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Corn Stock Theatre and Willow Bend Theatrics are partnering together to present the world premiere of a virtual murder mystery event, A Deathly Development, which will be streamed on-demand through OnTheStage for one weekend only starting on Friday, March 19th through Sunday, March 21st. Tickets are $20 for an Individual Ticket and $25 for a Family Ticket. To purchase your tickets today, click here.

A Deathly Development is written by Kathy Chitwood and Whitney Chitwood and directed by Nyk Sutter-Downs. The show involves a tiny town, a turkey festival, and a murder! Carrie Campbell, a prominent townsperson, has been murdered on the grounds of the Davisville Turkey Festival, and Special Investigator Getz is on the case, enlisting the viewing audience as citizen detectives, essential in solving the crime. Was it Mark, the conniving ex-boyfriend? Might it have been the blubbering baker, Bonnie, and her farmer husband, Pete? Maybe Madge, the limelight desperate socialite, is to blame? Or could the culprit be another among the cavalcade of eccentric characters who inhabit Davisville? The intrigue of the Investigation Discovery Channel meets the light-heartedness of Waiting for Guffman, A Deathly Development is a documentary-style interweaving of suspect interrogation footage and narration. Pay close attention and just maybe you’ll be able solve WhoDunIt, HowDunIt, and WhyDunIt!

Director and Corn Stock’s Theatre Manager, Nyk Sutter-Downs, said “This experience has been so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever worked on before. This show was designed to be produced within the limitations presented by the pandemic. The entire rehearsal process was conducted over Zoom and the cast has never been in the same room together; in fact, most of the cast members have never met one another in person.

“When Kathy and Whitney Chitwood approached us about the possibility of Corn Stock being the producing theatre of the World Premiere of this creative theatrical endeavor, I jumped at the opportunity! They were both present in our very first read through rehearsal on Zoom and took away moments and characterizations from the rehearsal and used them to make adjustments to the script in order to flesh out potential motives and enhance character development.

“To this day, no one in the cast knows “WhoDunIt” and I purposely kept that secret throughout the entire process. That way, I was able to work with each character individually to flesh out their character’s motive and how they could have caused Carrie’s death. Personally, I can’t wait for their reactions once the true murderer is revealed!”

With the original premiere scheduled in November, there were some setbacks that pushed the premiere to this upcoming weekend. Keeping in mind the COVID-19 constraints, the cast and crew adhered to maintaining social distance and wearing face coverings while filming and all rehearsals were done via Zoom. Trish Ballard, who plays Cynthia Lawrence, said “Producing a virtual show is a super unique experience. During “normal” rehearsals, I have the ability to try lines in multiple ways until I hit on one that feels the most honest for myself and the other actors in the scene. With this virtual production, I only had the director to play off of. It was a challenge! Overall, I missed having the instant feedback of the others on stage, and I really missed the energy from the audience. It’s been a growing experience, and it’s been fun!  I think Corn Stock Theatre has done a phenomenal job with this virtual season, and I truly hope our patrons have enjoyed themselves. However, I cannot wait to get back to live performances.” A Deathly Development features Trish Ballard, Jeff Craig, Nate Downs, David Fritz, Leigh Anne Hager, Julia McCammon, Kathy McCormick, Mary Ellen Milem, Jim Sullivan, and Daniel Sutter in the cast.

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