The perfect murder mystery dinner = A great night for everyone!
From: Dawn Robertson
Subject: it was a great night
WOW…what a great night was had by all!
Soooooo……Back in the beginning of August, I contacted a local high school theater director with the idea of doing a murder mystery theme for our annual volunteer appreciation dinner. I would need his students to pull it off. I told him the date I was thinking about, Nov. 11th, and he agreed, saying it was a wonderful idea and that he was on board. So I ordered the school reunion murder mystery game from you, created “save the dates”, and mailed them to our volunteers.
The RSVPs started coming in within two weeks…a lot of positive responses!
At the end of September I mailed out follow-up programs with the My Alma Martyr murder background, character descriptions, high school reunion theme, and their table assignments. Since it was going to take place in the year 1965, I created table names based on high school clubs/cliques- example: “Band Geeks”, “Greasers”, “Chess Club”..etc. I had 16 tables total. Everyone was excited and started emailing me with their costuming ideas! I was beyond excited that so many volunteers were attending this year because normally the attendance is only around 40-50.
Mid October arrived, decorations are bought, dinner menu figured out, all is set. Now we wait.
On October 23rd, I received an email from the High School theater director. He is backing out, saying they are just too busy, sorry. I was devastated. I started calling and emailing other local high schools to no avail. They all have major fall productions happening on the same weekend, or within the same time. No one would commit to having their students try to learn a script that quickly with having their own productions to worry about.
By the end of the week I was in full panic mode. I started calling local private dinner theater groups…I got the same answers…no.
I had two choices to make…cancel the event until early next year when the schools weren’t busy and could do it, or start asking my guests to step up and do it…then I received a phone call. It was from Hanover Central High School theater director, Steve Gustas, that I had emailed earlier in the week, that is located about 45 minutes away from the venue. He said he had read my email to his theater students and they all had unanimously agreed that they wanted to do this FOR ME! I drove over there immediately!
He welcomed me onto the stage and introduced me to the students. I thanked them and have to admit, I was choking back tears of appreciation. They were all very enthusiastic. I then realized that they are in the middle of their own major production, Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary. Their performance was the very next Saturday after my dinner….omg, and they STILL agreed. So they are learning their parts, and mine….I was even more blown away by their willingness to help me. Later I found out from the theater director that 6 of the students are ALSO doing their senior pieces..which includes writing a ten minute short play, directing it, casting it, and performing it….also on the same weekend of their major production. I’m humbled to say the least.
So about a week goes by and I texted the director, Steve, to see if they needed me for anything…props, direction, anything…he confidently said no, all is going good. So I relaxed and waited.
The night before my dinner, I texted him again, asking if I could come to the last rehearsal, mainly to get the “serving food” timing down for the caterer. He agreed and I went. They had been rehearsing in their school cafeteria because it was most like our banquet hall. He had invited all of their parents to see the last rehearsal because our dinner is closed to just our volunteers. It gave me an opportunity to thank their parents for raising such wonderful, generous, and kind-hearted children. The rehearsal was amazing…they were all off script and hilarious…AND had their own props (fake blood, alien goo, etc!) Their costumes were on point and completely personified their characters! I was so happy, to say the least! A lot of parents asked me about the script and I gave them your web address, telling them is is also suitable for “at home” dinner parties too! They were very impressed!
So the big day finally arrived! The hall was decorated to look like a high school reunion from 1965 and all I needed to do was relax! The students arrived one hour before “show time” to get a quick lay of the land and change clothes.
They were beyond amazing! They took their character descriptions and ran with it! Even the secondary suspects were on point! Their adlibbing was hilarious and appropriate! They had gotten a list from me earlier identifying guests that would “play along” and even some background info on them. “Molly” called out one of our esteemed guests, reminding the attendees that he was voted “Most Likely to become President” and she made him stand up and tell everyone how that worked out and what has he done in the 25 years since HS…he totally went with it…saying he was still living at home, with his mom, in her basement, and finally achieved high score on the pinball machine!!!!!! The audience loved it and the cast was in hysterics!
The day after the murder mystery dinner, I started to received texts from some of the guests, saying how amazing the night was and how appreciated they felt by me. They thanked ME for a wonderful time.
So thank YOU, Susan, for providing me with a perfect means to a great night…many have already asked for me to do this again…and I will!!!
Your guidance and organization, attention to detail, all of it….a wonderfully perfect product…to make an important night even more special. I have already, eagerly and sincerely, wrote a review to BBB, and your Facebook page. I wish I could do more.
Thanks again for all of your help and guidance, and for loving what you do—it shows in the great product you offer!
Lake County Parks, Indiana
Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator