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New Century dinner theater: Killer cook on the loose in Oregon City

'Recipe for Murder' shows at Weatherford's, Renaissance
by: ERIC GRISWOLD Jeff Weir, center, is menaced by fellow actors, from left, Stephanie Kaestner, Jenna Quintana, Shan Backer, Ray Armstrong and Molly McDevitt.

In 'Recipe for Murder,' the latest dinner theater offering from New Century Players, six cooks compete to be 'Best Chef,' but only five make it out alive.

The play takes place during the finals of a cooking competition; the winner will get $100,000 and a feature in Wine and Dine magazine. The chefs are out for blood; the stakes are high and so are the levels of animosity.

'During the evening, hidden connections and guarded secrets for each chef and all three judges are revealed. The audience is left to sort through the clues and red herrings to discover who the killer is. By the end of the evening, all is revealed and justice is served,' said director Elisabeth Goebel.

Tickets to the play are $45, but as Goebel points out, 'it is a great deal. Where else could you see a show, have a three-course meal and find free parking for $45? And in your own community?'

The first five performances take place at Weatherford's Grand Lodge in Oregon City. Two more performances will take place at the Renaissance Ballroom in Oregon City, and that meal will be catered.

The annual dinner theater is very popular, Goebel said, because 'the audience is inside the mystery and takes an active part.'

Molly McDevitt plays Anne Chillada, one of the contestants who 'started out as a sous chef and began creating Mexican dishes exclusively when she became obsessed with a Televisa actor. She now thinks she is Latina.'

McDevitt enjoys this kind of acting experience, which is script-based, but also involves improvisation, because actors get to make decisions about their characters and create their own back stories.

She added, 'Also, since the audience interacts with the show, it is a different show every night. It is a unique audience experience since they are encouraged to participate and interact with the actors as part of the overall show, not just sit and watch.'

Fast Facts

Dates: April 1, 2, 8, 9 and 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Venue: Weatherford's Grand Lodge

602 7th St., Oregon City

Dates: April 29 and 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Venue: Renaissance Ballroom, 610 McLoughlin Blvd., Oregon City

Tickets: $45 (includes three-course dinner and show). Purchase tickets at newcenturyplayers.org or call 503-367-2620