Murder mystery afoot at Davis campus

Murder Mystery (Emily Steckbauer)
Brandon and Celeste McClannahan investigate possible suspects in a murder mystery dinner show Friday night. The Murder Mystery Co. entertained Halloween-dressed guests at the Davis campus. (Emily Steckbauer/ The Signpost)

The Weber State Davis campus jump-started their Halloween celebration this past Friday night with an interactive murder mystery activity.

For attendees, the evening consisted of dinner and a performance, which drew in many couples who treated it as a date night.

Three members of the Murder Mystery Company were invited to come put on the program.

“We have about 10 to 15 different themes of shows,” said Mary Haughie, the district director for the company, who also played a part in the performance.

This time, the play followed the storyline of a costume party at a billionaires’ club.

“The billionaires’ club is a place where billionaires don’t have to sit around poor people and look at them and smell them,” explained Alex Allred while staying in character as president of the club.

In the process of announcing the winner of the best costume award, the club’s president began to smoke a cigar and suddenly died. A detective then came in and determined a murder had been committed. The rest of the event consisted of picking out suspects and talking to them to determine their motives and opportunities to commit the murder.

Before the show formally started, the three actors talked with attendees and chose one person at each table to play the part of a murder suspect. Suspect characters included a kleptomaniac, a bowling alley owner, a famous novelist and a Mexican heartthrob.

“Everyone was really willing to participate and have fun. (They) actually worked hard and thought it through. It was a great group,” said Allred.

Each table worked as a team throughout the night, and then accused someone of murder at the end.

“This is a really hard one to solve, and at least half the audience solved it, which is really cool,” said Haughie.

Erik Fronberg, a NUAMES high school early college student, heard about the event through student government. Fronberg’s table won an award for pinning the motive more closely than any other team.

“I was really impressed with the involvement. I’ve been to murder mystery events in the past, and I was never as involved,” he said.

According to Alex Marquez, a member of the Davis Programming Board, Weber State has held this activity twice in the past, although it has evolved since then.

“Last year, we didn’t have the budget to do a full dinner, but this year, luckily, we were able to. So we were able to enhance the experience,” Marquez said.

For all three years, the same company has been hired to put on the performance.

Fifty seats were available at the event, and tickets were $5 a piece. Tickets sold out the day before the event, which Marquez marked as a trait of a successful activity.

“We just love bringing people together. It’s fun to let people do something different for Halloween,” Marquez added.

Planning the layout, decorations and filling out contracts with the performance took some preparation from the programming board. Marquez estimated she started planning this event more than two months ago.