By Amber C. Nore
Something’s amiss at the Mynute Senior Center in Mynute, Alaska. After years of trying unsuccessfully, the small town of Mynute has finally landed the famous “Mother Mabel’s Pie Baking Competition” due to a typo mistaking Mynute, Alaska (population less than 400) for Minot, North Dakota (population 48, 261). However, when one of the contestants fails to arrive, it is discovered that she has been murdered. Not only that, but the famous pie judge for the contest goes missing just hours before the event is to begin.
Who killed Betty? Where did Guy Templeton disappear to? Will Julia Lyle’s “Very Cherry Cheesecake” take the #1 spot in the pie baking competition for the 5th year in a row? Will Phoebe Muffet successfully seduce the mysterious visitor that has arrived in town? Who really IS Minaret Towers? These questions and more will be answered at the Old Glory Theatre production of Murder at the Pie Auction by Michael Druce, produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service, Inc and directed by Bryan Moore.
I was absolutely delighted to attend my first production at Olde Glory Theatre in Seward, Nebraska for opening night. Housed in a historic church that was built in 1873, the theater was lovingly purchased and restored by a group of local residents in 2013 in order to bring a space for community theatre to Seward. Photographs from the many theatrical productions, concerts, and events held at the theater line the walls, which I note as I walk past them to be seated in an auditorium.
Dinner was promptly served: lasagna, garlic bread, orange slice, and a chocolate chip cookie. There is not a meatless option for the entrée but I was easily able to remove the meat and still enjoy the lasagna. Friendly servers brought cans of soda pop, filled water glasses, poured coffee, and lastly cleared the plates.
While enjoying dinner, the audience can enjoy looking at the Mynute Senior Center set created by Bob Boshart and Denise Christensen. In addition to the chairs and tables one would expect to see, there are fun small details such as the Meals on Wheels delivery schedule, puzzles, and a mounted animal head.
Then the real fun begins! Phoebe Muffett (played by Morgan Bowman) bursts onto the stage. Phoebe is a spirited senior citizen who dresses like a Golden Girl but talks like Sex in the City. Phoebe is followed by Minaret Towers (played by Allison Story), who has a reserved appearance but clearly knows there is something deeper going on than just a pie baking contest. I wouldn’t double cross Minaret. Eunice Hammand (played by Grace Babbits) did, and ended up with mysterious “food poisoning” as a result.
Pheobe and Minaret are joined by the Mother Mabel Pie Baking Competition staff team of Felicity Hubbard (played by Kadie Sheldon) and Mark Tucker (played by Caleb Jalas). Neither of them are pleased to be in Mynute, Alaska, but are determined to make sure the competition goes on as scheduled.
A mysterious unknown stranger wanders into the Senior Center: Rex Roberts (played by Adam Prince). Then, the pie baking contestants begin to arrive. Julia Lyle (played by Faith Jonas), the esteemed First Place Champion for the previous 4 years. Eve Simone (played by RJ Acomb), who is always a runner up. Will this be her year to come out on top? Roger Marble (played by Broderick Schofield), the only male in the competition and a former fling of Miss Simone. Renowned pie judge Guy Templeton (played by Colin Thuringer) arrives and then mysteriously goes missing.
Rounding out the cast are Chloe Brown as a Server, Elizabeth Ascher and Laura Hellwege as pie auction bidders.
The script is melodramatic and super fun, with tensions building higher and higher as more mysteries continue to happen. Particularly standout performances are given by Morgan Bowman, Broderick Schofield and Faith Jonas, but it is clear that the entire cast is having a blast.
Bryan Moore did a lovely job directing and also serves as a member of the Olde Glory Theatre Board of Directors. Kudos to Denise Christensen and JoAnn Boshart for excellent prop design and Faith Brown for running lights.
This is a terrific production, where the audience will have just as much fun as the cast. Food, fun, and mystery in a small-town historic building! Did I mention there is PIE? It’s a recipe for success. I was so impressed by the theater, the dinner, and the performance. Bravo to everyone at Olde Glory Theatre!
There is a live pie auction as part of the performance and baked goods are available for purchase at the show. All proceeds benefit Olde Glory Theatre directly. Cash or check only.
If you go: Murder at the Pie Auction runs January 28t, 29t, and 30. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:15pm with a Lasagna dinner for $27. Doors open at 6pm, dinner is served at 6:30pm. Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2pm, with Dessert for $22. Doors open at 1pm, desserts served at 1:30pm.
Tickets are available by calling 402-302-5932. Do not purchase your tickets online, as there is a glitch in the system and it currently states all shows are sold out. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE! In order to preserve social distancing, they are selling to 75% capacity. Please call to purchase your tickets.
Visit www.oldeglorysewardne.com for further information and a list of upcoming events. Follow on Facebook and Instagram @oldeglorytheatre for updates!
Amber C. Nore is a singer/actress/writer who has performed locally with Angels Theatre Company, Pinewood Bowl and Lincoln Community Playhouse and nationally with Spokane Repertory Theatre and Rogue Players. She sings in the band Andy Pappas & Jukebox Gyro, the debut album “Inside Voices” is available on iTunes and Spotify. Her favorite role has been Stage Mom to her daughter, Chloe. Amber is the Community Relations Manager for Mosaic in Southeast Nebraska, a nonprofit healthcare agency that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their hopes and dreams. She lives with her cat in an art gallery in the Haymarket and loves to support local businesses/music/events with her partner, Patrick
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