Moon Theater Company celebrates 10 years with “Fatal Fifties Affair”

By Aaron Reynolds

The Surveyor

When Moon Theatre Company presented its first show back in 2009, it featured two cast members. Fast forward 10 years and Moon Theatre is still going strong with a grassroots community theater group that has adapted as the town has grown.

Moon Theatre Company will celebrate its 10th anniversary this October with its new interactive murder-mystery show “Fatal Fifties Affair.” The program will follow the same format as the previous “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding,” where dinner is served and the audience transforms into interactive members of the show.

“Fatal Fifties Affair” treats audiences to a classic murder mystery that is themed from the 1950s. The show has a comedic twist which keeps the drama lighthearted and entertaining. In order to support the ‘50s theme, Moon Theatre Company is also encouraging audience members to dress up in their best outfit from the decade. Along with ‘50s-themed food being served, the production will also feature a costume contest with prizes awarded to the best outfits.

Julie Marino (who has acted in several Moon Theatre productions) will work this time around as the director. The cast for “Fatal Fifties Affair” is smaller than some of its previous shows and will focus on making each show distinctive as characters interact with audience members throughout the performance.

“There is going to be lots of improv, lots of audience participation,” Marino explained. “I know the entire cast is all very excited about bringing (“Fatal Fifties Affair”) to life with the actual audience. That makes it a lot of fun when the audience participates. It’s fun for the cast members and fun for the audience. We want everyone to have a really great time.”

Kathleen Gruman – who has been a part of Moon Theatre since its inception – recognized Moon Theatre and other theater groups help “build the community.” She mentioned all the generous organizations in the town, like Berthoud Foursquare Church and Berthoud United Methodist Church, that have offered their facilities over the years. Moon Theatre Company will partner with Grace Place for the first time on “Fatal Fifties Affair.”

“We appreciate the support from the community and that they keep coming to our shows,” Gruman added. “It just makes us feel like (Moon Theatre) is a part of the community, to be able to sustain live performance for 10 years now. I think that is kind of huge. It is increasingly hard to get people out to live theater. It’s just so amazing, so gratifying that both Berthoud and Loveland communities have come out and supported us. It gives us a desire to just keep doing things bigger and better.”

Gruman and Marino both agree that in an era where the performing arts are not receiving the same attention and audience turnouts, community theater is still incredibly relevant. Gruman pointed out Moon Theatre has had actors travel 50 miles or more from the metro-Denver area in order to participate in such an engaging community-theater group.

“We have worked with so many amazing people. It affords us to even build a greater community,” Gruman remarked. “We’ve had amazing actors from Denver to Fort Collins. It’s really been incredible we have been able to sustain. You hear all over, not only theater, but to get people out to the symphony, to concerts, is increasingly hard. So if you can make it readily available and close, hopefully you’re more likely to build an audience.”

Marino summarized, “I think that with community-theater – it’s your neighbor. It’s the postman that delivers your mail. It’s someone that kind of touches on and in your life. It is a sense of community and makes the community stronger.” “Fatal Fifties Affair” will delight audience members to dinner and a show on Oct. 12 and 19 at Grace Place Church in Berthoud. Moon Theatre invites you to attend in your best ‘50s outfit for the costume contest. For more information about Moon Theatre Company, and to purchase tickets to the show please visit: https://www.facebook.com/moontheatre/

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