Focus on Community/Arts
Peake Players present "Death Suite" in July

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


The cast of death suite rehearses at the Todd Performing Arts Center. Pictured here, clockwise from left to right, are: Bruce Grove, Erik Murray, Jennifer Barish, Erica Tecce (seated) and Toby Scrupski. 

WYE MILLS - The Peake Players of Chesapeake College will present their 3rd annual dinner theatre murder mystery, Death Suite by Peter De Pietro, weekends in July, including one performance at the Oxford Community Center.

As the final show in the Peake Players salute to the college's 40th anniversary, Death Suite is set in the year 1965. The "occasion" is a piano concert by famed Russian pianist Yuri Pianstovitz, as part of a U.S.-USSR cultural exchange program. Pianstovitz never shows up, but murder, mystery, and mayhem do!

While guests enjoy dinner, shots ring out and bodies are carried away. Who is behind the dastardly murders? The inept Russian dance team, Natasha Kutchka and Sergei "Big Stuff" Bolstov? The domineering Daisy Fromper and her mousy husband Oswald? The computer scientist/show girl Katherine Yendel and her outrageous "sister" Suzie Sockwasher? It is up to Harriet Hotchkiss—actress by week and private eye by weekend--and the audience to uncover the murderer and bring him or her to justice.

"Our murder mysteries have become somewhat of a tradition at Chesapeake," says director Anita Livingston. "People enjoy them so much, they can't wait for the next one to begin!" What sets their murder mysteries apart from others, says Livingston, is the fact that the audience gets involved in the show. "Every audience member has an identity and a connection to someone in the cast. Audience members can play their roles as much or as little as they choose, and the audience really has fun with that."

At the end of the evening, each audience member submits a resolution form with his guess as to "whodunnit." Small prizes are awarded for the best solution and the most "off-the-wall" solution.

This year's cast includes Erica Tecce as Harriet Hotchkiss, Bruce Grove as Oswald Fromper, Toby Scrupski as Daisy Fromper, Cynthia Gaver as Natasha Kutchka, Erik Murray as Sergei Bolstov, Tanya N. Terry as Suzie Sockwasher, Jennifer Barish as Katherine Yendel, Rondell Johnson as Stuart Yendel, and Holly Baldwin as Host. Baldwin also serves as Assistant Director, Glynis Ewing is the stage manager and understudy, and Nancy Caldeira is the "culinary director."

"This type of show appeals to everyone," says Livingston. "Even people who ordinarily don't care for theatre have a ball at our murder mysteries. They're silly, they're corny, they're just a little risqué, but they are definitely a load of fun."

The show will open at the Oxford Community Center with one performance on Saturday, July 2nd, at 7:00 P.M. "We are very excited about taking our show 'on the road'," says Livingston. "We've been told that the college is a little too far for most people in Oxford to travel for a show, so we're bringing the show to them. We're hoping to get a whole new audience and hopefully turn them into Peake Players regulars."

The "official" opening of the show will be Friday, July 8th, in the lobby of the Todd Performing Arts Center. It will run Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 P.M. and Sundays at 2:30 P.M. until July 31st. Admission for the campus shows is $28 general admission, $25 seniors and students, and $175 for a table of 8. Because of additional costs, the Oxford show will be $35 a ticket.

The admission price includes the show, complete buffet dinner, dessert, iced tea, and coffee.

Because of the length of the performance and some adult humor, the show is not recommended for small children. Older children will be admitted at the discretion of their parents.

For reservations for all performances, call 410-822-5400, ext. 278.

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