PHOTO: The Children’s Advocacy Center in Fort Payne will be hosting it’s annual Dinner Theatre beginning on February 9. (Children’s Advocacy Center)
By C. Campbell, Staff Writer
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — The Children’s Advocacy Center, located on Alabama Avenue, next to the Fort Payne City Hall, works to provide a safe haven for abused and at-risk children. As a non-profit organization, much of the Center’s operating budget comes from public donations and other such gifts. In order to help raise the necessary funds to continue providing the wide range of services that they do, the Center will be holding its annual Dinner Theater in early February.
According to Elizabeth Wheatley, the director of the Children’s Advocacy Center, they have been holding the Dinner Theater for over 20 years, and was inspired from a trip she had taken to Alaska to visit relatives there. “We were on a train ride to Denali. Along the way, we stopped at a restaurant that did a dinner theater.” Upon her return to Alabama, she thought it might not be a bad idea to try, and, after discussing it with the Center’s Board of Directors, was given the go-ahead to start holding the event.
Since starting up the dinner theater over 20 years ago, Wheatley explained how big of a hit the event has become. “When we began holding it, we started with only four shows, but there will be seven this year.”
For this year’s series of shows, Wheatley said how four of the seven were essentially sold out, and tickets were going fast for the other three. In addition, she noted how some people will start calling the Center in October to find out when tickets for the next year’s dinner theater performances will start going on sale.
This year’s show promises to be no less entertaining than past years have been. Like previous plays put on, the 2017 iteration was written by Eddie McPherson. “Cheering for Auburn can be Murder” is set in a neighborhood populated entirely by Alabama fans, until a family of Auburn fans moves in.
Therefore, when one of the Auburn fans turns up dead, everyone in the community becomes a suspect, including the deceased’s own brother (a graduate of Tuscaloosa). Presented in two acts, this family-friendly murder mystery is sure to elicit uproarious laughter from the audience. Among the cast members is Fort Payne City Council President Brian Baine and DeKalb County Probate Judge Ronnie Osborn.
When asked, Wheatley offered reassurances that the money raised from ticket sales to the event would go to a worthy cause. “Approximately 15% of what we raise is used to pay for the food served on those nights, as well as renting out the facility. The remaining 85% of funds raised goes back to the Advocacy Center.” This leaves no doubt that the funds taken in will not be misused.
“Cheering for Auburn can be Murder,” will be performed on February 9th-11th, 13th, and 16th-18th at the Fort Payne First United Methodist Christian Life Center. Guests will begin to be seated at 6:05 each evening, with dinner being served at 6:30, and the show to begin at 7:30. Tickets begin at $25 each, and can be purchased either at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Fort Payne, or by calling the Center at (256)997-9700.