Murder Mystery Party: UK students on the case


Morgan Loy, Reporter

The Student Activities Board (SAB) hosted a Murder Mystery Party on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The event took place in the Gatton Student Center ballroom and offered students a free show and dinner.

The event was proposed and approved last spring. Allyson Carson, president of SAB, described the event as similar to a live-action Clue where students would have the opportunity to solve a mystery. Carson said SAB had never seen the performance before and was eager to see what would happen.

Three actors, Micheal Gettinger, Traci Taylor and Jon Dorney, performed the entire event. The trained actors work for The Murder Mystery Co., a company of performers who provide these immersive murder mystery shows.

Each of the three actors played a different role, wore costumes and spoke in accents. Gettinger played Sal Fee, the “billionaires’ club” president, Taylor played Luna Tick the maid and Dorney was Juan Tidman, the butler.

“There are about a dozen different mysteries that can be put on and we go and put them on wherever,” Dorney said. “People’s living rooms, huge auditoriums: anywhere from 400 people down to a dozen.”

The actors stayed in character as they greeted students entering the ballroom, advising them to choose their tables and teammates wisely. The event had around 60 spots for students, and the majority of available seats were filled by the time the program began.

Students began by eating dinner and expressed that they were excited to participate in the murder mystery and curious about what it would entail. Many had never attended a Murder Mystery Party and were grateful for the free meal attached to the event.

“It’s something to do with my friends, get us out,” UK freshman Kennedy Alexander said.

Some students also explained that they appreciated the timing of the event. They described the event as an entertaining way to celebrate the upcoming holiday.

“It’s getting near Halloween and stuff, and I was just thinking we could do a fun Halloween event,” freshman Cameron Holmes said.

As the students settled, the actors walked around differing tables to talk with students. They chose one student from almost every table to play a suspect in the mystery. The actors gave them props and binders with information about their characters.

Each suspect had unusual names, such as Ella Vadar, Reginald Sawbucks and Dr. Feelgood. Actors encouraged students to be active participants and made efforts to keep engagement high.

A game of “Rich, Marry, Kill” started the performance, leading students to believe they would solve the murder of the audience member chosen to be “killed.” However, the sudden death of Sal Fee surprised students as the plot of the performance.

Students were able to move around the room to bribe suspects with fake money and question them. These periods were called “investigation times” and divided the event into separate parts. Those chosen as suspects revealed clues from their binders so tables could gather information to accuse who they believed the murderer to be.

Attendees voted on who they believed the murderer was at their tables as a group. The actors handed out an award for the “dead-last losers” before announcing the winning table. The event awarded UK junior Seth Thompson a “voted to death” certificate after being selected to die in a game of “rich, marry, kill.” Thompson’s table later accepted the “dead-last losers” award. 

The winners cheered when their victory was announced and posed for a picture with the actors.

One winner, senior Kayla Gales, said she enjoyed that the event offered her a break from studying for exams.

Senior and winner Bailey Smith said she was excited and proud about her table winning.

“I feel like it was a great way to get into the Halloween spirit,” she said.