Columbia Heights youth theater group presents “Deadly Image”

The Millstreet Players to present their annual murder mystery dinner theater August 10


A dark mysterious comedy with a hidden romance, the Millstreet Players presented “Deadly Image” on Aug. 10 at Murzyn Hall in Columbia Heights.

Private Investigator Joey Reynolds, played by Lily Vanner, narrates the murder mystery drama. She is hired by billionaire Wentworth Jefferson who suspects someone in his life is plotting to kill him..


“Deadly Image” is a story that outlines detective Joey Reynolds’ attempt at solving the murder of billionaire industrialist Wentworth Jefferson. Wentworth calls private investigator Joey, to learn at his surprise, that Joey is short for Jo Ellen, a smart, attractive and self-assured woman who has a knack for her job. Wentworth invites Joey to a party at his mansion where she meets, and secretly photographs, the people in his life whom he suspects might wish to see him dead. Before the party is over, Wentworth is murdered with a rock to the head.


The “photos” exhibit the suspects: Maime, Wentworth’s ditzy wife; her children, playboy Sam Kane and cold but artsy daughter, Selena; bitter and drunk ex-wife Julia Jefferson; newspaper columnist whom Wentworth once jilted, Felicia Phillips; Debra Mason, his spinster personal assistant; Paul Carter, a senior executive in his firm and his Southern wife, Mary Jane. Also on the suspect list is a trio of mansion servants that aren’t fond of their employer.


It is Joey’s job to solve the case, but not without the assistance of police detective and ex-husband Al Reynolds, who use the “photos” to uncover clues to solve the murder.


The Millstreet Players is a Columbia Heights Rec. Department program for high school students that puts together a full production in four short weeks during the summer months. In fact, this year, production time was cut short by one week, leaving the group with only three weeks to prepare. The students were up to the challenge, rehearsing for five hours at a time and learning their lines on a tight timeline.


“This group this summer has really pulled together the last couple of rehearsals and I am very proud of them!” Rec. Department Coordinator Liz Bray said. “To only have 10 rehearsals and memorize and perform a two hour script – it is daunting and they are not going to disappoint!”
Although the cast was stressed about putting together the performance, they agreed its all worth it in the end.


“It’s just so much fun to feel that connection with your cast of the story that we all put together,” Lily Vanner, who plays Joey.

Maime Jefferson (Elizabeth Loper), the billionaire’s wife, is a ditzy character and “lives in her own world.”

Elizabeth Loper, who plays Maime, said the most exciting part is seeing the story come together after working so hard, as well as making the audience laugh.


“We always have a competition to see who gets the first laugh, or the biggest laugh,” Loper shared.


Ella Nelson, who plays Selena, said that working on the play is an opportunity to work on something productive during the summer months
“It really gives us a place to go so we’re not at home all day for the entire week,” Nelson shared. “A big part of it is just that you’re working on something productive.”


“The sense of community here is really strong,” Hugo Drews added, who plays Al Reynolds. “You always get to make friendships immediately.”


“Deadly Image” opens Thursday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. at Murzyn Hall, 530 Mill Street NE. Tickets are on sale now for $10. They are available for purchase at Murzyn Hall or by calling 763-706-3730.


Society columnist Felicia Phillips (Suzanne Nelson) and drunk ex-wife Julia Jefferson (Gianna Murlowski) argue at billionaire Wentworth’s party. The Columbia Heights Rec. Department Millstreet Players had only three weeks to prepare their two-hour long performance of “Deadly Image” which premiered on August 10. The billionaire Wentworth’s ex-wife, Julia Jefferson (Gianna Murlowski) frequently drinks and is a suspect in his murder. The story is narrated through “snapshots,” which are used to help Private Investigator Joey Reynolds and her ex-husband Lt. Al Reynolds solve the murder mystery. Pictured is a “snapshot” of Society columnist Felicia Phillips (Suzanne Nereson).
The story is narrated through “snapshots,” which are used to help Private Investigator Joey Reynolds and her ex-husband Lt. Al Reynolds solve the murder mystery. Pictured is a “snapshot” of Society columnist Felicia Phillips (Suzanne Nereson).