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WNCC Theatre Club to perform dinner theater
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WNCC Theatre Club to perform dinner theater

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A murder mystery dinner theater goes awry in Western Nebraska Community College Theatre Club’s dinner theater production of “Murder Me Always,” which will be performed on Dec. 3 and 4 at 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

In this silly whodunit comedy, a terrible performance of a murder mystery ends up with the director being shot off stage, turning the farce into a real investigation. The entire dinner theater production is being put on by students through the theater club at WNCC led by president Chastity Brown, who also did the costuming for the production.

The club typically does various projects, productions and activities for different events at WNCC, like homecoming or Oktoberfest. The club knew they wanted to do something in between the fall musical and the Very Valley Christmas program, so they just started spit-balling ideas.

“We were looking for something to do. We weren’t quite sure; we know we wanted to do something,” Lola Sabala, co-director and WNCC freshman, said. “Then we were just spitting out ideas and someone spit out dinner theater. So we were like, ‘Ooh, I think we can do that.’”

Sabala is directing the play alongside freshman John Plasencio. They said the play has been a big undertaking — only having a month to organize it and hosting nearly four-hour rehearsals daily — but they are learning a lot from it.

“I find it (directing a play) a little scary,” Sabala said with a laugh. “But it’s definitely a good experience.”

Plasencio added, “I like it. I’m really into film. I would love to direct film someday, and so this is just a tool to grow in everything like that. That’s how I see it.”

While the students get a little help from theater professor Violette Kjeldgaard, the entire production is student-led, from actors to directors to stage managers.

“Violette (Kjeldgaard) is here, part of the practices, but mainly just to advise on big things,” Plasencio said. “It’s going to show off the amount of talent we have here at WNCC.”

The dinner theater event will run for two nights, Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. both nights, and it will take place at First Presbyterian Church, 101 E 20th St. in Scottsbluff. Dinner will include a salad, chicken entrée, and cheesecake. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased through the WNCC Box Office. Please note of any dietary needs when purchasing tickets. Ticket sales close Thursday, Dec. 2.

The theater club will also be hosting a toy drive during the dinner theater and invites all participants to donate a toy or gently used winter coat for kids in need this holiday season.

“(Chastity) had the idea that while we’re doing this theater, we could have a donation tote set up … and people bring in toys for unfortunate kids,” Plasencio said.

The drive will continue at the Very Valley Christmas production, which will feature all performing arts programs, on Dec. 11 and 12.

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Olivia Wieseler is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9051 or by emailing olivia.wieseler@starherald.com.

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