Kenai Performers opens season with murder mystery dinner theater

Kenai Performers opens season with murder mystery dinner theater

The school year has begun; the leaves are changing colors and every morning’s just a little bit colder than the last. It’s time for the Kenai Performers season to begin. Every year for more than 20 years, Kenai Performers welcomes winter with a dinner theater performance. This year it’s a girl’s night out turned murder mystery.

Donna Shirnberg plays Victoria in the small cast play and is the coordinator for the event.

“(The play) is funny, cute and it’s interactive with the audience,” Shirnberg said. “The audience needs to watch for clues.”

Shirnberg said the theme and play changes every year. Sometimes the director picks a play they like or even ones they’ve written.

This year’s play, by D’Ann and Rick Artis, is a story about four women on a girl’s night out. Someone they all know is murdered, and each character has a reason for wanting the person gone, Shirnberg said. The cast is small, with four women and a man.

In the past, the Kenai Senior Citizens Center has provided the dinner. Shirnberg said the center wasn’t able to provide catering this year, so Joe Spady of Joe’s Meatball Shoppe, a Soldotna-based food truck, is working with chef Jodene McAuliffe to provide the dinner. The meal includes an antipasto platter, salad, pasta with beef meatballs, dessert and drinks. There will also be gluten-free and vegetarian options available. Spady said he is making more than 900 meatballs for the event.

Spady was an actor with Kenai Performers while he was in high school, and acted earlier this year in their performance of Shrek the Musical.

“I was an actor in two of Kenai Performers’ murder mystery dinner shows,” Spady said. “Earlier this year I was in Shrek the Musical with Kenai Performers and got to reconnect with this amazing theater crowd. They then asked me to work with the amazing Jodene McAuliffe to prepare this year’s murder mystery dinner and of course, meatballs were the obvious choice.”

There are 150 seats available each night. Shirnberg said the event usually sees 100 people or more each night.

Doors open at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21 and 22.

Tickets are $45 and can be found at River City Books, Curtain Call Consignment, Kenai Senior Citizens Center, The Flats Bistro and at the door.

Reach Victoria Petersen at

More in News

In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Montgomery, Ala. Palin is on the verge of making new headlines in a legal battle with The New York Times. A defamation lawsuit against the Times, brought by the brash former Alaska governor in 2017, is set to go to trial starting Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 in federal court in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Palin COVID-19 tests delay libel trial against NY Times

Palin claims the Times damaged her reputation with an opinion piece penned by its editorial board

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 at all-time high statewide

The state reported 5,759 new cases sequenced from Jan. 21-23

Volunteers serve food during Project Homeless Connect on Jan. 25, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file)
Project Homeless Connect to provide services, support on Wednesday

The event will be held at the Soldotna Sports Complex on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Schools aim for ‘business as usual’ as cases reach new highs

On Monday, there were 14 staff members and 69 students self-isolating with the virus

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate construction on hold as theater seeks additional funding

The new theater is projected to cost around $4.7 million.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
KPBSD schools to start 2 hours late Tuesday

Due to weather, all but 4 schools will be delayed

Data from the state of Alaska show a steep increase in COVID-19 cases in January 2022. (Department of Health and Social Services)
Omicron drives COVID spike in Alaska as officials point to decreasing cases in eastern US

On Friday, the seven-day average number of daily cases skyrocketed to 2,234.6 per 100,000 people

Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire
Dan Blanchard, CEO of UnCruise Adventures, stands in front of a ship on May 14, 2021.
Smooth sailing for the 2022 season?

Cautious optimism reigns, but operators say it’s too early to tell.

Former Alaska Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bakalar speaks a news conference on Jan. 10, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska, after she sued the state. A federal judge on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, ruled that Bakalar was wrongfully terminated by the then-new administration of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy for violating her freedom of speech rights. (AP File Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Judge sides with attorney who alleged wrongful firing

Alaska judge says the firing violated free speech and associational rights under the U.S. and state constitutions.

Most Read