Dinner theater to benefit Cultural Arts Alliance on Saturday
by Marie Nesmith
Jul 08, 2014 | 888 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Representatives from Cartersville’s arts community are joining forces to raise funds for the Cultural Arts Alliance of Cartersville-Bartow County Inc. Set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m., the mystery dinner theater titled “Murder at the Deadwood Saloon” will be held at Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse, 100 Covered Bridge Road in Euharlee.

Actors affiliated with groups, such as The Pumphouse Players, StageWorks Inc., ACT I and Senior Shenanigans, will portray roles in the show where one participant in a poker tournament commits murder. Billed as “a night of mystery and mayhem in the Wild West,” the dinner theater also will seek the audience’s assistance in revealing the killer’s identity.

“Jill Mitchell and Johnny Mitchell at Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse were interested in helping the Cultural Arts Alliance raise funds,” said Meghann Humphreys, CAA treasurer and past president for The Pumphouse Players. “[The alliance receives] funds from the county and the city, but over the years, funds from both sources have been dwindling. We’re supposed to bring in money from other sources and this is one way to do that. We thought it would be a really fun way to get people informed about the Cultural Arts Alliance. They get to go to Johnny Mitchell’s [Smokehouse], which is always a great experience. They have delicious food there.

“The audience participation aspect of the dinner theater happens because the actors in the show are basically a part of the crowd. They’re going to blend in and try to get people to guess someone else was the murderer rather than themselves, [and] we will have a couple of audience members who have roles.”

Calling The Arts Center — 101 N. Erwin St. in Cartersville — home since July 2005, the CAA — is comprised of about 20 arts-related organizations and individuals. Formed in 1993, the CAA helps promote Bartow’s arts organizations by providing information and access to their facility, and distributing grants with funds received from donations, benefits, and the county and city of Cartersville. To be eligible for financial assistance, the arts-related entities need to be a CAA member for at least one year and a 501(c)3 nonprofit serving the Cartersville/Bartow County area.

In August 2013 and January, the CAA distributed $51,000 and $18,000, respectively. Recipients included ACT I, The Pumphouse Players, StageWorks, Cartersville City Ballet, Steps of Faith Dance Company, Bartow County Genealogical Society and Stiles-Akin Camp No. 670 Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“All the years I’ve been a part of the Cultural Arts Alliance, which has been at least five, we’ve never had enough funding to go around,” said Julie Reeves, outgoing president for the CAA. “We have different arts organizations who request funding — just operational expenses, not even special projects. It’s the basic stuff they ask for and need, and we aren’t able to fulfill all their requests even though they’re very good requests and wonderful projects that really benefit the community as a whole. We just don’t have enough money to go around. So we have been looking at finding different avenues in order to raise those funds, so that we can help these organizations bring arts and the excellence in the arts to the Cartersville/Bartow County community.

“The purposes [of the Cultural Arts Alliance] are several fold. What we’ve been doing the last few years is just mainly being a funding organization where we can get funds through a few different groups or businesses or even the [local] government and take those funds and divide them up to who needs them. ... But we also would like to become more proactive at promoting the arts and just make people be more aware of what is available in Bartow County, because Bartow County and Cartersville is very arts rich.”

Tickets to “Murder at the Deadwood Saloon” are $30. With seating being limited, people are encouraged to call 770-383-3383 to reserve a seat.

For more information about the CAA, visit www.cartersvillearts.com, email culturalartsalliance@gmail.com or attend its next meeting July 15 at noon at the alliance’s building.