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'The Death of Dr. Valentine': BCT to perform interactive murder mystery at Sanford Center

Members of the Bemidji Community Theater will be performing “The Death of Dr. Valentine,” a dinner-theater show, at the Sanford Center Ballroom on Thursday, Feb. 14. Pictured left to right, Mary Anderson, Carla Norris-Raynbird, Howard Hirdler, Julie Kaiser and Gary Rozman. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 4
Pictured left to right, Carla Norris-Raynbird, Mary Anderson and Howard Hirdler, perform a scene from “The Death of Dr. Valentine.” (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 4
Pictured left to right, Julie Kaiser, Carla Norris-Raynbird and Mary Anderson, perform a scene from “The Death of Dr. Valentine.” (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 4
Howard Hirdler, left, and Gary Rozman perform a scene from “The Death of Dr. Valentine.” (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)4 / 4

The Bemidji Community Theater will perform its first interactive murder mystery dinner theater,"The Death of Dr. Valentine," on Valentines Day, Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Sanford Event Center Ballroom.

Here's what you can expect:

"Dr. Paul Valentine, a renowned plastic surgeon, is the keynote speaker at a banquet hosted by Bemidji's Sanford Event Center. His topic will be "Natural Beauty Through Cosmetic Surgery." Valentine circulates with guests as he looks for his wife, who is to join him at the head table. Many of the guests are aware of his reputation as a womanizer and many are surprised that he actually married; yet all seem eager to meet the woman who finally won him over. The Doctor leaves to continue his search and three women interrupt dinner, each claiming to be Mrs. Valentine. As dinner concludes and guests await the keynote speech, all are shocked to discover that someone has killed the good doctor."

BCT officials say this first-time collaboration between the community theater and the Sanford Event Center promises to be an evening of fun for everyone, couples and individuals alike.

All tables will have an "action card" that will allow one person at the table to have a role in the play. As the investigation moves forward, each table becomes a team of detectives who must sort through clues, solve puzzles, and propose a solution to the mystery. Guided by the resourceful Lt. Blunt, suspects and witnesses are interviewed. The dinner/detectives will have a chance to make inquires of the suspects as well. The table with the most complete and correct answers will win prizes, a BCT release said.

The production is directed by Kristine Cannon. Dr. Valentine is played by Paul Conklin, a BCT regular. Gary Rozman of the Beltrami County Historical Society portrays his nephew, Peter. The Rose sisters (Lily, Pansy, Violet), one of whom is the real Mrs. Valentine, are—not in any order—Carla Norris-Raynbird, Julie Kaiser, and Mary Anderson, all familiar faces in local theater. The brilliant detective is Howard Hirdler.

"The Death of Dr. Valentine" is presented with permission of Mysteries by Moushey. The author, Eileen Moushey, gave permission for the story to be adapted by BCT for this performance.

Tickets are $40 each, this includes the show and a three-course meal of the Sanford signature salad, a duet entrée of short rib and petite chicken with potatoes and vegetables, and blueberry cheesecake for dessert. A vegetarian option is available but must be requested at time of ticket purchase. Only 150 tickets will be sold for the event.

Tickets are available either online or at the Sanford Event Center and must be purchased by Wednesday, Feb. 13. Tables may be chosen at time of ticket purchase, but seats are not assigned, so groups should coordinate ticket purchase.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with cocktails available; Dinner service starts at 7 p.m. For more information, call (218) 441-4000.

There is no dress code, but it may be used as opportunity to dress up, the release said.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Bemidji Community Theater for activities, including The Puppet Ambassadors, BCT Jr., the Playing it Forward project, and some building renovations.

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