Mystery Dinner Theater to raise funds for New Pathways

Enjoy a Mystery Dinner Theater while supporting a program that helps the homeless.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, ABC Theatre Company will present “Murder Unscripted,” a comical ‘who dunnit’ at Spectacular Events Banquet Center in Isanti. The evening will also include dinner and a silent auction.

Proceeds from the event will benefit New Pathways. The non-profit organization based in Cambridge, serves homeless families with children by providing private sleeping accommodations, three meals a day, case management, skills training and a safe environment. It serves families with children from Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, Pine and Mille Lacs counties.

Tickets for the dinner and show are $30 and must be purchased by Feb. 17. If a person or business purchases seven tickets, they will receive an eighth ticket for free (eight people will be seated per table).  The evening begins with social hour at 6:30 p.m. with dinner beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner choices include chicken kiev or chef carved baron of beef with beef au jus.

“The murder mystery will be a fun who dunnit, and this event is a great opportunity to take your sweetheart, friends or co-workers out for a nice meal and evening,” said Barbara Bergwall, fund development coordinator for New Pathways. “We started planning for this event right after New Pathways wrapped up Box City in October. All the proceeds will go to support New Pathways and its programs. We really need this event to help raise funds due to some cutbacks we’ve received from local governments.”

Bergwall explained “Murder Unscripted” is a parody of the reality television show, “The Apprentice,” hosted by Donald Trump.

An introduction to the play is as follows:

“Real employees. A real company. And a real exciting reality show. American Executive is the latest unscripted sensation to hit the small screen. Television executives have invaded a publishing business, and for two months, every move the employees make is captured on film.

“And the end of each week, America votes for the employees they love to hate. The employees with the most votes is sent to the board room where CEO Ronald Crump decides his or her fate.

“Tonight is another results show. Nerves are raw as host Brian Freequest reads this week’s results. But before anyone gets fire, Ronald Crump keels over. It’s a homicide.”

About New Pathways

Bergwall explained the idea for a murder mystery dinner fundraising event came from New Pathways co-founder Marge Burns, mother of New Pathways Executive Director Cheryl Gray.

“Marge [Burns] really enjoys going to dinner theaters and murder mystery theaters,” Bergwall said. “This really was her idea and we’re excited for this evening.”

Bergwall explained the Cambridge site Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) partners with 24 area churches to provide sleeping arrangements and meals for homeless families.

The IHN allows for six families, or a maximum of 24 people, to stay at a partner church. The churches take turns throughout the year to host the families for one week at a time.

The average family size in the IHN is three people, with 58 days being the average length of stay. Bergwall explained 95 percent of the families who leave the IHN move into permanent housing.

Approximately 26 percent of the families in the IHN are from Isanti and Chisago counties, 23 percent from Pine, 20 percent from Mille Lacs, and five percent from Kanabec.

“Our program is full all the time and we are constantly turning families away,” Bergwall said. “We really need the community to support us and our programs. There is such a need for this program in the community. We have people knocking on our door every day. Once a family leaves, the spot is immediately filled.”

Bergwall encourages everyone to attend the event.

“This murder mystery dinner theater will cure cabin fever,” Bergwall said. “This will be a very fun event and an inexpensive night out.”

Bergwall explained silent auction items include a wide variety of items such as gift certificates to Orchestra Hall, a day at the lake at a private residence, a beautiful quilt and more. Silent auction items are still being accepted, and if interested, contact New Pathways for more information.

Thrivent Financial North Central Community is a partial sponsor of the event.

Tickets can be purchased in person at New Pathways, located at 310 Ashland St. S. in Cambridge or at Spectacular Events Banquet Center in Isanti, located one and one-half miles east of Hwy. 65 on Co. Rd. 5.

Checks can be made payable to New Pathways and mailed to the office as well; however, be sure to include your dinner choices with your ticket order. Tickets can also be ordered by calling Camille Tollefson at 763-691-0121 Ext. 3.