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'Death in Them Thar Hills'

Crest Area Theatre and Creaton Rotary Club co-sponsor murder mystery

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 1:26 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 3:38 p.m. CDT
The cast of "Death in Them Thar Hills," the murder mystery co-sponsored by Crest Area Theatre and Creston Rotary Club, pose for picture before dress rehearsal Monday at the Union County Historical Complex. Performances of the show are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at the complex.

Have you ever wanted to solve a mystery? Have you ever thought being an investigator or detective might be fun? Well, now is your chance.

Crest Area Theatre and Creston Rotary Club are co-sponsoring a "grub pile" western-themed murder mystery show at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Union County Historical Complex. Performances on Thursday and Friday include a meal for $30, and the performance on Sunday includes dessert for $15.

The performance is titled, "Death in Them Thar Hills," where gold mine owner Dusty Jones was murdered as he was being honored by the citizens of Cactus Gulch, Ariz.

"One of the characters killed Dusty Jones," said Ronn Vandevender, Crest Area Theatre board member and director of this year's performance. "It is the audience's job to figure out who it was."

The audience members will be given information and clues. Then they will be broken up into groups, and each actor will go to each group where the audience members can ask them questions based on the information they have.

"The clues will come from the show," said Vandevender. "Each character has a monologue they will read, and some of the questions will come from that. Each character also has their own background and questions will come from that, too."


There is no main character in the performance, because each character plays an equally important role in the murder mystery. Characters in the show range from a dime novel writer to newspaper editor.

"These murder mysteries are kind of tongue and cheek," said Vandevender. "They're not really meant to be serious, but they're not comedy. So, a lot of the names of the characters are kind of a play on words."

Ann Hegstrom, a teacher from the Des Moines area, plays school teacher Bonnie Crockett in the show. This is Hegstrom's second year participating in the Crest Area Theatre shows, but has been involved with community theater for many years.

Pam Hoffman plays the saloon operator Cattie Adams in the performance, and this is her first time ever doing a murder-mystery show.

"I've always loved the stage," she said. "I have four kids, so this is the first time in 14 years that I've been able to act. So, this is very exciting for me. I just love to bring a character to life."

Tickets are available at the Creston News Advertiser, and audience members are encouraged to wear weather-appropriate clothing as dinner and several team interviews will take place outside. Performance weather dates are Oct. 18, 19 and 21, and the original purchased tickets will still be used if the performance has to be postponed.

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