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Two reasons why you must visit this Denver mystery dinner theater

a beautiful at night
a beautiful at night
Marne Wills-Cuellar

Do you like a good mystery? Then you will definitely want to check out the Adams Mystery Playhouse here in Denver. But this isn’t just your average dinner theater. Guests are treated to a unique entertainment experience where the emphasis will be on fun and humor. And who doesn’t need a little extra fun and humor in their lives?

How does the mystery dinner theater work? You will arrive at the beautiful “Hollywood-esque mansion” and can enjoy a beverage and mingle with the friendly staff before the show starts. You will then be directed to the Spider Web Dining Room Theatre where you'll enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner, and settle in at your table that accommodates 10-guests. The mystery continues throughout dinner, as the cast of "characters" mingle amongst the tables with more incriminating testimony and answering guests' questions.

The performance continues until the murder occurs and you will be a witness. Guests will have time to search the room for clues and gather evidence. After all the “suspects” have been questioned, the audience breaks into teams, by table, to vote on WHODUNIT and why. Guests are encouraged to come up with creative names and solutions and creative team building and a little competition adds to the fun. After all the votes are in, the murderer is revealed and confessions are made. Souvenir prizes are handed out to the team who solved the crime!

The Adams Mystery Playhouse started when Marne Wills helped form a comedy improvisation project in 1983. There were five performers who called themselves “Group Therapy”. This troupe of happy comedians travelled overseas for the next five years, entertaining US military troops overseas. The DOD (Department of Defense) shows entertained thousands of troops in Korea, Japan, Philippines, Guam, Iceland, Greenland, Germany, Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean.

Group Therapy began performing for corporate meetings here at home, and Marne became a booking agent for other types of entertainment as her “day job”. Corporate clients wanted Mystery Theatre and Marne booked a couple of acting groups that didn’t go over very well. “Actors were drunk, clients wanted their money back, that sort of thing”, remembers Marne, “and so, I thought, well maybe we’d better try to put a mystery together ourselves”. Initial writing of the mystery was hard. “But, we came up with a formula”, says Marne, “and that was a big break through. Now, we write lots of story lines and fit them into the formula. It works great!”

The year of 1990 brought big, wonderful changes for Marne. She met her husband Carlos, they began a family and opened their own agency business, Marne Interactive Productions, featuring “Death for Dinner”. By 1992, the Mysteries were wowing corporate audiences hundreds of times a year. Then, three years later, Carlos said, “Let’s do these for the public!” He secured a local bed and breakfast, and crowds began to flock. New actors came along. In nineteen ninety-five, Nick Guida joined the company, and with his extensive theater, comedy and Irish singing background, he soon became a major player. “I don’t remember when I started”, says Nick, “But the Cuellar’s son was about four or so”.

Finally, in 2006, the Death for Dinner shows got a home: Adams Mystery Playhouse. “We had a partner in the early days, involved in buying the building, and he wanted to name it Adams, like Addams Family”, jokes Carlos, “But, our last name is actually Cuellar, which is a bit harder to say”. The building proved perfect for the business – a creepy, old mansion built in 1906, turned into a mortuary in 1934 and remaining a mortuary for eighty years!

Adams Mystery Playhouse is located at 2406 Federal Blvd. in Denver and sounds like a fun and unique experience. Shows are appropriate for all ages and any type of group or corporation. Everything is politically correct and rated somewhere between PG and PG-13, “while putting out edge-y humor and witty banter.” This sounds like a real crowd-pleaser for almost any age and entertainment preference. Starting May 2, they will be presenting a play called “Murder on a Harley.” For more information and show times, you can visit their website here.

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