Post Mortem: BURY ME IN PARIS

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“Madame Mustache” by Marcela Everitt

Welcome to Post Mortem!  This is where Master Mystery Productions looks back on the performance of its most recent show.

Spring 2017 took us to Paris 1924, to the Left Bank of the Seine in the neighborhood of Montparnasse.  In that bohemian wonderland, art, artists, muses, and much more flourished, fed by the City of Lights.  Master Mystery Productions held four shows of our twelfth interactive mystery set in this painter’s paradise.  In a beautiful enchanted garden lit by soft lights, the walls lined with gorgeous paintings, hot “Paris” tea, and delicate desserts and wine by the glass served to the guests, Bury Me in Paris became one of our most luxurious and visually stunning shows in our history.

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Mingling with the crowd.

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Our third show at My Enchanted Cottage had big shoes to fill after the big successes of Goodbye Hollywood in 2015 and The Last Garden Party in 2016.  It featured our largest cast, one of our most demanding schedules, and our largest costume wardrobe yet with over eighty (!) individual costume pieces–everything from hats, shoes, and a treasure trove of accessories.  This was a challenging production to stage, but our cast and crew worked harder than ever to create a magical experience.  After all, the show must go on.

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The cast of Bury Me in Paris

And magical it was.  After three crazy months of rehearsal and preparation, Bury Me in Paris opened the secret world of bohemian artists to audiences on Saturday, March 25, 2017.  Soft lighting that emphasized the art surrounding the audience, the smooth sounds of a saxophone floating through the air, the scent of blooming flowers, the delectable taste of delicate desserts and tea provided by My Enchanted Cottage, and the luxurious feel of the entire experience…Bury Me in Paris engaged all the senses.  By intermission, people were telling us they adored the show.

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Benji Bradley (played by Darren Hoyt) plays the sax.

By the end of the show, they were under our spell.  Bury Me in Paris was a rousing success.  Audiences loved the ambience, the characters, the story, and the game.  The cast put their hearts and souls into their performances.  Laughter rang out, oohs and ahhs spread through the crowd, whispered suspicions and theories shared at the tables.  And our ending never failed to surprise.  It was a grand time.  On opening night, Stallings received a standing ovation for his writing.

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Reviews

Our reviews were rave.  Bury Me in Paris was hailed as a “masterpiece” and “a stylish, magical treat.”  Our exacting attention to detail–everything from the food to the souvenir programs–was highly praised.  One frequent reviewer of Master Mystery Productions proclaimed the show as her favorite so far.

Read the review and see an exclusive gallery of photos from opening night here.

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Across four nights, guests got to untangle the suspicious web of deceit and danger woven between our characters at Montparnasse.  Who could be threatening the life of Chantal, the infamous Madame Mustache who has set the artistic world (and the teeth of her “enemies”) on edge with her calamitous beauty and controversial antics.  When one of the bohemians is found dead next to a plate of poisoned profiteroles addressed to Chantal, it becomes fatally clear that deadly intentions haunt this creative Eden.  Because, as Chantal says, “[l]ife is dangerous.  Even in the Garden of Eden.”

Luxurious, intense, glamorous, dangerous, and tempting, Bury Me in Paris kept everyone on their toes.

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Heather McGaha as Chantal (April 8)

On April 8, closing night of the show, a newcomer ventured into the salons of Paris.  Heather McGaha stepped into the fray as Madame Mustache herself to take over for Lena Pokol.  McGaha brought her icier version of Chantal to the Enchanted Garden.  Our reception for our last show was tremendous and wonderful.  The applause was loud and proud, and they even toasted our fallen bohemian at her funeral.  After the solution was revealed, just barely after our actress made her final exit, we overheard an audience member say “Well, that was pretty awesome.”  We agree.  It was a beautiful night to end such a gorgeous show.

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The closing night cast of Bury Me in Paris

Four champions emerged from the lights of Paris as the best detectives.  We’d like to thank every single guest for attending our show and hope we’ve added wonderful memories to your lives as you have added to ours.  Merci beaucoup!

Closing night is also awards night for Master Mystery Productions.  At the end of that show, we present our company’s awards to amazing cast and crew members who have gone the extra mile for the show.  First up…The Skeleton Key Award, presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to bring a Master Mystery Production to life.  Or should we say…individuals?  For the first time in our history, THREE winners, all equally deserving, were declared Skeleton Key winners!  Congratulations Katie Cozine, Darren Hoyt, and Heather McGaha!

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The Skeleton Key Award for Service Above and Beyond for Bury Me in Paris
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Congratulations Heather!
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Congratulations Darren!
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Congratulations Katie!

But there were more winners that night!  Master Mystery Productions is proud to introduce the Diamond Mask Award for Excellence in Performance.  The Diamond Mask Award  is awarded by audiences to the actors they believe had the strongest performances during a show.  Audiences vote on their favorite performances, and the winners are announced on closing night.  Actors can win the Diamond Mask multiple times, and it is a recognition of their hard work and dedication to their roles in a show.  Through all four nights of Bury Me in Paris, guests voted for their two favorite actors.  But our cast was so fabulous that, when we tallied the audience votes, THREE champions (A running theme, perhaps?) were crowned that night.  Congratulations Cat Kusznir, Katie Cozine, and Monica Lorenz for your award-winning performances!

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The Diamond Mask Award for Excellence in Performance
Cat
Cat Kusznir’s brave, saucy, and heartfelt take on “Massimo” D’Amato was an instant crowd favorite. She never failed to get them to raise their glasses in a toast.  Bravo!
Katie
Katie Cozine’s flippant and feisty Flora Westcott charmed audiences with her lively emotional range and passionate delivery.  And her acceptance speech brought a smile (and giggle) to everyone.  Congratulations!
Monica
The sneaky. shadowy, and snarky Wilhelmina Blake was played to perfection by Monica Lorenz, who never forgot to give her depth and pathos.  Brilliant work!

Bury Me in Paris had been a magical show, a murder mystery so lavish and glamorous, so cunning and clever, and so stylishly and stupendously performed.  We give our deepest and most sincere thanks to everyone who had a hand in bringing this complex show to life.  C’est magnifique!  It is with a quiet sense of dignity and sorrow that we must say…

Au Revoir

We now turn to the future.  What is next for Master Mystery Productions?  A century ago, Dame Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime Fiction, set her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, on his first case involving a mysterious affair at Styles Court.  One hundred years later, Master Mystery Productions, in conjunction with Ridge Writers, plans to celebrate the great dame’s outstanding tour de force debut novel in…

ODE TO AGATHA

We hope to see you there!

–Master Mystery Productions

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