, Muskogee, OK


February 13, 2014

Mystery, mirth and menus

It’s dinner and a show at Tahlequah Community Playhouse

Comedy, romance and mystery are intertwined in Tahlequah Community Playhouse Inc.’s show “Don’t Mention My Name,” which opens today at the Armory Municipal Auditorium, 100 N. Water Ave. in Tahlequah.

Each performance will begin after a dinner of chicken parmigiana, salad, bread and dessert with wine, tea or coffee.

The dinners are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today and Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday, with the shows to begin an hour later. (Show-only patrons are advised to arrive 15 minutes before showtime.) The same schedule will apply for the weekend of Feb. 21-23.

Dinner with the show costs $25 and is available by reservation only. Tickets for just the show are $15 and are available at the door. It’s too late to get dinner reservations for this weekend. To make reservations for next weekend’s dinners, call (918) 822-4440 or go online to by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The menu is being catered by The Soul Shack, said Craig Clifford, who is co-directing the show with David VanDonkelaar.

“Don’t Mention My Name” is the third play of TCP’s 40th season. It’s a comedy about a man with temporary amnesia.

Darren Tobey plays the lead role of “Man,” who has no other name. He stumbles into a bed-and-breakfast during the off season, only to find that he was expected there for the weekend.

Tobey, a veteran of five TCP plays, has been the lead before. He remains on stage for most of the show.

“I’m kind of wandering around doing what everyone says,” said Tobey, who is the director of systems service at Northeastern State University’s library.

He said that for someone who hasn’t attended a TCP play, this is “a great play to start with” because of its humor. Tobey said it also has a magnificent set, built by Clifford and others.

Clifford’s daughter, Samantha Clifford, is in the lead female role as Jane, a real estate agent. Samantha Clifford, who works at NSU as a librarian, has done theater for 20 years, but she’s never had as many lines as in this show.

“It’s a fun play,” she said. “It moves quickly. It will be a fun time, and the food is pretty good, too.”

New to the TCP stage — and the community — is Ben Hardcastle, who portrays Dexter Chandler. He came to the tryouts to meet people. It’s been 30 years since he’s performed on stage, and then he was a college student. He’s NSU’s executive director of public relations and marketing. He won’t divulge much about his character because it’s “all a mystery to the audience.”

People in the show are not who they seem. Each character works for a different government agency, but they all have the same purpose.

Craig Clifford, a professor of biology at NSU, said the weather has been the biggest obstacle in the play’s six weeks of rehearsal and set building.

“People are fun and I like playing characters,” he said. “I do it for the creative release.”

By the end of the show, all questions are answered, including who the hero is and what the crime is. Prepare to be surprised.

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