Monday, November 20, 2017
Features and More

At Spaghetti Warehouse, dinner theater troupe serves murder mysteries with your meal

RECOMMENDED READING


The Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor City is becoming known for more than its meatballs. Every month there's a murder in the restaurant.

A murder mystery, that is.

MurderS She Wrote, Inc. performs a monthly dinner theater show at the Italian eatery, filled with all the goofy cheesiness you'd expect.

Maria Buckley of Zephyrhills created MurderS She Wrote in 1998, and the company performed its first production at Wacky Weaver's Comedy Club, a regular comedy night at the now-defunct Brew House in Brandon. Since then she and her team of actors have been performing all over Florida, mostly at the Spaghetti Factory and the Clarion Inn and Suites in Clearwater.

Several actors, including Buckley's husband Richard, have been with the group since the beginning, but for the most part the team is a rotating group of actors filled with retirees, stay-at-home moms and folks with regular day jobs. Some are local entertainers who have performed in Tampa Bay theatrical productions and commercials. All the actors are paid for each MurderS She Wrote gig.

Actor Pepper McGowan, who's been with the group since the beginning, said she strives to make her mystery dinner theater shows more interactive than most. Many of the shows she's performed in only allow a handful of audience members to participate, but with MurderS She Wrote, she said, at least half, and sometimes all, of the audience plays a role.

Each show begins basically the same way. Customers check in at the hostess stand, are seated and given a limited menu to peruse while actors from the show welcome the crowd and assign roles.

In some shows, the murder and action begin right away; other shows build up to the murder and mystery. Most of the audience will have a line or two throughout the night, and everyone will be given a worksheet to follow along with the clues.

Spaghetti Warehouse house manager Nick Baker said the restaurant originally started hosting them as a source of entertainment to increase crowds on slow nights, and they've done a good job of bringing in people that might not have stopped by otherwise.

There are two upcoming productions at the Spaghetti Warehouse: "Murder on the Menu" on June 28 and "Murder on Budget Cruise Lines" on July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 13.

"Murder on the Menu" pulls almost the entire audience into the action of a new hit reality TV show called Get a Grip — Lose A Hip. Characters like "Enormous Norm" and "Fatty Patty" compete to be the biggest losers. In "Murder on Budget Cruise Lines," cruise activity directors Elsa and Yourgie lead the crowd through activities such as bingo, table karaoke and a fashion show. Throughout your "cruise," you'll meet the Captain's new wife, learn of an unexpected stowaway on board and find out who will be sleeping with the fishes.

For more information on MurderS She Wrote, visit murdersshewrote.com.

Comments
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s Coco was more enjoyable three years ago when it was titled The Book of Life and came from Twentieth Century Fox.Both animated features spring from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, the annual "day of the dead" when departed rela...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Della Reese, of TV’s ‘Touched by an Angel,’ has died at 86

Della Reese, of TV’s ‘Touched by an Angel,’ has died at 86

LOS ANGELES — Della Reese, the actress and gospel-influenced singer who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama "Touched by an Angel," has died at age 86. Reese’s co-star on the series, Roma ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Unless you are ensconced in first class, sleeping on a plane is as intimate as dozing off in a waiting room on jury duty — everyone on the aircraft knows the decibel level of your snoring and the sad state of your socks.To gauge how passengers percei...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tips for first-time Thanksgiving hosts (or really, any of us)

Tips for first-time Thanksgiving hosts (or really, any of us)

Take small bites.This may be the most crucial advice for Thanksgiving hosts who don’t have years of cooking and coordinating experience to provide the confidence that comes with leading the charge on the year’s biggest cooking day.It’s the first thin...
Published: 11/20/17
American wines red, white and sparkling for your Thanksgiving table

American wines red, white and sparkling for your Thanksgiving table

You’ve dusted off Grandma’s good crystal for the Thanksgiving table. Or you’ve pulled out all your mismatched stems to have enough for every place. Now what to pour?For this most American meal, based on foods native to America — turkey, pumpkin, corn...
Published: 11/20/17
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Published: 11/19/17
How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

Perfect your crust. Try new filling recipes. Learn some decorating tricks. And prepare for the biggest pie day of the year: Thanksgiving.   From apple to thyme You’ve got the crust down. Now it’s time to choose a filling for your holid...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

From appetizers to pies and everything in between, we’re here to help you put together a low-stress Thanksgiving spread. Here are a few ideas, and be sure to check out our Thanksgiving special report for more tips on preparing for the big day. ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Holiday-themed events dot the East Hillsborough landscape

Holiday-themed events dot the East Hillsborough landscape

East Hillsborough residents will have three holiday-themed events to help brighten the season this year.Christmas Lane, the long-time holiday celebration that started on an area farm, launches another season of festivities at its current spot, the Fl...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17
Christmas in downtown Tampa as Winter Village ice rink opens

Christmas in downtown Tampa as Winter Village ice rink opens

TAMPAWhile her teenage daughter and 6-year-old son glided effortlessly across the outdoor ice rink at Curtis Hixon Park on Friday, Danielle Engram, 35, stood nervously on her rented blades.This would be the lifelong Tampa resident’s first time on the...
Published: 11/17/17