New dinner theater debuts this weekend in Bigfork

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  • SAM SPLADE, played by Tom Hicks, and Kitty Katz, played by Allison McCarthy in “Murder at Rundown Abbey.” (Photo courtesy of Tom Hicks)

  • 1

    REGGIE SNODLEY-SNIPPETT, played by Jacob Kimmel, and Annie Pennywise, played by Olivia Carett, in “Murder at Rundown Abbey. (Photo courtesy of Tom Hicks)

  • SAM SPLADE, played by Tom Hicks, and Kitty Katz, played by Allison McCarthy in “Murder at Rundown Abbey.” (Photo courtesy of Tom Hicks)

  • 1

    REGGIE SNODLEY-SNIPPETT, played by Jacob Kimmel, and Annie Pennywise, played by Olivia Carett, in “Murder at Rundown Abbey. (Photo courtesy of Tom Hicks)

An all-new dinner theater troupe begins its first season at Bigfork’s Swan River Inn this Saturday night.

The group, Flathead Dinner Theatre Repertory, will be performing “Murder at Rundown Abbey” in front of up to 50 people, all of whom will be enjoying a four-course dinner during the show.

Donna England started the group after moving to Bigfork in October and seeing the limitations a dearth of theater spaces put on local actors. She decided to do her part to remedy the problem by borrowing a performance concept she said was thriving elsewhere.

“Back East where I come from, (dinner theater) is huge,” England, who is also directing the show, said. “People like coming in for a meal and having that fifth wall broken down; the actors and actresses will come right up to your table and play with the audience.”

The experience is more interactive than just performers coming up to the guests, too. England send guests are encouraged to dress in clothing from the 1920s and 30s — the era in which the production is set — ladies will get corsages when they arrive. Footmen and chambermaids in full dress will also be available to serve guests during the show.

“And the play is hilarious,” England added. “The audience is going to have a lot of fun with it.”

England become involved with the Bigfork Community Players last fall and is running the dinner theater as a nonprofit fundraiser for both the Bigfork theater group and the Port Polson Players.

The cast is made up of actors from around the Flathead Valley, including some who have participated with both the Polson and Bigfork Players. England has been impressed with the caliber of actor the show was able to attract.

“I am very blessed to have the talent that I have in this cast,” England said. “All of my actors have quite extensive experience in theater, (dinner theater) is something new to them but something they have adapted to very well.”

Cast and crew include Bryan Zipp, Stephanie Brost, Tom Hicks, Barbara Gordon, Olivia Carett, Shannon Bagley, Jayden Almon, Scott Roskam, Susie McNatt, Allison McCarthy, Brandon Hoy, Logan Williams, Eric Myers, Asher Dalbey, Stephanie Venrick, Jacob Kimmel, Isabeau Roetigg and Jennifer Roetigg.

Tickets are $54.60 if purchased in advance and $60 at the door. The price includes the show and meal. Performance dates are July 1, 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 and Aug. 5 with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. and the show at 7. Tickets can be purchased by calling 406-217-6324 or by emailing flatheaddtr@gmail.com.

The Swan River Inn is located at 360 Grand Drive in Bigfork. Visit www.swanriverinn.com for more information.

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