Garrettsville – The Garrettsville Curtains Up Theater will present the whodunit “Murder at the Haunted School” on Saturday, October 22, with all proceeds going to the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard (NGCC). Doors open at 4 p.m. at the JA Garfield School campus for this fully immersive murder mystery dinner theater.
This multi-faceted evening of suspenseful entertainment will include a murder mystery show, investigative map, appetizers and dinner buffet, 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction baskets.
The murder mystery is built on a rumor that someone might be killed. Clues to solving the murder are hidden deep within the haunted school, says Curtains Up director Jackie Loreta-Rinearson, who also wrote the screenplay. She has written every annual murder mystery since she founded the Curtains Up Theater in 2006; her first show was in 2007.
Participants will be the detectives, gathering at the high school auditorium for a briefing, enjoying appetizers, and then sent to multiple high school classrooms to collect the clues needed to solve the crime. After gathering clues and information, participants will then head to the elementary school for the final act, dinner, and the solution to the crime. Dinner will consist of spaghetti or chicken/broccoli Alfredo, salad, rolls, dessert and drink.
Community actors Dave Hess, Chuck Milko, Elisha Bly, Jeff Rinearson, Jackie Rinearson, Samantha Schwab, Clair Workman and Sharon Vandervort will set the stage for the murder. Behind the scenes in the haunted rooms will be Shawn and Katie Cisney and Shannon Mallory.
Reflecting on his long career in community theater in Garrettsville, Rinearson says, “Live theater brings together people who may have never met otherwise. When you expose your raw feelings together, you are all on the same level. You become an instant family and develop deep friendships. I now attend the weddings and baby showers of some of my early actors who were in high school when I started. The older actors’ children marry; they become grandparents and we all celebrate together. That’s why I do what I do, I’m lucky to have such a big family.
This murder mystery night is the main fundraiser for the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard. The nonprofit organization provides emergency food to eligible families living in the James A. Garfield School District. The NGCC also operates the Weekend SnackPack program which provides free healthy snacks to eligible students in the school district. The NGCC operates solely through community contributions.
Tickets are available at the Villager on Main Street, the YMCA or online at ngccportage.org/tickets. Only 150 tickets will be sold for the four-hour event: $30 per person; $50 per couple. Call 330-527-2011 for reservations.