Audience will set sail in 'Murder Ahoy' Feb. 20-21 at Sanford Center

The upcoming production of “Murder Ahoy,” will premiere Thursday, Feb. 20 and Friday, Feb. 21, at the Sandfor Center. Bemidji Community Theater members from left: Jeffrey Willis as “Zack Mitchell,” Tiffany Barta as “Daisy,” Derick Houle as “Blake Witherspoon,” Paul Conklin as “Smitty,” Amanda Gartner as “Tara Dawn DePue,” and Carla Norris-Raynbird as “Ettah Denney.” (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

In the upcoming “Murder Ahoy,” Bemidji Community Theater and the Sanford Center invite you to set sail from the Galveston Port on the cruise ship Titan as it heads toward the famous site of the wreck of the Titanic to mount a salvage operation and auction priceless artifacts to cruise patron.

You will meet Smitty (played by Paul Conklin), the first mate who tries to stay organized in the absence of the Captain, while Ettah Denney (Carla Norris-Raynbird), the social director, tries to keep everyone entertained. But for some of the passengers you will meet, this cruise is much more. Blake Witherspoon (Derick Houle), spoiled and demanding, tries to keep his fiancé, Daisy (Tiffany Barta) in tow. Daisy seems to have secrets of her own. The young inventor, Zack Mitchell (Jeffrey Willis), has followed Daisy onto the cruise and is clearly lovesick over her.

When Blake’s body is discovered, the antique dealer and private detective, Tara Dawn DePue, of the Dallas DePues (Amanda Gartner), springs into action and engages the audience to help her find a killer.

Director Kristine Cannon says, “I think audiences will be highly entertained by this mystery. It has intricate plot twists and engaging characters. Prepare to suspend disbelief.”

The audience will be invited to participate in various aspects of this production. Volunteers will play a trivia game, bid on items at auction, and be given an opportunity to help solve the mystery with a crossword puzzle and with other material provided. There will also be plenty of opportunity to sit back and enjoy the mystery.


A collaboration between Bemidji Community Theater and the Sanford Center, “Murder Ahoy,” by Craig Sodaro, (with permission of Eldridge Publishing) will premiere Thursday, Feb. 20 and Friday, Feb. 21.

Cannon noted that last year the mystery dinner theater sold out, and many were left on the waiting list. BCT and Sanford decided to give audiences two opportunities to see the show this year. On Feb. 20 boarding begins through Sanford Center Door 4 at 5:30 p.m. for cocktails, with the show starting at 6 p.m. On Feb. 21 boarding begins at 6:30 p.m. with the performance at 7 p.m.

The dinner menu this year will include vegetarian crostini canapes at the table, dinner salad with French or ranch dressing, chicken marsala stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, mashed potatoes, carrots, dinner rolls and butter with chef’s choice dessert. There will be a vegetarian option on direct request to the Sanford Center at least 48 hours before the date of the event. A cash bar is available.

The cost of dinner and theater is $40 per ticket. Tickets can be obtained through the Sanford website via Ticketmaster or directly at the Sanford Center office.

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