'Mayhem at the Masquerade' brings interactive dinner theater to Springfield

Participants in “Mayhem at the Masquerade” will be served a delicious meal, some wine, a generous helping of intrigue, and side dishes of comic relief and tomfoolery.

This interactive mystery dinner theatre event will be presented at 6 p.m. Friday, March 3, and again at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 5 (if enough tickets are sold to justify a second show). The Woman’s Town Club and Springfield Civic Theatre will jointly present “Mayhem” at the Club’s headquarters, the historic Buchwalter House, 805 E. High St.

Tickets are $50 and include dinner and wine. The deadline to reserve a seat for the event is Wednesday, March 1. Call Janet at (937) 378-1685 or (937) 657-4648 to purchase tickets.

Suzanne Grote and Rita Brooks, president and secretary of the Civic Theatre board, wrote the outline for the evening’s shenanigans, although the format allows, or even requires, considerable improvising by all participants. Some Civic Theatre actors will play assigned roles, such as a psychic called Charlotte Tann (say it aloud) and the head of an architectural firm called Leigh Derr (again, say it aloud).

Attendees are encouraged to join in the festivities by interacting with the actors and coming up with their own spontaneous contributions.

The mystery incorporates the event’s setting by involving a mock celebration of the ongoing restoration of the Buchwalter House. Grote says the evening, at first, will look like a normal society happening, with recognition of donors and solicitation of donations, but then things will take a turn.

“Messages from beyond are revealed,” Grote says. “Money is found missing. Rumors of a treasure circulate. Disagreements about how funds should be spent persist. How can this all be resolved? Only time and attendance at the mystery will tell.”

Proceeds from “Mayhem” will support the maintenance of the Buchwalter House, which the Woman’s Town Club has used since 1922, when Edward Buchwalter offered to sell his home to the club and donated $5,000 of the $25,000 purchase price. The club members paid off the remaining debt within two years. Edward’s wife, Clementine, was a prominent suffragette and founder of the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs, as well as the local club.

The club provides social events for members and some public events, including open houses, speakers, style show, Mother’s Day Brunch, and more. The club contributes to several local charities, including Second Harvest Food Bank, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Literacy Sting, and Empty Bowls. For more information about the club, go to www.womanstownclub.com/.

Springfield Civic Theatre has been presenting plays, musicals, and revues and providing an outlet for local actors for more than 90 years. Civic usually schedules a couple of plays, a musical, and a children’s production each season. Its next production will be the comedy “Southern Hospitality” on April 21-23, at the John Legend Theater. More information can be found at www.springfieldcivictheatre.org.

Editor's Note: Steve Schlather serves on the board of Springfield Civic Theatre.
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