The year is 1991 – the height of the grunge music scene. An eclectic cast of characters lounges in a bar just outside Seattle. A long-haired bartender serves a beer to an airline pilot. Meanwhile, an enigmatic German Goth girl lounges in the back looking secretive. A rough-edged cocktail waitress brings yet another drink to the writer who’s struggling with a major case of writer’s block. She ignores the ex-Green Beret who now runs a martial arts school for children.
Suddenly, a scream rings out. A body has been found. Will the retired police detective solve the mystery before law enforcement arrives? See for yourself at this year’s Twin Cities Rotary Murder Mystery Dinner.
This exciting event has a new theme, cast and script each year. Twin Cities Rotary Club President Duane Bryant invites everyone to experience the mystery. “I have attended a few of the planning meetings and I can assure you it’s going to be a lot of fun,” he says.
The event also supports education, with funds going to local scholarships. “The Twin Cities Rotary is a very active and growing club,” says Todd Chaput, General Manager of Holiday Inn Express & Suites Chehalis. “We recognize how important well-educated and civic-minded individuals are to a community and to our club. We can support this through scholarships. This annual event offers everyone the opportunity to experience a fun night out, all while supporting scholarships for our local youth.”
Twin Cities Rotary Club is composed of local leaders with heart. After all, Rotary’s mantra is “service above self.” The group funnels their collective passion, integrity and intelligence into local and international projects that have lasting impact on health, education and economic growth. They meet at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m.
Ray Snyder is this year’s murder mystery dinner writer and director. With a background in festival theatre production, his expertise will add new flair to the annual event. “It’s a different style than before,” Snyder says. “I hope people enjoy it. If so, I might do it again.”
The script is a page out of Snyder’s past. “I played in a grunge band in the 90s and hung out in dive bars,” he says. “So I pulled some characters I once knew into fictional characters. It came together that way. It’s a new trail – a murder mystery in a grunge bar.”
The dinner will be different this year as well. In the past, it was more formal. Guests donned their finest attire for “Murder at The Winery” and “Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball.” This year, dive into the grunge bar theme with a favorite flannel or other 90s fashion.
Attendees will graze on up-scale bar food like wings and tater tots while the mystery unfolds. And enjoy a cocktail or beer from the no-host bar. “It’s very different from before,” Snyder says. “But part of the fun is being in a bar.”
The eclectic cast of characters are played by Rotarians and two community theater volunteers. “We would like to get more community involvement with the production itself,” says Snyder. “Next year, I would love to see more members of the community, in general, come out and participate in some way. It’s a lot of fun for everyone in Lewis County.”
The cast rehearses weekly to prepare for the main event. “There are a lot of laughs and we’re having a lot of fun,” Snyder says. “In the beginning, I stressed to the cast, ‘Let’s have fun.’ I want them to make the characters their own.”
This event benefits Lewis County in many ways. “The money we raise goes right back to the local community,” Snyder says. “Plus it’s fun. Right now, the world needs more fun. It’s a chance to set aside differences and enjoy a little competition to see who can solve it.” There might even be a prize or two for those who can follow the clues and figure out who the murderer is.
Join Twin Cities Rotary Club for The Unhappiest Hour. It promises to be an evening of thrills and suspense – all benefiting a great cause. Tickets are $40 per person, available at Book N Brush and brownpapertickets.com.
The Unhappiest Hour: A Murder Mystery Dinner
5:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Chehalis Eagles Grand Ballroom
1993 South Market Blvd.