‘Murder Under the Big-Top’

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls!

Welcome to the Knight-Time Players circus murder mystery – Murder Under the Big-Top.

The Ringmaster – Omar – wants to shut down the Bing Bang Carnival Extravaganza… until he is murdered.

The audience will be tasked with bringing the killer to justice.

“Circus members will be circulating among the audience asking questions and trying to find witnesses,” Director/Producer Mary Passinger said. “Audience members will be able to ask questions of all the suspects.”

“At the end of the show, audience members will be asked to turn in papers on which they write the name of the person they think may be the killer,” she said.

In addition to the play, there will be live acts including juggling, musical numbers, clown acts, and unicycling.

Assisting Passinger is student director and stage manager Kayla Kuppertz.

Knight-Time Players is a student-group from Eisenhower Middle High School that has been in existence for almost 30 years. The current show involves students in grades 7 through 12. Depending on casting requirements, plays are sometimes open to students in grades kindergarten through 12.

The group has performed the Shakespeare version of Romeo and Juliet, the Arthur Miller works The Crucible and All My Sons. “We try very hard to make sure what the audience is seeing is worth going to,” Passinger said.”I like to get the kids to stretch themselves.”

She did some of the stretching herself with the latest production. Murder Under the Big-Top is a Mary Passinger original play.

When the Players first got together, they were doing one show each year. The group now puts on three plays each year, Passinger said. This is the second of the 2013-2014 season.

Students have been practicing four nights a week since late January.

Dinner featuring circus-themed food will be served and is included in the price of admission.

The offerings include meatball subs, sausage sandwiches, beef on weck, chicken fingers, funnel cake, apple dumplings, popcorn and peanuts, curly fries, and the Knight-Time Players’ signature baked potatoes.

The Players’ baked potato booth at Warren County Fair provides funding for the plays, costumes, and trips. “We have been to Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City multiple times, and London, England,” Passinger said.

The show will run from 6:30 to about 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15. Because of renovations at Eisenhower, the show is located at Praise! Fellowship on Route 62 in Russell.

Tickets are available in advance only from any cast member, at the Eisenhower High School main office (757-8878), or by contacting Passinger at mary.passinger@gmail.com. No tickets will be available at the door. The ticket prices are $15 for adults and $6 for children six and under.

The cast of the show includes:

Omar (ringmaster) Cody Clark;

Leonardo (lion tamer) Jared Younger;

Esmerelda (trapeze and high-wire, Omar’s daughter) Chrissy Brunecz;

Blade (knife thrower) Colten Myer;

Koko (fortune teller) Daymara Haskins;

Ms. Banks (bank executive) Alyssa Kotar;

Charlie (clown) Mikki Gifford;

Clarabelle (human cannonball) Shelby Willis;

Wally (ring crew) Connor Younger;

Tramp (ring crew) Ana Carlton;

Doodles (clown, Omar’s cousin) Savon VanSickle;

JoJo (clown) Ricky Zortman;

Grover Lincoln Buchanan (special agent in charge) Willie Acklin;

Smiley Wiley (horse owner/trainer) Brianna Clever;

Snickers (clown) Victoria Carlton; and

Skittles (clown) Ana Carlton.