Ryan McFarland of St. John, a 2006 graduate of Lake Central High School, contacted me with news he's launching a new mystery dinner theater string of shows this week.
It was last March when he produced his first run of this concept, returning to Northwest Indiana to stage "Murder at the Conga Club" hosted in the banquet room at Teibel's in Schererville.
He unveiled a second dinner show for the summer that ran in July and August at Gino's Steakhouse in Dyer called "Murder at the Blind Pig," which he also wrote, produced and directed.
His new dinner theater show opening this week is "The Cellar," and runs Oct. 10, 11 and 12 and continues Oct. 17, 18 and 19 and completes the run Oct. 24, 25 and 26, all at The Patrician Banquet Center in Schererville. The doors open every night at 6:15 p.m.
"My company McFarland's Murder Mystery is now a full on production company," McFarland told me.
"I'm putting the show on at the Patrician so I can literally build a theater in the banquet hall and leave it up throughout the entire production. Over the last six months I have acquired spotlights, wash lights, 12 LED strips, four LED panels, a UV LED panel, the biggest fog machine I could find, lighting rigs, a DMX lighting controller, a PA system with six large speakers, lavaliere microphones for all the actors and even 60 feet of black velvet curtain, not to mention the two storage units full of wardrobe, set, and props."
Since I've not seen this dinner show, McFarland shared a tease with some details.
"The show itself is set as a paranormal investigation into the evil presence which haunts the ground the Patrician is built on, complete with psychic readings and demonic possessions," he said.
"The show includes a gourmet three-course meal, as well as a couples costume contest with up to a $1,000 cash prize for first place, with second and third place getting their ticket prices refunded. We have a phenomenal live band playing Halloween hits such as 'Monster Mash,' 'Thriller' and others and a dance floor set for intermission entertainment."
McFarland said he is offering a special discount for show tickets this week for those who mention today's column. So with the 25 percent discount for this opening weekend Oct. 10, 11 and 12, tickets are discounted to $59.75 for the show and three-course Chicken Alfredo meal, or $66.75 for the show and three-course Prime Rib Meal. All reservations/ticket sales to receive the opening weekend limited discount, must be made by noon on Thursday (10/10) by visiting TheCellarInvestigation.com or call (855) 687-3375.
A portion of ticket sales also benefits NoStigmas, a non-profit organization for suicide awareness and prevention at NoStigmas.com and McFarland is dedicating this new show to the memory of his late friend Benjamin Schwartzman, of Schererville, who passed away Oct. 15, 2007.