This year, YW8’s annual fundraiser is getting just a little bit meta.
A group of returning actors and newcomers are rehearsing The Murder Mystery at the Murder Mystery, a comedic show within a show featuring a stressed out cast, a put-upon stage manager and a neurotic director who find themselves at the center of a murder. Proceeds go to YW8, a local organization that teaches teens about responsible decision-making, healthy choices and avoiding high-risk behavior.
“This will be our fourth year,” YW8’s executive director Deana Evans said. “Each year we do something different, but it’s always a dinner theater. During intermission we serve a huge meal, we’ll have a silent auction going on, then we have dessert. It’s a full evening event.”
Evans said this is the organization’s secondary big fundraiser. The first is a formal banquet held earlier in the year, but the dinner theater is a more fun, relaxed event.
“We partner with ALT every year and the actors do this as volunteers for our organization, just for the opportunity to act,” Evans said. “We have a blast. The characters really let loose and have fun.”
Eran Opsahl, a registered nurse, new mom and part-time thespian, said she’s been acting in Ardmore since she was in high school.
“I have been part of the Ardmore Little Theater, but this is my first time with YW8 and the dinner theater,” she said. “It’s busy and it’s hectic and it’s fun, but to me the acting part is so rewarding.”
Opsahl, like most of the actors, plays two roles. Her character, a snarky actress named Holly, plays the character Mrs. Polk in the cheesy period drama “Putting a little English on it,” the fictional play the characters are rehearsing before things go off the rails.
“[Holly’s] a little uptight, and she clashes with the director, but she’s fun to play,” Opsahl said. “She tries to keep the director in line, because he’s always taking advantage of the stage manager and she doesn’t like that.”
Ariel Rickets, another ALT alum, plays Erica Stone, the put-upon stage manager.
“She’s very on top of everything and she’s pretty much in charge, even though she’s not the director. He’s a hot mess,” Rickets said.
She recently became a teacher at Plainview Primary School and is just now returning to acting.
“Most of us have been in ALT, so coming here is just like a big family reunion, and the new actors are like the new baby cousins,” Rickets said.
 The show has a few local touches. The Carter County sheriff’s office, Ardmore Police Department and even The Ardmoreite get a shout-out as the madness unfolds.
The Murder Mystery at the Murder Mystery is slated for 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Goddard Center. Doors will open at 6:30. Tickets are $45 for presale and $50 at the door. Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ is providing the food.