DALLAS — We all know that small towns love their scandals, but Dallas is brewing up a doozy for Saturday’s Downtown Dallas Murder Mystery.
Murder in Downtown
What: Something Bad is Brewing.
When: Saturday. Registration is at 10 a.m. at Pressed Coffee and Wine Bar, 788 Main St., and the final reveal is at 4 p.m.
Where: Participants will visit downtown businesses to gather clues to the mystery.
Cast: Harrison Hopps - Mike Berkes; Fiona Hopps - Lyndsey Mason; Amber Hopps - Rachel Phelps; Horace Hopps - Mark Brehm; Tipsy Pint -Carol Chaney; Half Pint - Grant Hess; Tony Vino -Dave Masciorini; Zia Vino - Roseann Jahn; Lorenzo Vino - AJ Foscoli; Budd Wizer - Zach Brehm; Erika Grafter - Laurie Vail; Larry (Loose Lips) Grafter - Richard Nostiglia; Mayor Maggie Marbles - Margie Pearce; Coroner Daisy Drinker - Carol Dalton; Clawdia Catz - Bev Shein; Pastor Kristi- Kristi Kreamer; and Police Officer - Jim Fogg.
The 2018 vintage, brought to you by the Dallas Downtown Association, features a battle between longtime winemaker Tony Vino (played by Dave Masciorini) , owner of Vino Vineyards, and newcomer Harrison Hopps (played by Mike Berkes), with his plans to move Brews Brothers Brewery next door to Tony.
Murder is fermenting in Dallas. Who will be the victim? Who’s the killer? You can be the detective this Saturday and solve of the mystery of “Something bad is brewing.”
Harrison brought daughter Amber Hopps (played by Rachel Phelps), wife Fiona Hopps (played by Lyndsey Mason) and do-little little brother Horace Hopps (played by Mark Brehm) with him to Dallas.
“I already have a famous brewery, but what I’m doing is trying to bring it to this little town and add a little class to it,” Harrison said.
Tony is doing everything he can to prevent Harrison from planting 100 acres of hops next to his grapes.
“Vino Vineyards supports everything in this town. It’s not going to happen,” Tony said confidently in front of Harrison during a chance encounter in downtown Dallas. “I built that vineyard with my own money. Worked it with my own hands; planted it with my own hands.”
“Yeah, well what you need to plant is hops,” Harrison said in response.
“What I need to plant is my fist right in your face Mr. Hopps,” Tony retorted.
“You better leave my big daddy alone,” said Fiona stepping between them.
Don’t be fooled by Fiona’s defense of her husband. Word on the street is that she’s more interested in his money than him. Harrison would like a do-over on his marriage and doesn’t hide it.
“Oh, big daddy, you love me. He just pretends not to,” Fiona said.
She’s been known to hang out in the bars working on her singing career, most often with “the singing bartender” Budd Wizer (played by Zach Brehm). She dreams of taking Budd to Nashville and making him a country star — on her husband’s dime.
She doesn’t hide her resentment for Harrison wooing her years ago with romantic gestures and then taking her home to raise Amber, who she described as “a snot-nosed brat.”
Now a college graduate with a degree in modern brewing Amber is having none of it.
“I would have been better off if you brought me home a sow, daddy,” Amber said.
To that display, an exasperated Tony said: “I’m trying to make Dallas a town of culture and class.”
“This,” he said pointing to the Hopps family, “is the epitome of the opposite of that.”
With the battle lines drawn, Dallas residents are picking sides — or playing both.
Tipsy Pint (played by Carol Chaney), the owner of Taters and Cakes — located where Harrison wants his brewery — accuses Harrison of starting an electrical fire at her restaurant because she won’t sell.
“You quit hounding me about that or I’m going to get you and you will be sorry,” she said. Tipsy’s rock collecting younger brother, Half Pint (played by Grant Hess), is defensive of his sister. He and his best friend, Jim the Rock — an actual rock — might be the main suspects in an incident in which Harrison’s windows were smashed with rocks.
Amber has big plans for Brews Brothers Brewery, if only her father would let her update his brewing process and marketing plan. Harrison refuses to break from tradition.
“I’ve been working this thing for 30 years on a legal pad, I damn sure don’t need any computers,” Harrison said. “She’s hell bent on doing it.”
After the brewery closes, Amber stays to try out her recipes and craft brew techniques with a “friend,” none other than Lorenzo Vino (played by AJ Foscoli), Tony’s son.
“I just go in there at night and make up some stuff and see how it tastes,” Amber said. “That’s all.”
That isn’t all the not-so-hidden resentment in town.
Horace, Harrison’s brother, floats by on his allowance from his brother, barely working and spending the money on partying.
Greedy Mayor Maggie Marbles (played by Margie Pearce) has the entire town paying her money under the table to get things done — or to keep secrets. She learns all the gritty details from therapist Erika Grafter (played by Laurie Vail), who has the biggest secret of all: She charges $400 per hour and doesn’t have a license.
Zia Vino (played by Roseann Jahn), Tony’s older sister, has dementia, but she knows that Amber and Lorenzo belong together. She’s angry that their fathers keep getting in the way.
Then there’s the town lawyer Larry “Loose Lips” Grafter (played by - Richard Nostiglia), Erika’s husband. He has an ongoing relationship with day drinking and gossiping. Harrison is at his wit’s end with the struggle to get him to write Fiona out of his will, ending her plans to run off to Nashville.
You can get a preview of the characters and some clues at a karaoke show at Pressed, 788 Main St., on Friday at 7 p.m.