Athens residents will soon have the chance to solve a murder.
Athens Sunrise Rotary and OhioHealth partnered together to bring the sixth Murder Mystery Theater Dinner. Actors will perform Drop Dead Disco, and the evening has a ‘70s disco theme that encourages attendees to dress in era-appropriate clothing. Food and drinks will be provided.
If You Go
What: •Drop Dead Disco — A Murder Mystery
When: •6 p.m., •Saturday
Where: •Stuart’s Opera House, •52 Public Square, Nelsonville
Admission: •$75 for per person, •$140 per couple, •$100 for V.I.P. ticket
Drop Dead Disco is a story about the Blend siblings who have inherited a discotheque from their family and want more people to visit their venue. With the hope of returning it to its prime, they host a contest, but someone gets killed before a winner is announced.
“Just about every (character) has a motive in one way or another to have been the culprit,” Jenny Stotts, president of Athens Sunrise Rotary, said.
The cast features several Athens residents including a Common Pleas Court Judge, the executive director of the Athens Economic Development Council and an accountant who often impersonates Elvis in his spare time.
“Seeing people like that out of their normal element and having fun just adds more humanity to (them),” Megan Smith, an Athens resident, said.
Smith said she used to be a performer and stumbled across Drop Dead Disco in 2014 when she wanted to find a new monologue. The disco theme gave her somewhat of a nostalgic feeling of early childhood memories.
“I was still just barely growing up for the tail end of that scene fading away,” Smith said. “Now, it’s happening right down the road.”
The actors included bits of humor specific to Athens in the play. They’ll make references to well-known residents, popular locations and even local controversies, Stotts said. The scale of the murder mystery dinner theater makes the Rotary’s performance different from others.
“Just about anyone can buy a murder mystery dinner kit and put it on in their house, whereas ours is actually like a more formal production,” she said.
Stotts described the annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater as the club’s signature event because it’s its largest fundraiser, Stotts said. The event helps fund Rotary’s work throughout the year, including “flash projects” that help local causes.
Kalei Edenfield, public image chair for the Athens Sunrise Rotary, said the biggest initiative that will benefit from Saturday’s event is their Drafts for a Difference initiative. The Eclipse Company Store hosts a happy hour the first Wednesday of every month, which highlights different charities that the club and the beer hall each donate one dollar for every pint purchased.
“We’ve been able to give just over $5,000 back to the community since last June when we started doing this project,” Stotts said.
Stotts said people in Ohio know of Athens Sunrise Rotary and its work, so they may come see the play because they know the revenue will benefit good causes.
Unlike other Rotary events that may require participants working for a cause, Edenfield said everyone at the play can just sit back and enjoy the performance.
“There’s no other obligations besides coming and having a good time,” she said.
Correction: A previous version of this report misspelled Jenny Stotts' name. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.