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Inside the Murder, Mystery, Dinner and Theater

Vera Cremeans

Managing Director and actress of the local “The Murder Mystery Company” troupe.

I was fortunate enough to squeeze a little bit of  time from Ms. Vera Cremeans (the Managing Director of “The Murder Mystery Company”) time so she could give me some information on dinner theater. Ms Cremeans is also one o the fabulous actresses from the troupe.

Here is that brief interview:

Michelle McClish: From what I understand, dinner theaters are a basically a spinoff of the very popular radio programs of the 1940’s and 1950’s. What do you think are the pros and con’s between the eras?

Vera Cremeans: The pro’s & con’s between the era’s of the 50’s & 40’s…I would have to say:

Although there were some groundbreaking things happening in the 40’s, like the inventions of: Television, the Microwave Oven & Velcro; World War II was a major con to this era of invention.

The 50’s was an era of peace on the surface of society, including creation of suburbs, friendly small town communities with corner malt shops & most everyone being “neighborly.” Unfortunately, this era also was the rise of the Cold War, living in fear where people made bomb shelters, Cuba becoming Communistic and the precipitating factors that launched the Civil Rights Movement made it have its fair share of con’s too.

M.M.: Is seeing it in person better than using one’s imagination?

V.C.: Most Definitely! Imagination is wonderful when one is reading a book, hearing an epic story told by a great narrator or even listening to a friend or family member recant a “glory days” tale…but when it comes to a really great Murder Mystery encounter, you cannot get the same ‘rush’ of emotion & excitement from a fictional novel as you can experience when you can don a costume, become a character with his/her own secrets, past & hidden agenda’s then interact with others in such a unique environment that is fun & exciting, as well as being hilarious; that is what makes The Murder Mystery Company’s shows so popular.

M.M.:How long has your company been presenting Dinner Theaters?

V.C,: Scott Cramton, Owner and President of The Murder Mystery Company (along with a couple of the directors and actors) have been together long before the company became an Llc in 2002.  They went by the name of GR Improv because they were friends living in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan and all had theatrical experience with improvisation.  Scott began writing Murder Mysteries & his friends thought they would be great performance pieces for friends and families hosting parties. So, I would have to say over 10 years for some, but officially, The Murder Mystery Company has performed for 10 years.

M.M.: When reading about your show, I see that you offer a number of other themes of dinner theater. Do you have a favorite?

V.C.: Asking someone to choose a favorite script they’ve written is a lot like asking a parent to choose a favorite child; Scott has written almost all of the themes and would have a hard time choosing one over any other.  All of our themes, though scripted in a frame of characters, plots, red herrings and comedic elements, do not have written conversations or scripting that must be verbatim.  That’s one of the great aspects of our shows…the actors use improvisational conversations based upon the audience members’ interaction; so EACH show is relative to everyone present and a completely unique experience not easily replicated.

If you were to ask us which of our themes is the most requested for private party events, then we could easily answer that the majority of private clients request our 1920’s Gangster themed show, “Crime and Pun-ishment.”

M.M.: How long have you…personally…been involved with the Dinner Theater?

V.C.: I have personally been involved with the Murder Mystery Company since 2008.  I was an actor with the company for a year or so, then became an Assistant Director when the position opened.  Not long after that, I became the director of the Ohio troupe when my colleagues and director moved on to start the New York City branch of The Murder Mystery Company.  Since then I have tried to perfect the Ohio troupe and also taken on other roles nationally within the company. I still continue to act in the shows on a regular basis to stay fresh and connected to what is really happening out in the field.

M.M.: What would be considered an “Ideal” show in your opinion?

V.C.:Honestly, almost every show for us is ideal! We are really lucky to be in the business of interactive theatre and making fun memories for people.  That for us, is quite an awesome job! Our ideal is a show where we create a completely organic and interactive atmosphere, whether it be for a party of 8 or 800!

M.M.: As an actor/presenter, what do you look for in the audience members in order to know who would be more inclined to “play” along?

V.C.:There are a lot of things we look for when choosing our audience participants.  Obviously, we are drawn first to people who dress in costume in accordance with the theme and then how we choose from there is a company secret!

M.M.: If someone is interested in joining a dinner theater family, how would they go about doing so?

V.C.: If someone is interested in joining our Murder Pro family, they can send a letter of inquiry by email to murdermysteryvera@gmail.com.

Once again, here are the upcoming dates for more of the exciting dinner theater! You really don’t want to miss this opportunity to explore your dramatic side!

Here is a list of future shows and times to you can plan to attend a dinner theater productions and experience it for yourself; trust me…YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS! :

February 2, 2013 @7:00pm                                          March 1, 2013 @7:00pm

February 8, 2012 @7:00pm                                          March 2, 2013 @7:00pm

February 9, 2013 @7:00pm                                          March 9,2013

February 15, 2013 @7:00pm

February 16, 2013 @7:00pm

February 22, 2013 @7:00pm

To find out more information or to make a reservation go to:  http://www.grimprov.com/   or you can call 1-888-643-CLUE (2583)

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