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Fort Salem offers 'Breakfast' of murderers

Thursday, August 28, 2008 10:11 AM EDT

Not many theater productions can successfully combine music, murder and breakfast.

But Fort Salem Theater isn’t very typical.

With "Breakfast Epiphanies," the theater brings an original murder mystery with music to its Washington County venue. The play runs Friday through Monday.

Written by local playwright Al Budde, the production includes musical numbers by Jay Kerr, the Fort’s artistic director.

Kerr had seen a production of Budde’s last show, "FOR SALEM," and thought music would have enhanced the experience. When Budde approached Kerr with a new script, Kerr suggested adding songs.

"We feel our expertise is in producing musicals," Kerr said.

Kerr worked with Budde on reworking the script.

"We condensed some scenes. We took the essence of some scenes," Kerr explained. "The opening covers six pages in the script. It’s a song that sets out who everyone is and why they are there."

Set in a small town diner, the play follows the local police detective’s efforts to solve the murder of the restaurant’s owner, which takes place during an electrical storm blackout.

The cast includes Quentin Beaver, Pat Reilly, Jessica O’Keefe, Ted DeBonis, Jennifer Borntraeger, John Hubbard, Dan Garfinkel, Tom Kerr and Jamie McMahon. Tim Nelson, who directed the theater’s production of "Gypsy" two summers ago, directs the quirky whodunit.

"It’s a neat cast which includes all different levels – from community members to professionals," Kerr said.

Although the show isn’t exactly community theater, Kerr said the venue feels like home to many local residents.

"One of my favorite aspects of the show is how it brings new people and old people to the theater. We’ve owned it for a year and a half, but it is continuing its history. It has nurtured the entire community," Kerr said.

Fort Salem Theater
© 2007