal of fun doing these shows and it is fun for the audience as well.  In our show after a brief introduction and some flight instructions the cast sat down with the audience and interacted with them as they ate.  There was also a brief period when the audience is given a chance to ask questions of the cast to try and deduce “who done it.”

The food is fantastic as the dinner is catered by Iron Gate Grill.  Between the food and entertainment the shows are well worth the ticket price. The intimate setting and cast and audience interactions make these show tons of fun for all who attend.  Be sure to catch one or all of the shows this week, you won’t regret it.