‘Disco Inferno’: Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at StageCoach Theatre Company

My guest and I were treated royally by StageCoach Theatre Company’s Terry Smith and Jerri Wiseman when we drove from North Bethesda, MD to Leesburg, VA this past Saturday to see their newest Murder Mystery called Disco Inferno. We both had a wonderful time and appreciated the efforts of the hard-working cast and the terrific hospitality extended to us. Playwright/Director Terry Smith put the cast through a strenuous non-stop workout.

Lily Kerrigan, Amy Elizabeth Hines, Scott J Strasbaugh, Rodrigo Pool, Betsy Hansen, Terry Smith, Rebecca Lake, and Jerri Young Wiseman. Photo courtesy of StageCoach Theatre Company.
Lily Kerrigan, Amy Elizabeth Hines, Scott J Strasbaugh, Rodrigo Pool, Betsy Hansen, Terry Smith, Rebecca Lake, and Jerri Young Wiseman. Photo courtesy of StageCoach Theatre Company.

And the dinner/play took place in the historical landmark Oatlands, in a quaint and lovely room with round tables that provided in-your-face theatre (my favorite kind of theatre). In fact, we have decided to return to Oatlands mid-May to see the gorgeous gardens in full bloom.

OK-I have to admit that I still have my Leisure Suits in storage (I am waiting for them to come back in style) and I wore out my Bee Gees’ LP (remember those?) soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever and my Donna Summer LPs, becaise I loved Disco. So I was looking forward to trying to solve this Disco Inferno murder case and hearing some disco music favorites. And although it turned out that my first choice of murder/murderess possibilities was correct (a lucky guess!) the possibilities of who was guilty hung over the play until the very last second. And that’s what good Murder Mystery Theatre does.

The last thing I want to do is to give away the plot of this ‘mystery’ except to say that a fire has happened in this Disco and the audience members are the customers who were ‘singed to death’ by that fire, and have now gathered and returned to the charred disco to figure out who started the fire.

The show started out in darkness with some audience members becoming ‘keepers of the spotlight’ as we watched and listened carefully to the ‘clues’ as the backstory unfolded.

We were introduced to the strange and zany characters, including the off-the-wall and creepy Fay Grant, who had more faces than Eve or Sybil (played by the slurring and and wide-eyed LJ St. John), a large Afro-wearing Dee Jay, played by the hair-raising Rodrigo Pool, the gorgeous and emotional Goldie Fawn, played by the gorgeous and highly-emotional Lily Kerigan, and the mysterious and fiery Grave Pyro, played by the assertive Rebecca Lake.

Betsy Hansen as 'KY.' Photo courtesy of StageCoach Theatre Company.
Betsy Hansen as ‘KY.’ Photo courtesy of StageCoach Theatre Company.

Betsy Hansen was perfection as the obnoxious, loud, pain-in-the-ass stoner Kelly Youngblood. Frankly, I hated this character from the first time she opened her mouth and shrieked and glared at me with her glazed eyes. Hansen was so convincing that I wanted her to be the murderer so I could be right there when they executed her, and I would have gladly hit the switch to sizzle her in ‘the chair.’

Rebecca Lake and Scott J Strasbaugh. Photo courtesy of Stage Coach Theatre Company.
Rebecca Lake and Scott J Strasbaugh. Photo courtesy of Stage Coach Theatre Company.

Scott J. Strasburgh was terrific aas Rufus Stumblebeam and got to move around a lot and stand on chairs and act as detective/narrator at times. His character appeared to be the only really sane one in this bunch of loonies. But I may be wrong!

Line dropping or forgetting lines added to the outrageousness of this performance and contributed to some confusion and slow pace of setting up the story in Act I, before we broke for a dinner. To their credit this crew of actors improvised quickly. They were as cool as a cucumber.

A word about dinner: there were some nice appetizers before the first act, including a veggie-layered spread which I loved, and after Act I we devoured some very tender stuffed chicken breast, salad, and some small delicious desserts. We especially loved the key lime cheesecake and the terric lemonade and sweet tea they provided.

Now back to Act II. The show really heated up after the break and there were laughs galore as portions of the wacko script were given and read and acted out by audience members, who had a blast. Some readers were given some props to wear and that made their friends and/or family members at their tables laugh loudly and applaud them and cheer them on for their courageous efforts. And by the time the entire audience sang the refrain “Burn, Baby, Burn,” the audience and me and my guest had a fun time and gave the hard-working cast a well-deserved ovation.

Kudos to Rick Dulik and Amy Narron who handled the lighting and sound so well.

Running Time: About 3 hours, including appetizers, the show, and dinner.

Disco Inferno plays on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at Wiener’s Circle – 348 Victory Drive, in Herndon, VA. Make your reservations hereDoors will open at 5:30 PM. Show begins at 6:15 PM. 

Disco Inferno plays on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 868 Estate Vineyards-14001 Harpers Ferry Road, in Purcellville, VA. Make your reservations here. Doors will open at 6:30 PM. Show begins at 7:00 PM.

Disco Inferno plays on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at Heart Marks Art Therapy Gala Fundraiser at Breaux Vineyards – 36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane, in Purcellville, VA. Make your reservations here. Doors will open at 12:45 PM. Show starts at 1:30 PM.


StageCoach Theatre Company performs in several venues and also presents cabarets, Murder Mystery Beer and Wine Tours, and theatre workshops, so check out their schedule and please support their efforts.


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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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