The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

May 13, 2013

Murder!

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — And then there was fun.

For certain, Murder at the Medina Theatre Saturday night provided plenty of laughs with a crowd quite receptive to the Vaudeville style of The Mystery Company, from Buffalo.

Almost 70 people attended the event, and while many were local, there were also members of the crowd who traveled from at least an hour away.

The show, and the opportunity to enjoy the show in the theater, were the main draw for the people.

“I haven’t been in here before,” said Mavonne Luckman of Knowlesville, who was there with her husband Chuck. “I saw the marquis, and we’ve been to things like this before so we decided to come out, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Meanwhile, Chuck, who remembered seeing his first R-rated movie in the theater — Dog Day Afternoon— said he was impressed with the theatre’s changes, although compared to his memories, there was a slight difference.

“I remember it being bigger,” he joked.

At the same table were couple Dave McKeever and Shelly McAdoo. McAdoo said the cast was put on a great show and she expressed some hope for the murder mystery to go mobile.

“Having one of these with the (Medina Railroad Museum) and making it like ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ would be really awesome,” she said, noting the crowd’s enthusiasm.

McAdoo’s daughter Kate and her boyfriend, Zach Kujawa sat nearby. They agreed with the term “awesome.”

“This is what I expected, and I expected awesome,” Kujawa said.

Elsewhere in the room, Barb Waters said she and her husband, Bob, were happy to finally get the chance to attend a live - and local - participatory murder mystery.

“We’ve never been to something like this, and we’ve always wanted to try it but they’ve always been too far away,” she said. “This is very impressive. It’s great that Medina has a place like this. ... It’s a great venue.”

Bob, meanwhile, said the event showcased just how much potential the downtown area of Medina has to offer.

“Small towns always run the risk of running down and becoming dull,” he said. “Whether it’s accidental or by design, Medina seems to have fallen into some good things going on.”

While mentioning “murder” and “good” hardly ever go hand-in-hand, The Mystery Company’s owner, Jerry Kelly said Saturday’s crowd helped them blend seamlessly.

“The people have been very receptive to our jokes and our silliness,” he commented. “There’s also a wide range of ages here. The older folks remember Vaudeville, and the younger folks are open to it.”

By the end of dinner and dessert, the crowd and cast determined the night’s victim - Roland, played by Joe Laspro - was murdered by two dames, Norma (Kathy Prospero) and Renee (Marta Roise). Each table crafted a limerick to inform the cast of their suspected killers, and the winning table was awarded a bottle of champagne to celebrate the evening.

Then, with the mystery solved, the Bill Tiberio Band of Rochester took the stage for a jazz set. Tiberio’s bandmate, Jerry Falzone, had worked with the Medina Theatre’s Event Coordinator Renee Schuner in the past, and he helped bring Tiberio in for a show.

Tiberio said he agreed to play the set at the Theatre site unseen. Before taking the stage, he said he was glad he did.

“I heard this place had a beautiful stage, and I can see that it definitely is,” he said. “The sound and acoustics in here are also really attractive to musicians.”

Tiberio said the Medina Theatre represented a “throwback” place, and one in which he was “excited” to play. “It’s been a long time since I played in a place like this,” he stated.

Tiberio said he had never been to Medina, but hoped to come back again. As for the murder mystery dinner show, its apparent success could lead to it returning, too.