Frank Sinatra, Johnny Depp, Mark Wahlberg and Elton John sat around a table chatting away while other tables hosted their own celebrities. The venue was the wedding of Hailey Holland and Justin Bieber, where a shriek was heard moments later, and Hailey Holland was found murdered.
Northwest students were presented with the task of uncovering who murdered Holland at the Murder Mystery with Lead Green April 10 in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom.
The show started with each attendee being assigned a celebrity, including fictional celebrities such as Batman and Count Chocula.
Freshman marketing major Joshua Meyer thought being assigned celebrities, including fictional celebrities, added a nice charm to the show.
“I thought it was good they used more than just actual celebrities,” Meyer said. “I liked the option of being Count Chocula.”
The Hollywood Murder Mystery Improvisation group traveled from Los Angeles, California, to help lead the fake celebrities through the mystery, playing detectives.
Robert Rico, a member of the group, explained what Hollywood Murder Mystery is.
“Hollywood Murder Mystery is a third show from the [Mission IMPROVable] Tour Co.,” Rico said. “We do several shows we’re cross-trained in. Mission IMPROVable is our flagship show, which is owned by Lloyd Ahlquist, better known as Epiclloyd from Epic Rap Battles of History.”
Thomas Toles, another member of the group, explained each of the four performers joined the show to get more involved in the improv World.
“We’re all improvisers, so we got involved in this to do improv shows together, and this is one of the variations,” Toles said. “All of us auditioned in LA, which is where the home theatre, The Westside Comedy Theatre, is based out of. We auditioned for that, we joined the full-time tour company, and then we got involved from there.”
Throughout the night, the actors engaged with the audience in multiple activities.
The first activity consisted of students taking turns naming objects that could be used in a murder. Each actor then took turns coming up with puns on the fly explaining how the named objects could’ve been used to murder the victim.
Following the abundance of puns, the actors asked several students to take turns pointing fingers at one another, providing accusations for who they thought committed the murder.
Four students were then selected, accused as members of a notorious Hollywood mafia, and tasked with answering any and all questions from students. However, they had to take turns speaking in a set order, each only able to say one word at a time.
They answered questions ranging from how babies were made to what clothes they were wearing.
The audience was also tasked with convincing one of the FBI agents he stole a free balloon from the world’s smallest Walmart store, helping a detective dance away snake venom and finally coming up with a guess as to who committed the murder and why concluding the show.
Meyer thought the performance was enjoyable overall and plans on coming again if the show returns next year.
“I really enjoyed it. I thought it was creative and fun,” Meyer said. “I would definitely (come again).”
Regardless of whether Northwest hosts the show again in the future, theater students can feel free to contact the Hollywood Murder Mystery members for questions, advice or even acting opportunities.
“If anyone is in a theater program, an acting program [or] anything kind of creative, if they ever have any questions about improv, we all have our ears open and they can contact us,” Rico said. “We had a student who watched a Mission IMPROVable show, and he auditioned two years later, and he toured the country with us.”
Thanks to the work of the audience, the case was closed, Taylor Swift was found guilty, and everyone walked away laughing.