Hays Community Theatre is dishing up a spring fundraiser that promises to be part comedy, part mystery and completely delicious.
A murder mystery presentation, “Just Desserts,” will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday at the theater’s new headquarters, 121 E. Eighth. Tickets are $10 and available online at hctks.com. The production will premiere Friday evening, but that show already is sold out.
A variety of desserts and iced tea will be served during the play, which is set at a charity bake-off contest. A wine and beer bar also will be available for a free-will donation.
The show centers around the unexpected death of bake-off judge Reginald P. Cogsworth, “a really grumpy human being,” said director Cheryl Glassman. The three finalists in the baking contest quickly become the main suspects, and it’s up to the fifth character — an event planner — and the watching audience to solve the crime.
“It’s been kind of an enlightening experience, especially for our actors, because they’re all playing these really eclectic individuals,” Glassman said, noting the show is primarily comedic. “It’s fun to watch the actors create these characters who are pretty much not anything like these people in real life.”
The play will last approximately an hour and be preceded by a variety show featuring local talent performing Broadway numbers and impersonating iconic vocalists such as Marilyn Monroe and John Denver.
The event also will debut Hays Community Theatre’s new downtown location, the former Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge. The non-profit organization had been working since last year to remodel the space to fit its production needs, and proceeds from “Just Desserts” will benefit their efforts.
Improvements are continuing at the new location. Even through a dress rehearsal Tuesday evening, board members and volunteers continued to paint and finish detail work — even working by flashlights when lights were turned off as part of the play.
Among them was board member Sharona Fondoble, Hays, who said the new location will open up opportunities for the community theater to expand its offerings. It provides a large, open room for productions, a full kitchen to use for dinner shows and more daytime access for workshops and rehearsals, she said.
“It will give more opportunity to do things any time that we want to, so that’s good,” Fondoble said, noting new volunteers are always welcome to help with building improvements, acting or show production.
The building was purchased by the group last fall.
“Many hours of volunteer labor and love have gone into creating this space, which will be used for future events,” Glassman said. “It’s really interesting. When I was a kid, I used to go into the Eagles Lodge with my mom. So when I walked in and saw what they had done, it was a really neat experience to see how it’s changed and how much work they’ve done to create a space like this.”