Mystery Theatre Offers Show With Live Original Music

The cast of Mystery Theatre Unlimited’s dinner theatre show “Rock ’em Dead” scheduled for today at the Vue Bar and Grill in Moundsville and Jan. 25 at River City Restaurant in Wheeling are, from left, Dustin Heavilin, Butch Maxwell, Rick Call, Ryan Sears and Maria McKelvey.

MOUNDSVILLE — Mystery Theatre Unlimited will rock and roll with its current show, featuring live original music — entirely performed by the actors. In “Rock ’em Dead,” a musical-comedy murder mystery dinner theatre show, a rock band that once enjoyed great success, but dissolved in a bitter break-up, is poised to be inducted in the Rock Hall of Fame. The problem is — the surviving band members must reunite, but they hate each other. The show debuts tonight at the Vue Bar and Grill in Grand Vue Park, Moundsville, and continues Jan. 25 at River City Restaurant in Wheeling.

In the show, the popular 1980s rock band Tone Def was known primarily for its excessive theatrics and outrageous antics, both onstage and off. Thirty years later, the band’s manager is determined to reunite the band not only for the award, but also to use the renewed media attention to launch a world tour. But the former band mates have not reconciled after an ugly split-up.

While androgynous British bassist David Boney (played by Butch Maxwell) has enjoyed some moderate chart success with albums such as “Izzy or Izzn’t He,” guitarist Eli Johnson (played by Ryan Sears) has become a full-time drunk after losing his girlfriend, Binaca Bruja (played by Maria McKelvey), to lead guitarist Gash (played by Rick Call), who has forsaken rock for a religious cult. Manager Morey Schwartzmeyer (played by Dustin Heavilin) must navigate the egos, tempers and old arguments as well as deal with the unexpected death of the band’s drummer, Wrongo Squat. Given the tensions within these characters, this reunion could literally be murder.

While Mystery Theatre productions always feature musical performances, this is the only show that uses no recorded music, but instead, all of the music is performed live by the actors.

The Wheeling-based ensemble has been writing and performing original comedy murder mysteries since 1996, with more than 60 unique shows in its repertoire. The performances include audience interaction and the opportunity to solve a murder mystery, along with a dinner. Performances take place in a dining room, with actors moving about among the tables. Audience members are encouraged to gather clues, talk to the characters and even question the survivors after the murder has occurred. Some audience members will also play small parts during the show.

For reservations, which include a full meal and the show itself, call the Vue Bar and Grille at 304-810-2778 or River City Restaurant at 304-233-4555. Private parties are available by calling 304-280-8681.

For more information, see www.mystery theatreunlimited.com.

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