Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 20, 2014

Playhouse stars present dinner theater murder mystery at Forte’s restaurant

By Ken Steadman
Sun contributor

CROSSVILLE — The Cumberland County Playhouse volunteers will present “A Murder at the TonyLou Awards” at Forte's on the Square Restaurant. This dinner/mystery theater presentation is an audience participation murder mystery written by Tony Schwartz and Marylou Ambrose. Special guest star appearances by CCP professionals Jason Ross, Michael Ruff, Daniel Black, Caitlin Schaub and Deanna Etchison will be on hand to entertain you.   

The star-studded extravaganza features known characters in the theatre industry, as well as big names in the movie business. The curtain rises March 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19 with proceeds benefiting the Cumberland County Playhouse. What can you expect from an audience participation murder mystery?

Fun and enjoyment the minute you walk through the door! Doors will open at 5:30 for cocktail hour with live musical entertainment. During the cocktail hour (cash bar) you’ll get a chance to mingle with the cast as they drop hints about themselves and the show and give you the opportunity to ask questions. At 6:30 p.m. you’ll enjoy a delicious meal, while the cast keeps a low profile. The main show starts right after dinner. 

The TonyLou Awards Show begins at the door as well known celebrity gossip columnist Constance Gabbles greets (and insults) each celebrity. Then we turn the show over to your talented host T.J. Hardcastle, heir of the famous singing, dancing and flying Hardcastles. T.J. sings the famous TonyLou theme song, and the ceremony is officially under way!

But wait, is there trouble in paradise? Lorna Lush, has-been stage diva, is toting more booze than the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. Monty Carlo might be a star in his country, but his English is almost unintelligent―sorry unintelligible. Celia B. DeMilo has a weakness for young men, and her newest boy-toy Claude-Jean will do anything to become a star. M.J. Hardcastle carries a grudge against her brother and his wife, Angelina Canoli, who “wins” an award every year. Funky Brewster is absolutely adorable, or is there a nasty secret lurking under that innocent exterior?

The fact is, everyone has a nasty secret. So keep your eyes and ears open and your Sherlock Holmes and Dick Tracy brains working to gather clues. At the evening's end, someone will be ruthlessly murdered and it’s up to you to guess who done it and why! Prizes will be awarded to the first people to correctly guess both the murderer and the motive.

Tickets for the dinner and show are $28. For information and reservations, call Cumberland County Playhouse (931) 484-5000 or Forte's Restaurant at (931) 787-1744 or any of the cast members listed below. Most tables on the second floor will seat 8 to 10 so get your party together and reserve a whole table. It is open seating but we will try to accommodate large parties. One hundred to 110 tickets will be sold for each performance so call as soon as possible to get included.

Cast includes: Jean Saal, Dee Potocnik, Judy Murphy, Terri Ritter, Caitlin Schaub, Emily Hinds, Skip Ritter, Nick Steadman, Michael Turner, Chaz Sanders, Daniel Black, Michael Ruff and Jason Ross.