By Ryan Barich, Staff Writer

There’s been a murder! Notorious actor, John Smith, has been shot in the middle of Auto Oppenheimer’s big dinner party. The place was filled with witnesses; however, some of these witnesses may just in fact be the murderer. Questions have been flying all over the dining room: who did it? Where were you? How could this happen? The most important question though has yet to be asked-where are the cops?

The local police haven’t arrived yet because this murder, however gruesome it may appear, is not a real one. It is merely a part of the newest production from Metropolis Theater: A Star Is Dead Murder Mystery Dinner. It will be opening October 26th and feature such talent such as David Fink and Dylan Todd.

The production is quite different from other Metropolis shows because this one will be an interactive experience with members of the audience.

The audience will get a chance to play minor speaking roles along with the veteran actors, and even be allowed to search for clues to solve the mystery. The experience doesn’t stop there though, as the audience will be treated to a four course meal to be fully immersed into the show.

The way it works is that the actors are trained to immerse others in the world through improvisation, but also trained to take whatever the audience says and bring it back to the story.

“It’s all unscripted.We kinda have an idea of what we want to do during an interaction, but we don’t have any direct lines,” Fink said.

Metropolis Theater has never put on a show such as this, not just because it’s interactive, but also because it won’t be performed in the theater. Instead, the show will be performed in the adjoining ballroom to further sell the illusion that the audience is at a 1930s dinner party.

An important part of that illusion is keeping the guests well entertained; that’s why writer and director Andrew Pond made sure to make this story a dark comedy. Pond doesn’t want people to be drudging through his show; he wants people to really get involved and engaged in the story.

“People will be laughing their butts off because we’re so ridiculous,” Todd said, “Pond is really good at those slap of the knee puns and innuendos.”

The production may have the best man heading the project, but in the end it all comes down to the actors. These actors in particular are being asked to basically throw out the script and work with what they’re given.

It certainly is a challenge, but Pond states that it’s all a matter of how invested they are in their characters. Pond said  that as long as they truly believe they are who they play, then the show will move along smoothly.

Pond gets involved in his character by really isolating certain characteristics, such as tone of voice, posture, and even intelligence. For example, one of the characters he plays is a fancier, more intelligent man whom he gives this dashing voice to go along with his suave appearance. His other character is treated as a buffoon who slouches and slurs his words repeatedly.

“I love telling stories, and diving head first into my characters is the best way to tell it,” Fink said.

The cast has been working on their characters since January and feel that this Friday they’re ready to bring their new form of theater to Arlington Heights.

“It’s going to be a theatrical event for this new up and coming form of entertainment,” Todd said.


Metropolis Theatre located in Arlington Heights, Illinois.