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Feb 11, 2010 11:39 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Murder mystery to come to Westhampton Beach

Feb 11, 2010 11:39 AM

All Martha Thompson wanted was a fun party. But her 80th birthday celebration will be intertwined with murder, mystery and a three-course dinner at Finn’s in Westhampton Beach.

Cloverleaf Productions will bring “A Family To Die For,” a murder mystery show, to the restaurant on Saturday, February 20. During the meal, 60 guests will be a part of the three-hour play and will help solve the murder mystery. At the end of the show, a cash prize will be given out to the best detective, said Sandra Lee Clark, the executive producer of Cloverleaf Productions.

Ms. Clark has been producing murder mystery nights through her Centereach-based business for about four years, and changes the show every few months. The production at Finn’s, which will be the first time Cloverleaf Productions puts on a show this far east on Long Island, is about Ms. Thompson, a Long Island matriarch, and her doomed birthday celebration. “All Martha wanted was a fun party, with her family and friends, and they were dying for her to have it,” Ms. Clark explained, tongue firmly in cheek.

Michael Mancuso, the owner of Finn’s, said he had been looking for some kind of event to bring to Westhampton Beach during the cold winter months. While his restaurant has hosted various different types of fund-raisers, this will be the first interactive play there. Mr. Mancuso decided to use Cloverleaf Productions after he heard how much fun it was to be an audience member. A fan of the sleuthing board game Clue, he added that he has always wanted to participate in a real-life “whodunit” game.

“I figured if I had one at my own place I’d have to go,” he said. “I thought it would be fun for Westhampton Beach.”

“A Family To Die For” will give people the chance to enjoy a meal and be entertained at the same time, Mr. Mancuso said, and he really liked that idea. If people were going out to dinner and then running to catch a show, they would be constantly looking at the clock and rushing through their meal. But since the show will be at the restaurant, people can kick back and relax instead.

“It’s like going to dinner and a show at the same time,” Mr. Mancuso said.

Up to 60 amateur detectives can attend “A Family to Die For” at Finn’s and, so far, many people have expressed interest, Mr. Mancuso said.

That is not unusual. When the Main Street Café in Patchogue hosts a Cloverleaf Productions murder mystery night, the event is always packed, according to Jasper DeSimone, the owner of the restaurant. The restaurant has hosted four or five productions and all except one sold out. There was bad weather during the murder mystery night that didn’t sell out, which prompted some of the would-be sleuths to cancel reservations, he said.

”It’s very funny to have the audience figure out who the murderer is,” Mr. DeSimone said. “It’s really good.”

During the show at Finn’s, the audience will be invited to participate in Ms. Thompson’s 80th birthday party. The list of guests, or in this case, actors, includes a business owner, an actress, a socialite and her husband, and Ms. Thompson, who “may speak softly, but she carries an iron cane,” according to a flier describing the show. The production company provides the crime, clues and the actors, who will call on some audience members for lines, Ms. Clark said.

The show will be interwoven with a three-course dinner. The audience members will fill out cards with their guess of who the murderer is and at the end of the night, the mystery will be solved and the prize will be awarded, Ms. Clark said. “People are going to get a good, family friendly show,” she said.

“A Family To Die For” will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, February 20, at Finn’s, at 101 Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton Beach. The dinner and show price is $60 per person, and martini and wine specials will be available. Reservations are required and groups are welcome; call 998-3271 for more information or to make a reservation.

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It's funny but the cast seems to look a lot like the WHB Village Trustees. Now that would be some show.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Feb 22, 10 12:03 AM