Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Death by Chocolate is just around the corner

This year’s event features local story, Vegas trip prize


September 12, 2013

Lindsay Brown

Jay Pyette speaks before the 2012 Montana Actors’ Theatre Death by Chocolate.

Montana Actors’ Theatre’s annual fundraising gala is coming up quick, with some new twists.

The local acting company’s event, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28, in the Montana State University-Northern Student Union Building Ballroom, has some changes, including focusing on individual donors and a gambling theme.

The fundraiser’s top prize this year is a trip to Las Vegas, including airfare, three days lodging and tickets to a show such as Cirque du Soleil or a comparable event.

That ties into the theme of the murder mystery play set for production at the event, “Murder at Monte Carlo,” an original play written by MAT founder and artistic director Jay Pyette.

“And it’s a good one,” MAT member Rachel Dean said.

Pyette said he included quite a few references to Havre and people from Havre in the play, which audience members could pick out.

The theme includes using a prop — a “gi-normous” roulette wheel — for drawing prizes throughout the night.

The last prize drawing, for the Vegas trip, will be tied to another change in focus at the event.

Dean said the acting troupe will be pushing for people to sign up for monthly contributions to the acting company, rather than its past focus at Death by Chocolate on auctioning sponsorships for the shows throughout the season.

With ticket sales only paying about 25 percent of the season’s costs, monthly contributions and sponsorships are crucial to the company, Dean said, helping MAT purchase costumes, build sets and so on.

“We’re going to show them how they can keep the theater going all year long for as little as $10 a month,” she said.

At the end of the event, the roulette wheel will pick one of the monthly sponsors as the winner of the trip.

“It’s a pretty good deal,” she added. “10 bucks for a chance to go to Vegas.”

Pyette said the troupe will be accepting show sponsorships that night as well, but it won’t be the focus this year. He said the troupe members also will continue to look for show sponsors outside of Death by Chocolate.

He added that some things will remain the same. Along with the murder mystery and the prizes, hors d’oeuvres will be served through the night, an open bar will be available and the chocolate again will there.

Local cooks will make three of the same desserts, two for sampling so the audience members can find the ones they like best and one for the audience members to bid on in a silent auction.

Several local cooks come back with desserts each year.

“It’s all homemade,” Pyette said.

He said the roulette wheel will be used for several games throughout the night, and a couple of live auctions also will be held.

The doors and bar open at 5:30 p.m., with serving of hors d’ouevres starting at 6 p.m. and the performance beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets to the event are $35 each or $50 for a couple, and are available in advance at Angie’s Wildflowers and Creative Leisure and online at http://mtactors.com.


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