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Washington County Playhouse stages two productions of 'Deadly Hillbillies'

Washington County Playhouse stages two productions of 'Deadly Hillbillies'

Murder is back on the menu at the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater.

For two nights only, the cast will present two encore performances of “Deadly Hillbillies” at the downtown Hagerstown theater. The show, which was first staged in November, will be staged again Friday, Jan. 5, and Saturday, Jan. 6. The Friday performance is a fundraiser for Hagerstown Hopes.

Matthew Crawford of Frederick, Md., returns as both director and as Detective Joseph Monday in “Deadly Hillbillies.”

“The show is about a family of lovable country folk that are hosting a family reunion,” he said. “They want to share with their extended family (the audience) the knowledge imparted to them of how best to handle their accidental fortune. There’s comedy, love interests and, of course, mystery.”

With a sold-out show in November, the Playhouse added the production to January. 

“We were really just testing the waters with the first production,” Crawford said. “We were lucky enough to sell out and received a lot of positive feedback. There were a lot of people who didn’t get the opportunity to see it the first time so it’s a kind of encore for those people.”

The November production also marked Crawford’s first time as director and, he said, it taught him a lot. 

“I’d say I learned the importance of trusting my instinct,” he said. “I knew I had a great cast and there were things that just happened organically on stage or inspired me to add something else in the spur of the moment. I also learned what happened off stage. Figuring out how the evening flowed and keeping everything moving in a timely manner became my main concern once we opened.”

Those who have never attended a murder mystery are in for a treat, Crawford said. 

“What I find most fun about murder mysteries is the audience interaction,” he said. “They’re essentially another actor that didn’t get the script or rehearse. You never know what they’ll come up with and you’ve got to be quick on your feet to adjust accordingly.”

The Friday night production is a fundraiser for Hagerstown Hopes, whose mission is to “provide a place where we can bring unity, education, and services to support our local LGBTQ and local communities.”

Crawford said he is honored and excited to be part of the fundraiser. 

“Anything I can do to help raise money and awareness for them is great. The LGBTQ community has a huge impact on the theater world and it’s nice to know we can do something to help give back,” he said. 

For those who have never attended a murder mystery before, Crawford said “Deadly Hillbillies” 

“They should come see the show if they’re looking for a unique and fun evening. You won’t be just spectating, but participating as well. Who hasn’t watched a show and at some point wanted to tell those characters how you feel?”

If you go ...

WHAT: Hagerstown Hopes Presents: Evening of Murder Mystery
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 5; doors open at 7 p.m., show at 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater, 44 N. Potomac St., Rear, Hagerstown
COST:  $25 per person; $40 per couple, which includes hors d’oeuvres; cash bar available.
CONTACT: For tickets, go to www.eventbrite.com. Tickets will not be sold at the door.
MORE: For ages 13 years old and older. 
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WHAT: “Deadly Hillbillies” 
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6 
WHERE: Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater, 44 N. Potomac St., Rear, Hagerstown
COST: $48 per person, includes salad, buffet and dessert 
CONTACT: WashingtonCountyPlayhouse.com or call 301-739-7469

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