Murder and a Meal

Written By: 
Paul Grimshaw

Detective Jerry Winsett guides his cast and audience through a series of whodunits at the House of Blues.

For the past 13 years the House of Blues has hosted its popular Murder Mystery Dinners in the upstairs private banquet room where guests, up to 120, become part of the interactive, semi-improvisational dinner theater experience. In June the theatrical company, under the leadership of Jerry Winsett, added Wedding Bells for a Southern Belle, an all-new, original comical interpretation of North meets South at a wedding where a Romeo & Juliet couple defend themselves and their families from the other side’s prickly barbs. Will true love conquer as The Jersey Shore meets Myrtle Beach? Maybe, maybe not.

While Wedding Bells, presented on Tuesday and Thursday evenings through the end of the summer, is a new production, the Murder Mystery Dinner is a tried-and-true staple presented every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening. Lead by Detective Jerry Winsett, an actor with a resume that includes character parts on the big and small screen and national television commercials, the audience is witness to the aftermath of three off-stage murders in three courses. The murderer is often a guest sitting innocently at a table, only to be revealed after dessert. Guests are encouraged to discuss clues and write down the “whodunit” and why. Bragging rights are doled out at the evening’s conclusion for the best and worst guesses.

Besides Winsett and longtime hostess Donna Paul, the company’s additional cast members come and go. The production currently also features Josh Moro and Matt McCarty.

The scenarios, which change monthly, are a collaborative creative effort between Winsett and his company and were originally inspired by Keith & Margo’s Murder Mystery Weekend in L.A., a company where Winsett started his career in murder decades earlier.

The PG-13-rated Murder Mystery Dinner is not Shakespeare nor high art, but it is fun. There are no elaborate costumes or sets and just a small handful of actors with a dozen lines each. The food is quite good and a full bar offers libations. In the tradition of interactive theater, your table and how “fun” your group is will determine how much fun may be had at any given performance, though the cast works hard to keep the evening entertaining.

House of Blues - Murder Mystery Dinners

Family-style seating at tables of 8–10. Dinner, ticket, tax and gratuity: $45–$49. For more information, call (843) 272-3000.

Resources: 

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY of HOUSE OF BLUES