Don your dress for PAO’s Dinner Theatre

Suffolk University students and guests are invited to dine, dance and play detective while enjoying this year’s dinner theatre production. 

On Oct. 20-22, Suffolk’s Performing Arts Office will put on its annual dinner theatre, “Murder at Prom ’93”; and just like every prom there will be a little bit of dancing, voting for prom queen and murder? This year’s dinner theatre story takes place at Gleason Archer High School’s senior prom in 1993. During the show guests will be served a three-course meal with the choice of chicken or pasta, chocolate molten lava cake and “murder” according to the PAO. This is an interactive show, said Kathy Mahoney, associate director of PAO, which means while guests enjoy their meal actors will continue to interact with them and each other throughout the entire performance, completely immersing them in the dinner theatre experience.

Guests are encouraged to go a step further and to come dressed for the part in 90’s prom, 90’s trends or detective themed outfits. Not convinced yet? Those that do come in 90’s attire will have the chance to win the ‘Best Dressed’ award. Not only can the audience look forward to dinner and a show, but they can also engage in the show as well. Audience members can vote for prom superlatives and guess the killer, with one correct audience member winning a prize at the end of each show.

However, if you’re looking for hints to uncover the criminal —  keep looking, as cast member Rima Zahreddine put it: her lips are sealed.

This show has been in production since auditions on Sept. 13, with rehearsals running since Sept. 19. The cast and crew had four weeks to put the show together, which is no simple task according to Mahoney.

“A tough side of the show is that we have a short time to both get the acting, dancing and singing in place, but we also need to learn a totally new way of performing, because dinner theatre is an immersive experience,” she said.

The show’s stage management, light, sound, costumes and hair and makeup are all student-led, with the show running with 12 cast members.

The hard work to produce the show has left much anticipation for those working on it.

“I am looking forward to putting on a really funny show for friends and family, and to all the laughs and audience interactions,” said freshman cast member Ana Manzioli.

This production is the 22nd dinner theatre that PAO has produced, and it’s a spinoff of their first show back in 2000,” Murder at Prom ‘63.” This year’s show runs off of an adaptation of the script from 22 years ago, setting it to the 90’s theme.

While the script may have been written long ago, the staging and choreography was newly created by the cast and crew over the past four weeks.

“Since many of our current students missed out on prom [due to COVID-19], we thought this could be a really fun way to give them a chance to dress up and enjoy a different kind of prom,” said Mahoney.

Performances start at 7 p.m. in Sargent Hall, but the doors will be open at 6:40 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $10 for Suffolk students and $15 for non-Suffolk students. Tickets can be purchased in Sawyer 310.

If you would like more information, reach out to the PAO at [email protected] or stop by their office on the third floor of the Sawyer Building.

Follow Emily on Twitter @emilyrcollins7.