Murder Mystery Dinner Themes

You can narrow down your search of a murder mystery theme by picking the historical era of the play: will you use a Modern or Period Murder Mystery Theme?  Corporate murder mystery dinner theater shows must consider guests or employees whom are travelling long distances with limited luggage space. This would limit the use of costumed murder mystery theme. (Yet we have even found ways to make that work.) Or, a smaller, private home party might choose a theme that is less formal and the attire of guests is more relaxed. Usually, smaller parties with friends and relatives in attendance go over great with a period theme like the Gatsby Murder. Call us for a free consultation on which theme best suits your needs.

Here is a good rule of thumb: period plays work best if ALL actors and ALL guests wear costumes to match the same historical time era. Contemporary plays require no special costuming by guests other than wearing typical business dress for dinner or a luncheon. And yet, even this aspect can change if you want to throw in a nice twist such as a masquerade them; using stylish Mardi Gras type masks face masks with more elegant attire. The venue location itself and its decor may seem to scream out what murder mystery themes will fit it the best.  

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Copyright 1989 – 2010 by Ebright Entertainment Enterprises, All Rights Reserved

Dolly Witherspoon oil portrait, circa 1929. This style of painting was considered risque’ during that time period, yet Dolly avoided social  scrutiny due to her popularity and beauty.

THE SETTING for this contemporary mystery takes place at cocktail hour, followed by dinner that begins with the presentation of the $80 Million Dollar Will from the late Dolly Witherspoon’s estate.The Witherspoon name became famous during the last century, ever since Sir James Witherspoon came from England to California at the end of the Gold Rush. His fortune was made in the timber industry that thrived off the railroads and building of major cities throughout the Western States. His young widow, the 20-year old stage singer and actress, Dolly Witherspoon, outlived him by 60 years. Her reputation is well-known, even to former U.S. Presidents that have all visited and stayed as house guests at her palatial mansion. She is the last of San Francisco’s golden era of wealthy widows.

The dinner guest list includes an eclectic mix of famous people all eager to learn if their name is listed on Dolly’s will. The suspects are an odd mix; including the likes of playboy Biff Bodine, super-model Nada Klugh, Nurse Lippkiss, the widow, Angelina Giovanni Montebello Virginia. Screams are heard just before dinner and the abrupt discovery of a dead man brings Detective Schlitt onboard to untangle this sordid and comedic tale of clues, alibis, and MURDER!. This murder mystery theme can be modified with a masquerade costume addition or Roaring 20’s attire. Call us and we’ll explain how it all works out, either way.

Click on audio track below to hear an audio invitation to attend “The Witherspoon Millions” play:

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Copyright 1998, 2011 by Ebright Entertainment Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Bon soir! You are a member of a very privileged group who have all traveled to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France to attend a once in a lifetime event. You will witness the unveiling of a rare and treasured art piece worth millions. A long-lost art work by Leonardo deVinci was just discovered this past year and it will be presented to the eyes of the world amidst a fanfare of lights, TV cameras, and the world press. Celebrities in attendance include all or many of the following: Monique St. Claire, Lance Darling, Angelina Giovanni Montebello Virginia, Monsignor Balogne, Claudette Bimboette and Texas tycoon, G.I. Luvmuney.

We respectfully request our honored guests and news reporters to refrain from using camera flashes and movie lights in order to protect the privacy of everyone in attendance. DO NOT attempt to wander about the halls of the museum, lest you set off alarms and suffer the consequences. BEWARE – the air is thick with greed and perhaps … MURDER in the Louvre!

NOTE: “Murder in the Louvre” is an original copyrighted play written several years before “The daVinci Code” was ever written as a book or movie screenplay. The concept of basing a fictional story on a murder at the Louvre came from playwright, Scott Ebright.

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                                     Copyright 1992, 2013 by Ebright Entertainment Enterprises. All rights reserved.

In this nostalgic bash, the year is 1931! You are attending a party given by the famous San Francisco stage actress, singer and dancer: Ann Marie Burroughs (Photo shown below). She has invited an interesting collection of guests to her “fund-raiser” held in a speak easy. Don’t forget these are “dry times” – due the U.S. Congress outlawing booze a decade earlier. Yet, guests somehow ignore that law and get away with adult beverages anyways. In fact, even the Senator and Mayor are reported to be seen sipping their own flasks of illegal hooch.

Party guests enjoy dressing up as Flappers, Gangsters, and other Roaring 20’s styles. This play works great for small and large groups.

The mood is set in this Gatsby themed play with sounds of ragtime jazz and Dixieland bands. The stuck-up, East Coast debutante’ “Vanna Teafaire” proclaims her innocence, as well as wannabe gangster, “Eddie Cashdollar”. Flapper “Faye Kinnett” is an aspiring dancer with good looks but her noodle isn’t very bright. Bruno Valentino is a dashing race car driver whose role is interchangeable with the female counterpart of  the treacherous, “Contessa Carlotta Gallabamba”.

This play is a popular choice for either small or large events; and private or corporate parties. Much detail and attention to historical accuracy is written into the script to add realism to the plot. Even the evidence and clues arrive regulary into the hands of the Detective in the form of authentic, yellow, Western Union telegrams.

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Copyright 2006, 2011 by Ebright Entertainment Enterprises, all rights reserved

It’s 1947, and in an era when the Radio Industry is at its peak, you are part of a Premiere Opening of a brand new, LIVE radio show where prime show biz celebrities are being honored by the famous and eccentric millionaire: Hunter S. Duckworth. You are making history as the first audience ever to see the first national broadcast of a fun new radio show airing for the first time, courtesy of Mr. Duckworth. Scuttlebutt says the “Old Coot” hasn’t been himself lately, but recently, he was sane long enough to organize this evening’s impressive guest list for dinner guests comprised of his famous friends from the show business world. Experts predict a listening audience of well over 3 million radio fans across the U.S. will be tuned in to this special night!

Over a soft backbeat of BIG BAND tunes, the radio announcer will kick off the show with a short speech that will acknowledge celebrities like Helen Hywater, Betty Malone, Russell Sprout, and Chip Slater. But, the question remains… will revenge rear its ugly head tonight….or dare we think murder could ever happen live, and On the Air?

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Copyright 2006, 2011 by Ebright Entertainment Enterprises, all rights reserved

When guests arrive at this Rock Star event, they will find themselves immersed in a star-studded crowd of recording industry celebrities. But, almost immediately, the festive mood abruptly halts when a record executive is found murdered. Guests soon learn that the “stiff” is somehow connected with the 45-year-old conspiracy of the “original” Paul McCartney’s death in November of 1966.

Recent clues and forensics have surfaced and they have torn the lid off the investigation of the real life imposter, Faul McCartney. It looks like that old rumor about the original Paul’s death has re-surfaced with a vengeance! Guests will learn many factual surprises about the Beatles’ original bassist, Paul McCartney and a possible conspiracy cover-up that is 45 years-old.

One fun highlight of this show is the onstage presentation of Ringo Starr’s famous drum set! Members of the audience are invited to stand next to, or sit behind the drum set for a Photo Op and souvenir picture. Some of the actors fill are ‘rock stars’ and they sing renditions of famous songs. This murder mystery play balances humor, dark comedy, and suspense… along with the latest and AUTHENTIC forensics about the whole “Faul” McCartney plot. Evidence is presented on a Big Screen video and this Big Screen also makes a big splash when arriving guests will see classic rock and roll music videos.
NOTE: The musical era of this production can emphasize any decade: 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, or 1990’s. Guests are all encouraged to wear costumes from any of those eras since the setting of this show is a musical TV special saluting Rock and Roll. In terms of costumes or dress codes: ANYTHING GOES!

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Copyright 2006, 2011 by Ebright Entertainment Enterprises. All rights reserved

AFTER Lord Wellington died in the 1930’s, the legacy of his legendary Masquerade Ball lives on. His will decreed that as long as his mighty fortune existed, the world-famous party would be a yearly tradition. For decades, Wellington’s parties have seen actors, CEO’s, U.S. Presidents, circus sideshow entertainers, international heads of state, Olympic athletes, and even scientists. YOU are cordially invited to attend this years party! Lately, witnesses report an increase of eerie and mysterious events at the mansion. The Wellington Estate has been certified to be “Haunted”!

Time: Cocktails at Sundown
Attire: Dress OR Masquerade

Recently, some guests claim to have seen the “headless” ghost of Lord Wellington himself! All guests will sign a medical waiver and liability release in the event they should suffer from sudden shock or fright. Beware, the evil-doers at this party might not all be among the living! Be careful you are not framed by a ghost… with an axe to grind!

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Think Twice Before Using Customized Scripts 

The mystery plays we perform stand tall as professional, proven entertainment quality. Our scripts are written to incorporate all the best elements of humor, intrigue, and believability. All of our plays can be adapted to a team building format.

BEWARE: Some mystery companies try to win your favor by promising a customized script is the best way you should do your event. This might sound tantalizing, but use your logic: will a totally customized script be better than a pre-written script!?

The answer to the above question is an emphatic “NO”!  A well-rehearsed, seasoned script takes weeks to write, and then many months – or even years – to correct, fine tune, and polish. This is standard operating procedure in Theater. Just ask any experienced actor about horror stories they’ve endured from first night “premieres” or a one-time performance. A play that has never been performed before a live audience is too risky. Fresh and new scripts always have glitches that take time and rehearsal to spot the flaws and then tweak and modify. Over the years, our audience feedback helps us to improve our scripts. Broadway producers have enough smarts to avoid a one-performance, “custom” script, so…SHOULDN’T YOU?

The professional TV/Movie actors that our company uses are capable of doing the same script 500 or 1,000 times without ever once sounding like they are just “reciting lines”. They ALWAYS sound fresh and spontaneous because that’s why good actors can make a full-time living – they are in demand by top directors and producers of shows! So when they add custom bits of adibbing that can change from one audience to another, their entire character portrayal is flawless and impressive.  Amateur murder mystery companies that say “we don’t use scripts” are secretly trying to cover-up their biggest flaw: their actors are not very convincing doing character roles. The only way to get around that negative is to pump up the concept that “custom scripts” are better – when in fact, that is the furthest thing from the truth!

Practice makes perfect, STILL the GOLDEN rule!

HOWEVER….if you want to use lots of company branding, name-dropping, and various corporate personalities woven into the script of your event, then you are throwing the dice by hoping the end result will be good. From our 30+ years of experience, we know it is best to avoid mediocre results that are caused by too many variables and unprofessional “script contributors”. A murder mystery is suspenseful and yet  humorous, whereas a corporate plot heavy laden with too much business speak is better suited for infomercials. It is entirely possible that you should avoid using a murder mystery theme and instead, consider a different styled dinner event concept (which we also can book for you). We would rather pass on presenting a murder mystery dinner than to set ourselves up – and YOU – for less desired results.

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