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Murderous Crossing
March 8, 2019

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Intrigue, mystery and a meal await theatergoers at the Rugby Eagles Saturday, March 23 at 6:00 pm, when Village Arts, Inc. presents the play "Murderous Crossing".

Tickets for the event, which also features a dessert auction, are available for the event for $45 until March 15, or whenever they sell out.

Director Jill Roberts, a Rugby resident, described the play: "It's about a wedding on board a ship that goes over the English Channel. It takes place in 1923. A detective is on board, and he's looking for a serial killer who has been wreaking havoc in Europe, and he's never been able to catch him."

"So," Roberts continued, "he comes to this wedding, and there are many, many murders."

Tilting her head to the side and narrowing her eyes with a slight grin, Roberts added, "Some are more suspicious than others, so"

At a practice Tuesday evening in a room at the Rugby LDS Church, Michael Hurly, Judge for North Dakota's Northeast Judicial District by day, rehearsed a scene as failed actor and sweetheart scammer John Rothschild, who was discussing a plot to swindle an unsuspecting wealthy woman with his cohort, played by Rugby High junior Kate Heidlebaugh.

After a heated and hilarious scene involving an argument over how to romance the woman's money away from her with a sham wedding, Heidlebaugh told the Tribune she enjoyed being a part of the local arts community.

Heidlebaugh said she intends to pursue acting after high school graduation, and has big dreams.

"I'd love to be a movie star someday," she said.

Hurly, who grew up in Devils Lake, said he's been involved with theatre for years. He said he enjoys participating in Village Arts.

Roberts, who serves as Theatre Chair for Village Arts, said of Rugby's art scene, "It's wonderful. It's pretty rare to have such a rich history of the arts in such a small area."

Describing her background, Roberts continued, "I moved here five years ago. My husband got a job at Rugby Manufacturing. We're from Idaho. We don't really have any connections here."

Roberts said her work with local dramatic arts began with an idea she had when she visited Rugby High School.

"I was taking my daughter to sign her up for preschool at the high school, and I used to do theater when I was a teenager, and a young adult, and before I had my kids." "So," Roberts continued, "I thought I'd leave my name at the high school and say, 'Hey, if you need any help in the theater department, I'd be willing to come in.' I was thinking they'd call me in to do props or costume-type stuff, and the English teacher (Shannon Miller) called me and asked if I would direct their one act play that year.

Roberts widened her eyes and laughed, "It was like, ummm, okay."

"I had acted in a lot of things," Roberts continued. "I had done dinner theater. I'd worked in dinner theater, that type of thing. And so they sent me to some trainings and things like that, and I directed the One Act Play."

Roberts said she met Village Arts' former artistic director, Glory Monson, through Miller, who is Monson's daughter. "And so I was in the plays, one play after another, and I got on the board."

Roberts said Village Arts' theater repertoire includes many types of performances.

"As far as theater goes, we usually have a summer musical or a play. It's usually a comedy. Two years ago, we did My Fair Lady, and the year before that we did "See How They Run" which was a straight comedy a farce."

"For children's theater," she continued, "We brought in Missoula (Children's Theater) last year. They go everywhere they go to Bottineau, they go to Rolette. They come in, and they put a show on for a week with these kids."

"We did a murder mystery last year to raise money as well," Roberts continued. "With the economy as it is, we're not able to get the grant money to do the bigger musicals," Roberts noted.

"Last year, everybody had a really good time with the murder mystery and wanted to do it again, and so, here we are, doing it again."

For ticket information, contact Jodi Schaan at 771-9796.

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