‘Til Death Do Us Party Productions presents: “Murder 1952 - George Armstrong Custer - The Untold Story”
BOULDER COLORADO - May 8, 2011 ‘Til Death Do Us Party Productions, Boulder’s longest running interactive mystery theater company, returns to historic Gold Hill’s Bluebird Lodge for the summer and fall season, 2011. Shows run June through October, 2011.
Join Death Party for a nostalgic trip back in time to 1952.
This mad-cap murder follows a 1950's movie-crew filming a hokey western just outside of Gold Hill Colorado. Could “George Armstrong Custer - The Untold Story” be the “High Noon” of B-Grade horse operas? In this mystery, guests will meet the ego-maniac movie director: Winston Chesterfield, a rum-soaked actress: Bess Western, an ambitious director’s assistant: Cookie Facade and a few other guilty suspects... put the pieces together to reveal the wicked
wrong-doers in this hokey, quirky Hollywood whodunit.
Absorbing mysteries, historic ambiance, and superior dining all meet to give the courageous sleuth a suspenseful yet humorous night out. MYSTERY DINNER PACKAGE: $65 per person... includes champagne reception with hors d'oeuvres, 3 course meal, and the mystery. Additional alcohol, tax and gratuity not included. Overnight packages available. For reservations and performance dates call the Gold Hill Inn at (303) 443-6461 or www.goldhillinn.com.
Murder mystery dinner theater provides reliable, fun challenges
An Indian rumal, a piano, a bottle of Tylenol and a fork. What do they have in common?
If you attend one of 'Til Death Do Us Party Productions' interactive murder mysteries, any of the items listed above -- from the exotic strangulation device to a common eating utensil -- could be a clue for solving a crime.
"The mysteries are always challenging," said Kevin Reitz, who began going to 'Til Death shows with his wife, Linda, and a group of friends in 1997. "There hasn't been one that's a slam dunk. You always have to work for it."
David Brigham, who owns 'Til Death with his wife, Maggie Simms, takes the lead on writing the group's mysteries. All are set in Gold Hill, the small mountain burg above Boulder where Brigham and Simms live.
In its 20th year of producing original crime capers, the troupe performs as many as 25 shows each summer and fall at the rustic Bluebird Lodge, where guests are treated to meals from the Gold Hill Inn next door.
But the murder mysteries are portable -- they perform private shows and provide a murder mystery in the Hotel Boulderado's mezzanine several times a year, too.
'Til Death is performing "Murder 1936: It's My Party, I Can Die If I Want To" at the Boulderado Friday and Oct. 30. The group also performs "Murder 1959: Skeletons in the Closet" in Gold Hill Saturday nights through October.
Each year, Brigham sits down to write a new mystery set in a new era.
"We range right now from 1862 to 1984," Brigham said. "Sometimes the history isn't part of the plot, it's just a fun time to set it in. Other times, the year is very key. We like to have global events happening that night wherever we are."
One mystery is set on Black Friday, another on the eve of America's entrance into World War II, another during the Teapot Dome Scandal.
With character names like Mayor Oscar Mayer, Sigmund Fraud, Paddy O'Furniture or Judy Valley and the Dolls (a girl group in a murder mystery set in 1968), be assured there's plenty of humor in the shows, too.
What sets 'Til Death apart from other area murder mystery theaters, though, are the murder scenes. Each performance includes at least seven characters played by actors, who mingle with the guests before and during dinners. You can bet some of those characters will meet their demise by the time dessert is served.
Guests are divided into teams, then try to cull clues from the characters. They are allowed to investigate each murder scene -- complete with a body and a set of clues -- as the crimes occur. The team that comes closest to answering a set of questions about the crimes at the end of the evening wins prizes.
"You want some physical clues the guests can find and think about, something that initially points in several directions," Brigham said about what makes a good murder scene. "But you don't want to make it so specific that everybody gets it."
Carol Lopez has played several characters with 'Til Death -- victims and perps -- during the past eight years. She calls acting with the group "the best gig I ever had."
While Brigham leads the writing of each new mystery, it usually ends up being a group project.
"We might get together for dinner and everybody puts their two cents in," Lopez said about the writing process. "Then, as the show progresses, actors keep adding little bits."
'Til Death scripts have detailed information for the actors about their characters, a few pages of dialogue and specific information that needs to be given out during each performance. But most of the evening's interaction with each other and the audiences is improvised.
"You're working so close with the audience, there's a different dynamic every night," Lopez said. "It's not like doing a stage play."
Reitz, who lives in Aurora, said he and his wife and friends enjoy different aspects of the performances.
"Some of the people we go up with are just into the interaction, the banter, the improv and the jokes," Reitz said. "But a bunch of them are very serious about the mystery part. They're competitive and want to figure it out."
From Taos News
By Larry Torres
'Til death do us party
Never mind the scandals at Holy Cross Hospital. Forget the Olona trial at the courthouse.
The real story last week was the triple
murder/suicide which took place at the San Geronimo Lodge over the weekend.
On Saturday (May 3) hotel manager jean Michel DeSade was doing his usual rounds when he came upon a room door which was slightly ajar. He peeked inside and found the body of photographer Myron Fledspar lying ominously upon one of two beds in the room. The time was 7:48 p.m.
He quickly alerted hoteliéres Allison and Shaun Everett who were just beside themselves. They just couldn't fathom how such a horrible thing could have happened in their respectable establishment.
Teacher Isabel St. Onge, who happened to come by discovered a plethora of pills both on and under the nightstand. She knew the hotel well, having only recently honeymooned in that very room. This made the other guests of the hotel uncomfortable because the whole affair looked suspiciously like the recent Heaven's Gate suicides.
Fearing the presence of a cult in the hotel, investigators began scouring the other rooms. At exactly 8:12 p.m., two more bodies were discovered. The first cadaver was identified as that of Vietnam veteran Spruce Freedom (aka Bruce Friedman). He was found with a bullet wound in his left temple and a small caliber revolver in his right hand.
A sweep of the room revealed a strange canister under the bed which was thought to be a Bouncing Betty bomb, the type of which was used by the Vietcong to emasculate American soldiers wading through rice patties. Later, it was found to be a homemade silencer.
A trail of blood led investigators into the adjoining bathroom where a female tentatively identified as Jane Doe was found curled into a fetus position in the bathtub. Because the bodies could not be moved, a positive identification was not possible. Some remembered her as Judy, the high liner in the '60s group, Judy Valley and the Dolls. Others thought it might be her evil twin, Trudy, who had a hair trigger temper.
Group manager Ray Romo was afraid suspicion might fall on chorus girl Barbie Kendoll who was known to have certain pills on her. Her constant companion, Midge, was also suspect because she was known to traipse about Taos in a leather outfit which made her out to be a cross between Pocahontas and Mother Nature.
Well, now that you've put down your coffee and doughnuts, I guess it's safe to reveal that this murder/suicide was part of an incredible murder mystery dinner theater put on by 'Til Death Do Us Party Productions out of Boulder, Colo.
The professional group put on the most fabulous who dunnit for a motley group of Taos and vicinity people. In between nibbles of salmon canapes, patè, chicken, cranberry chutney and tiramisu, the amateur detectives swigged fine Merlot and/or Chardonnay wines. The murder was catered by Barbara Forsberg of Wooden Spoon Catering.
It took more than three hours to put the clues together, and throughout that time, non of the actors stepped out of character for an instant. Their accomplices in crime were Kristie Bibson, Beth and Mike Yeager and Bill Clever, the staff at the San Geronimo. The amateur sleuths cam from Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Farmington and Lubbock.
Among them were Bob and Jessica Orner, Steven Gootgeld, Sheryl Shockley, Tom Wallace, Kevin and Frances McAdams, Carolyn Simon, Richard and Mill Hoyle, Jan Enright, St. Onge, Joe and Wanda Quintana, John and Julie Marrow and Jeff and Greg Kramer. Taos' answer to Sherlock and Shirley Holmes were the Quintanas, who solved the crime along with other members of Team 5.
I tell you, if you're planning on just on murder this season, let the Everett girls take care of it for you. They really know how to do it up right.