By LOIS KINDLE
The Pelican Players of Sun City Center will kick off its annual Murder Mystery Theater series with a brand new play, written by Sun City Center resident James Williams.
It’s a farce called Murder at Flontrachet Vineyard set in France’s lush and picturesque wine country. Its rolling hills are blanketed in varied shades of green, brown and deep purple vineyards.
The plot involves six friends on vacation whose paths converge at the Dijon train station, where they board a late morning train to visit the vineyard estate of socialite Fiona Flautrachet and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend of “wining, dining and living large,” Williams said.
None of the travelers know their “holiday will soon end with one of them heading back to Dijon in handcuffs,” he said, after Fiona is discovered dead the morning after their arrival. An inspector arrives to investigate and crack the case with input from audience members.
“At one point, they get an opportunity to ask questions and vote on who they think the murderer is,” Williams said. “Everyone who’s right gets their name in a basket to win a door prize from the (hosting party).”
It should be a blast.
“People haven’t been able to travel much lately due to the pandemic,” said actor Carol McAllister. “But this show, set in France, can suggest a travel experience, as well as give the audience a chance to laugh, while they try to figure out who committed the crime.”
The public is invited to watch this delightful comedy, which revolves around a meal’s three servings, at 5 p.m. Jan. 20 at Fiore’s Restaurant, 3808 Sun City Center Blvd., Ruskin, or 5 p.m. March 25 at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1239 W Del Webb Blvd, Sun City Center.
Fiore’s will be serving a choice of either chicken parmesan or meatloaf and accompaniments, a small salad, dessert and beverages for $35, including tax and gratuity. Bar drinks are extra.
The doors open at 4:30 p.m. Guests must RSVP, choose their entree and pay in advance by calling 813-633-3344.
The St. Andrew’s dinner is lasagna with all the trimmings for $20. Tickets are available at the church office, Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The for-hire Pelican Players community theater group is also performing in two private, neighborhood events Jan. 15 and Feb. 17. Any HOA or COA interested in hosting one should visit https://www.pelicanplayersscc.org/.
Murder at Flontrachet Vineyard will be broadcast at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 on Sun Radio 96.3 FM. The play was recorded by Keith and Carlyn Postle and engineered by Bob Dealmeida.
The Pelican Players is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 1981. Five dollars from every purchase will go into the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay Pelican Players Scholarship Fund to provide educational funding for graduating Hillsborough County students pursuing careers in the arts.
Actors, stagehands and folks willing to help with set design or costuming are always needed. Experience is not required, and all area residents are invited to join.
Donna Fiore, French mime/narrator
Carol McAllister, the inspector
Marianne Moseley, suspect Rosa Rosebud
Guy Bailey, Howie Pasteur, great-great-great-great grandson of Louis Pasteur
Judy Rodman, British woman Ivy Inverness
Barbara Boyle, suspect Blu Blu Bella
Wendy Smith, suspect Paris Pink
Dan Tackitt, gigolo Citron L’Orange
James Williams, playwright and director
Kevin Steinke, co-director