Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Join PAO for three nights of murder mystery

Kathy Maloney
The full cast of “America’s Next Top Murder,” which features all freshmen.

The Suffolk University Performing Arts Office’s Dinner Theatre returns this week for three evenings of mystique, magic and murder. 

“America’s Next Top Murder” takes place Oct. 28-30 in the Sargent Hall Function Room and is the first in-person dinner theatre show since the “Star Trek”-themed performance in fall 2019.

“There is nothing like being in the room with the actors and audience, sharing the experience

in person,” said Kathy Maloney, director of the show. “I am very excited for our cast and crew to have the chance to play with their audience and enjoy the energy that comes with that.”

The show was written specifically for the PAO by Boston playwright Rick Park and is set at the fictional filming of the Halloween Spooktacular Finale of the reality game show, “America’s Next Top Psychic.”

This is the first time the dinner theatre is taking place during Halloween week. In past years when there was a Fall Fest, now known as Spring Fest, the show took place before Thanksgiving break. Because of this year’s unique date, the audience is encouraged to come dressed in costume. There will be a winner for best costume each night of the show. 

“We wanted a good excuse for the audience to get dressed for the holiday in the show setting,” Maloney said.

During the interactive performance, the audience will have the chance to solve clues, play with the cast and vote for who they think the murderer is. 

Each night, those who have the correct answer will be placed in a raffle to be deemed as a super sleuth and win a prize.

The cast is composed of 11 first-year students, three stage managers and four tech members. The show also features an original song written by Suffolk sophomore Annaliese Arnsten.

The goal of the song, named after the fictitious reality show, is to help tell the story and to engage the audience. 

“It has been really fun and interesting writing an original song for the show because it must incorporate traits of the different characters and suit the Halloween theme,” Arnsten said. 

Suffolk alumnus Jules Fielding is the costume designer of this year’s show. Maloney said having these old cast members return is an essential part of the dinner theatre.

We love keeping the alums of the show involved even when scheduling doesn’t allow them to be in the cast,” Maloney said.

This is the 21st murder mystery dinner at Suffolk. Maloney joined the first show in 2001 as a stage production manager and designer. Since 2003, she has been the director and producer. 

“Every year is different and new challenges are faced, but each time we find new and different ways to address those challenges,” Maloney said.

Maloney said the production’s sound design has improved since her first dinner theatre 21 years ago. When the show was held in the old Donahue building, body microphones couldn’t be used so attendees had difficulties hearing the actors. The office has also gotten better at packing up the equipment, which can be rough. But over the last two decades, Maloney said she and her team have perfected the practice of packing up.

The show might be back in person this year, but COVID-19 guidelines are still being followed. Since the show is interactive, cast members will be wearing clear masks and attendees are required to wear masks as well, except when eating. 

Guests from outside the Suffolk community are welcome, but they will need proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of the event. 

Tickets for “America’s Next Top Murder” are $10 and include a three-course meal of an entree, salad and dessert. Cash, Ram Card and meal plans are accepted. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time at PAO’s office at Sawyer 310. 

Audiences should come prepared to play, laugh and interact with the full experience,” Maloney said.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @thesarahdipity.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Lukowski, Arts & Culture Editor | she/her
Sarah Lukowski is a senior journalism and public relations major from Middlebury, Connecticut. Sarah joined The Suffolk Journal in fall 2018 as a Staff Writer and is now the Arts & Culture Editor. When she's not typing away at her computer, you can find her proclaiming her love for Taylor Swift, reading the latest young adult novel, or watching classic horror movies. Follow Sarah on Twitter @thesarahdipity Email her at [email protected]

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Join PAO for three nights of murder mystery