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Audience-participation theater offers dinner with a side of crime

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‘The Case of the Christmas Star’

What: Bower North Productions presents a holiday-themed audience-participation mystery show and dinner buffet.
When: Dec. 14. Doors open at 6 p.m. Appetizers and champagne are served at 6:15 p.m., and dinner and dessert are served starting at 7 p.m.
Where: Courtyard Marriott, 1150 S. Harrison St.
Cost: $39.95 per person. For reservations, contact Carol Roop at 579-9226 or carol.roop@
Etc.: Menu — appetizers and champagne, turkey, beef stroganoff, red skin mashed potatoes, green bean amandine, salad, bread, chocolate mousse cake with peppermint mousse, iced tea, lemonade, coffee and a cash bar.

Bower North Productions presents laugh-filled mystery

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 12:01 am

How are your sleuthing skills? Would you like to test them out?

You could become an honorary detective for the evening at the Bower North Productions presentation of “The Case of the Christmas Star” Dec. 14 at the Courtyard Marriott.

The audience-participation mystery-comedy begins at 6 p.m. with appetizers and champagne, while cast members in character mingle with the audience, said Larry Bower, who started Bower North Productions in 1987 with the late Alan North.

“They just find out a little bit about the characters, but there's been no crime committed yet,” said Bower, who plays a detective in “The Case of the Christmas Star.”

His wife, Teresa Bower, who plays a housekeeper in the show, said most audience members are interested in chatting with the cast members during the cocktail hour.

Then, once dinner is served, the cast generally leaves the audience alone to eat. The show begins after dinner.

In “The Case of the Christmas Star,” an original show from Bower North Productions, wealthy museum curator Dominic Radner returns home with the priceless Christmas Star diamond, but soon he is found dead and the diamond is missing.

Suspects include Dominic's assistant, Penelope Perkins; his housekeeper, Mimi DuQui; his attorney, Burris Kane; and his son, Rolf Radner. Larry Bower plays the bumbling detective John Fieldstone, who is tasked with solving the crime.

An audience member is asked to play the body of the victim.

The audience gets involved by filling out crime reports at their table, guessing “whodunit.” They are helped by programs at each place setting that describe the characters. The audience member who identifies the correct “perp” and most accurately describes how and why he or she did it is announced as the winning detective.

“A lot of them are pretty close,” Bower said. “Sometimes if both (answers) are identical, we'll let the victim come up and draw.” The winner gets a Bower North keychain.

Bower says the show involves a lot of corny humor.

“We hope what we do is just pure entertainment,” he said.