I love a good mystery, whether it’s curling up with a good book, or a good whodunit TV show or movie. So, when I recently had the opportunity to check out a MurderS She Wrote performance at Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor City, I jumped at the chance.
This murder mystery comedy dinner theater group has performed throughout the Tampa Bay area since 1998.
Having no idea what to expect, I was completely drawn in as was everyone else in the audience. This particular evening, we sat at tables with other members of the audience because everyone is part of the show. The performance was “Murder on Budget Cruise Lines.” A full dinner is also served as part of the show.
Initially, members of the audience are chosen for different roles. The murder mysteries are also comedies, so a lot of laughs were shared with the other people surrounding me. Everyone got into the spirit of the evening.
Dotty Fitchett, a member of the audience who has participated in the mysteries on numerous occasions, said, “These shows are interactive and always fun and each show is different. They are professionally done.”
There are currently eight different shows: Murder on the Menu, My Big Fat Italian Funeral, Last Will and TestaMint, Murder on the 19th Hole, Murder on Budget Cruise Lines, A Wedding to Die For, Murder In Sparkleville and A Murder at the Class Reunion of St. Cecilia’s All Girls School.
They are all written, produced and directed by Maria Buckley, who also acts in the shows. In 1998, Buckley formed MurderS She Wrote and debuted her first play, Murder At the Class Reunion of St. Cecilia’s All Girls School at Wacky Weaver’s Comedy Club in Brandon. Originally from Clifton, NY, Buckley has been performing in Florida since 1982.
Buckley said, “Prior to forming MurderS She Wrote, I performed in dinner theaters and murder mystery shows, but felt there needed to be more audience involvement, so I wrote my own. This is a unique night out; lots of fun and great food.”
Valrico actor Pepper McGowan is one of the three remaining core members of the group. She considers the other actors family as they work, play and travel together. They share their joys and sorrows with each other. This connection is evident throughout their performance. McGowan said, “I feel a great sense of personal satisfaction when I’m able to draw out smiles and elicit anything from giggle to chortles to great big guffaws and belly laughs from an audience; and who doesn’t like applause?”
The murder troupe performs in various locations throughout each month. They are at Spaghetti Warehouse twice a month; once a month in summer.
MurderS She Wrote will also come to you. These performances make a great fundraiser for your school, church or organization’s function. The shows can be customized for your needs. For more information, visit www.murdersshewrote.com, or e-mail Buckley at SUM220@aol.com.