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'Hulas and Homicide' Murder-Mystery Dinner May 19 in Marble Falls

'Hulas and Homicide: A Hawaiian Luau Murder Mystery and Dinner Theater' is 5:30-8 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at First United Methodist Church of Marble Falls.

MARBLE FALLS — Mystery lovers and amateur detectives are needed on the Hawaiian beach of Kikiwai to solve a murder.

But you only have to drive a short distance to First United Methodist Church, 1101 Bluebonnet Drive.

“Hulas and Homicide: A Hawaiian Luau Murder Mystery and Dinner Theater” is 5:30-8 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the church. Attendees are asked to arrive at 5 p.m. to meet the actors, take mental notes, and begin the process of solving this whodunit.

Cost is $30 per person or $50 a couple. Tickets to the event, which benefits Bluebonnet Methodist Preschool, can be purchased at preschool or church offices.

The mystery centers on the death of Winnie Waheli, known as the "Hula Honcho." Twenty years ago, she was regarded as the most accomplished dancer in Hawaii, but a demanding move ended her career. As a result, she organized and orchestrated an annual hula contest for the Kikiwai Queen Hotel. Waheli relished every moment in the spotlight. During the contest, she went to great lengths to ensure no one shined brighter than herself. Perhaps that explains why her lifeless body was found on the very beach where she made her fame and fortune. Insiders say Waheli’s overbearing tactics contributed to her death.

To bring the murderer to justice, Kikiwai (and Bluebonnet Methodist Preschool) needs plenty of expert sleuths.

Terri Powell, director of the school, said she, children’s director Sara Hurston, and church member Crystal Delia knew they wanted to do a murder-mystery dinner and began searching for one that was challenging, engaging, and fun. “Hulas and Homicide” fit the bill.

“We wanted to do something different,” she said. “We thought a murder-mystery would be good.

What makes this mystery even more interesting is that not even the actors know who committed the crime. They will find out as they act out each scene, Powell said.

“We gave them their part. We made copies from the book,” she said. “They know what to expect, but we thought they’d act better not knowing who did it.”

The 10-member cast includes Kate Bravo, Cynthia Mancias, Kris Kaspar, Tim Winslett, Debra Jette, Darby Hambrick, Mary Ann Gardner, Bill Rives, Mark Webb, and Roger Stafford with understudy Wade Hibler.

Powell noted the preschool has experienced growth, so officials have decided to add another classroom. Money raised from the dinner theater will go toward that project along with other facility needs such as equipment. It also will help qualifying families with tuition.

“Our board approved (the mystery-dinner theater), it’s our first. We’ll give it a shot and see how it works out,” she said. “If it does well, we’ll make it an annual event.”

Call the church office at (830) 693-4341 or the preschool at (830) 693-4925 for more information.

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