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The Smithfield Times

Halloween-themed murder mystery dinner comes to Smithfield

By Stephen Faleski,


Smithfield’s murder mystery dinner theater troupe, All Y’all Players, is back with a new show just in time for Halloween.

The all-volunteer group will perform “A Hair-Raising Halloween Happening,” tonight and Sept. 30 at The Smithfield Inn, with each show starting at 7 p.m. The group will reprise the performance Oct. 6 and 7 at the Gatling Pointe Yacht Club.

The play by Lesley Gunn features a cast of undead characters. Victor the vampire, Patti the poltergeist, Winnie the 17th century witch, Zoe the zombie, Malcolm the mummy, Gillian the ghost, William the werewolf and Bella, a bride of Frankenstein, are going to a Halloween party when one of the dearly departed somehow dies again.

The audience will be tasked with helping a detective solve the apparent murder. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume.

Founders Kathy Strozak, GiGi Smith and John Gillis, all veterans of the Smithfield Little Theatre, founded All Y’all Players as a separate entity after meeting through various SLT productions.

The group’s first production, “Cafe Murder,” made its debut in 2018 featuring members of a cast Gillis had directed in 2010 for a church production of the show.

Every year since, except for 2020, All Y’all Players has returned with a new production.

New to the cast this year are Kristen Hartman as “Patti,” Karen Willard as “Bella,” and Rachel Popp as “Winnie.”

The group donates the money from the sale of tickets for each performance to a different cause. This year, they’ve chosen the Windsor Gymnastics XCEL Team for the Smithfield Inn production and Mill Swamp Indian Horses, a Smithfield-based Corolla mustang breed conservation program, for the Gatling Pointe show.

Mill Swamp also operates a human-focused program for victims of trauma and their caregivers.

Strozak, the show’s producer, has previously produced “Spamalot,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Dining Room” for SLT.

Smith, the show’s director, has directed productions in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Independence, Missouri, Smithfield, Norfolk and internationally.

Tickets to the Smithfield Inn production are $75 and available for purchase online at Tickets to the Gatling Pointe Yacht Club productions can be purchased by calling the club at 757-357-0693.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sept. 30 at 1:45 p.m. to correct the name of the actor portraying Victor.

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