Murder, mystery, and strawberry crepes: What to expect at dinner theater

Audience members attending the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, will find themselves amidst a séance, complete with disembodied voices, ghosts and a fortune teller to stir the pot.

Frontier Community Services and the Kenai Senior Connection Inc. are hosting the play titled “Murder by Magic,” for their annual fundraiser. The audience-participation Murder Mystery by Eileen Moushey, will not only require onlookers to assist the character of Simone The Psychic contact the dead, but it will be up to them to find out who murdered one of those very spirits.

Audience participation will be heavily emphasized, said director and hostess of “Murder by Magic,” Ann Shirnberg. After some thought, she said the performance will resemble a giant, real life version of the Clue board game.

Between meals, the audience will be fact-finding, and whoever guesses the murderer first will receive prizes, Shirnberg said. The answer will be revealed in the final act after dessert, she said.

“It is a lot of fun,” Shirnberg said. “The play is comedic, and actors have a great time with it.”

It is a tradition for the Senior Center to host the dinner theater, Shirnberg said. Frontier became involved five years ago, and it has been just as successful ever since, she said.

Due to the content, the play is intended for adults and not suited for young audiences, Shirnberg said. Sometimes parents will bring their older teenagers. Regardless, Shirnberg said, “the play usually sells out.”

Each ticket is $40, Shirnberg expects more than 100 people will make it through the doors of the senior center to take part in the interactive performance. The local actors and actresses in this year’s play have been preparing since Sept. 2, Shirnberg said. The cast includes Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Yvette Tappana, Tim Tucker, Natalie Tucker, Ian McEwen and Donna Shirnberg who will play the siblings, daughter, lovers and friends who make up the rest of the characters involved in the mysterious séance, she said.

Many of the actors are well known in the community, have acted in previous dinner plays, and some have backgrounds with the Kenai Performers and Triumvirate Theatre, Shirberg said.

It is a quick turnaround, Shirberg said. Actors are given the script at the beginning of the month and rehearse three times a week until public performances begin.

On the dinner menu is a fruit, cheese and cracker platter appetizer, the entree is chicken Wellington, a zucchini, red pepper and mushroom medley, rosemary baby potatoes, dinner roll and for dessert is strawberry crepes.

Doors at the Kenai Senior Center will open at 6 p.m., dinner will be at 7 p.m. and the show will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Charlotte’s Restaurant in Kenai and River City Books in Soldotna.

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at

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