Murder For Dinner
Dinner theatre has been a tradition in many communities for as long as people have been performing on stages. From the days of Rome to the most recent crop of performances by groups such as the Killing Kompany (www.killingkompany.com) which performs on Long Island and all over the entire state, or Lake George’s Terrace Room Dinner Theatre, you’re sure to find something to laugh—or scream—about.
Murder mysteries are popular topics for dinner theatre as they can combine comedy, suspense and audience participation in one show. Many dinner theatre troupes are traveling shows going from club to club to do their act, and others, such as Long Island favorite The Other Vic Theatre Company II (www.theothervic2.com), will come to you and perform in your space. The hosts provide the dinner, wine and dessert, and the Other Vic players will put on a show in your dining area. This option is excellent for fund-raising events, as the Other Vic Company leaves the details of your event up to you. According to the Other Vic website, “You may charge your customers whatever fee you feel is appropriate for (your) selected menu. You may choose to design a specific menu for the evening and charge one set price.”
Many dinner theatre troupes offer holiday-based shows, and make their performances as timely as possible. Others feature a set of stock stories that they improvise based on audience participation. Some dinner theatre plots involve naming a member of the audience as the killer, and the audience members must guess “whodunit”. Many people dream of playing Sherlock Holmes for a day, and dinner theatre is a great way to indulge that fantasy. Murder Mystery, Inc (www.murdermysteryinc.com) is one such dinner theatre troupe, claiming to be the largest producer of interactive murder mysteries in New York. This Huntington-based group features mystery trains and mystery cruises in addition to their ‘land-based’ shows. Murder Mystery Inc has quite a reputation for its shows, and it’s no wonder; the group is affiliated with both the New York City Visitors & Conventions Bureau and the Mystery Writers of America. With more than four thousand shows, this is one theatre troupe that knows how to put on a show!
There are many unconventional places to host dinner theatre shows. Church groups and wineries alike have played host to dinner theatre troupes with great success, and if you are looking for a fun alternative to the usual old fund raising campaigns you may want to give a murder mystery show a good look. The incentives to attend are irresistible; you may find a group willing to tailor its material to suit your needs within reason. Are you holding a family-friendly affair? Let your dinner theatre booking agent know this in advance. Do you want to single out a certain group of people or a couple for special attention? If you are looking for a unique birthday alternative or pre-wedding outing for the wedding party, a dinner theatre troupe may work well for you. When you call to learn more about a particular theatre company, let the customer service rep know ahead of time what you are hoping to achieve and they can give you some good advice about how to make it happen with dinner theater. Long Island has plenty of choices and there is sure to be a group out there that can accommodate your needs.