PLAY REVIEW: Murder is delicious at annual comedy dinner theater

“Murder at the Pie Auction” comedy dinner theater is Friday and Saturday at the Greenville Area Community Center. — Courtesy photo

Serving up a sweet treat of romance, mystery and comedy, the Greenville Area Community Center’s annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre is a production to savor.

“Murder at the Pie Auction,” a fundraising “whodunit” dinner theater mystery sponsored by  the GACC, will be presented Friday and Saturday. Dinner, which consists of beef stroganoff, chicken fettuccini alfredo, salad, green beans with bacon, roll, pie and punch, catered by Huckleberry’s Restaurant, will be served at 6:30 with the show beginning at 7:30. Tickets, which are available at GACC, are $20 for dinner and the show or $15 for the show only. They are available for purchase at the Greenville Area Community Center, 900 E. Kent, or at the door.

A live pie auction will also take place, both during and after the show, so audience participation is encouraged.

“All proceeds from the dinner theater and pie auction will go directly to the Community Center,” producer/director Ruth Hansen said. “It is a fast-paced production that has a lot of quirks and lots of clues and a lot of little underlying aspects to it, things like murder, blackmail, relationships among the characters.”

It is, however, a family-friendly show.

Due to a typing mistake, the tiny town of Mynute, Alaska, has become the location for the next Mother Mable’s Pie Baking competition. While the locals, such as newspaper editor Phoebe Muffet (Hilda Sorvari) and her friend Minaret Towers (Sandy Cote) are pleased as punch for the contest, not so for those in the pie-judging circuit. Four-time winner Julia Lyle, played by Val VanderMark, desires to be the first in the pie-making world, to hold the title five years in a row.

“We are having some of the most famous people in the pie-making business making their pies right here!” delights the flirty Phoebe. “Why even Julia Lyle is coming. It’s like having the queen of England come, only with personality.”

Julia, portrayed regally by Val VanderMark, is hoping her greatest competitor; Betty Bocker does not show up.

“She is the only person I know who has less scruples than I do,” said Julia.

Other celebrity chefs show up, ready for the cook off. All the contestants need is a judge (Larry Moss), who they discover dead in the kitchen.

As an undercover detective (Greg VanderMark) begins to work on the case, he discovers a complicated mix of failed romances, bribery and blackmailing.

“One thing  is perfectly clear,” says VanderMark.

“Nothing is perfectly clear!” replies the cast.

Take in “Murder at the Pie Auction”— it is a delicious way to end your week.

If you go …

What: 2013 Comedy Dinner Theater, “Murder at the Pie Auction”

When: Friday and Saturday; dinner at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Greenville Area Community Center; 900 E. Kent

Tickets: $15 show only /$20 dinner and show

Info: Call (616) 754-9163, email  or check

Cast and Crew

Cast: Phoebe Muffet, Hilda Sovari; Minaret Towers, Sandy Cote; Felicity Hubbard, Becky Tower; Julia Lyle, Val VanderMark; Eve Simon, Lindsey Tallien; Eunice Hammond, Pat Barnhart; Mark Tucker, Ric Davenport; Roger Marble, Spencer Tower; Rex Roberts, Greg VanderMark; Guy Templeton, Larry Moss; server, Olivia Tower.

Crew: Ruth Hansen, producer/director; Chris Stoutjesdyk and Scott Scripter, tech staff; Pat Barnhart, Props/Set décor, Karen Pollock, set artist.


Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.

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