The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 22, 2013

Wild West mystery will roll into town

Tom Lavis

PATTON — It’s not often that the words “murder” and “fun-filled evening” can be used in the same sentence.

But it’s appropriate in the case of the latest interactive dinner theater sponsored by Remembering Adam Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides substance-abuse prevention education to school districts and communities.

“Murder at the Shady Lady Saloon,” an original play by Debbie Fowler of Carrolltown, president of Remembering Adam Inc., and Megan Bursky of Northern Cambria, will be presented at 5 p.m. April 6 at La Ferme Rouge, 238 Marina Road, Patton.

Doors will open at 4:15 for the casual dress event.

“The raucous evening of murder, mayhem and great food is an event that people have come to look forward to each year,” Fowler said. “All our productions are one-and-done shows that we write exclusively for the fundraiser.”

“Dinner provided by Joey Del’s 2001 Caterers will feature ribs and chicken along with baked potato and chili,” Fowler said.

This year’s offering has a Western theme.

“It’s a real whodunit where any of the eight shady characters could be murdered or be a suspect in the killing,” Fowler said. “The audience is part of the action and we don’t want to give too much away.”

Fowler said the play is very interactive as actors mingle with the audience for nearly the entire performance.

“Before the play begins, the actors, who are all in character, greet and mingle with the dinner guests,” Fowler said. “I would advise our patrons to listen carefully to the characters in case they can get any clue that may help them determine the murderer.”

Victor Beach of Hastings will portray the sheriff; Paul Demi of Northern Cambria will play a blacksmith; Patty and Christy Sponsky, both of Elmora, will portray a singer and gunslinger respectively.

Other actors are Josh and Toni Demi of Northern Cambria, who will portray a Texas Indian agent and traveling medicine man, respectively; Mitzi Keefe of St. Benedict, owner of the Shady Lady Saloon; and Linda Yeager of Carrolltown, a showgirl at the saloon.

After the first act of the play, there will be a 15- to 20-minute break when partons may take part in three games of chance.

“We will give away about $5,000 in prizes to the winners,” Fowler said. “We will have one mystery prize that is worth about $700 and connected to our theme of the Wild West.”

To win the prize, people will have to gather clues throughout the evening and guess what the prize may be.

“We hope to raise about $10,000,” Fowler said. “Over the last 10 years, I would estimate that we have raised over $70,000 to benefit the Remembering Adam prevention program.”

Remembering Adam drug-screening programs are conducted in eight area school districts.

This is the group’s only fundraiser except for one conducted in its newsletter.

Reservations are required, and the deadline is Thursday.

Tickets may be obtained by calling 954-1556.

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