Every Vote Counts

A fun American Red Cross event playfully shows attendees that sometimes politics can be downright murder.

By: Cassie Woods | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: March 2014

David Barron plays the part of local businessman, Walter Smithson, who throws his hat in the ring as a candidate for governor in the upcoming American Red Cross Murder Mystery.

David Barron plays the part of local businessman, Walter Smithson, who throws his hat in the ring as a candidate for governor in the upcoming American Red Cross Murder Mystery.

Organizers are asking you to mark your calendars for March 7 and 8, for this year’s American Red Cross Murder Mystery. This popular, ­family-friendly night out will be held at the Will Rogers Auditorium on the Claremore campus of Rogers State University, which is a co-sponsor for the event. Also co-sponsoring the event is the Rotary Club of Claremore.
    The Murder Mystery event started in 1998 as a way to raise money for ­college scholarships and then for ­foster children. It became an American Red Cross fundraiser eight years later when playwright Mark Ogle went to work as the organization's local service center director.
    “We have a great story for this year’s attendees that has as many twists and turns as any other play we have done," said Ogle.
    The setting is the 1950s, at the mansion of local ­businessman, Walter Smithson, where later in the evening he plans to announce his intentions of running for governor. Smithson, one of the richest, most powerful men in the state, believes he can make a real difference because what his constituents need is a real businessman representing them, not career politicians. But when one enters politics, his past ­skeletons have the potential to come to light. This year’s Murder Mystery will expose what Smithson’s are and how will they impact his run for office.
    The audience will ­recognize many cast members from past productions, including David Barron, who plays the lead role of Walter Smithson.
    “Community ­theatre is addictive,” said Barron. “We are doing this to raise money for a great ­organization, but we are also having a really great time. I think the audience senses the camaraderie and how much fun we are having, and that makes it an even more ­enjoyable experience for them.”
    Directing the production is veteran community theatre director Dan Huey, who has also acted in previous murder mysteries. “All of the talent are locals and they are a very creative bunch,” said Huey. “I enjoy this so much that I keep coming back every year.”
    "Dan is a great director who is able to take this group of talented people and produce a great play," said Ogle. “The cast is having fun. I am sure the audience will have fun. It will be a great time all around."
    In addition to a fun ­performance, each audience member will also have an opportunity to use their deductive skills to get involved in the drama. “We always give our guests a chance to try to solve who did it and why,” said Ogle. “So if you’re the type of ­person who thinks they can solve any mystery before the first TV commercial airs, come and see if you can be the one and only person who will walk away with the ­highly-prized Super Sleuth Award, a prize wanted by many, but that can only be won by one.”
    The American Red Cross Murder Mystery will be held on March 7 and 8. Doors will open both nights at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7 p.m. Tickets must be purchased at the door and are $10 for adults and $5 for ­students. Proceeds from the event go to the American Red Cross to help those who suffer a disaster, such as a house fire, and all money raised will stay locally in Rogers County.  

For more information, contact

American Red Cross

400 W. Will Rogers Blvd.
Claremore, OK 74017
(918) 344-8442

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