Olde Main Street Players present play

Olde Main Street Players present play

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Mobsters will take over the streets of Newcomerstown when the “Mobsters Menu for Murder” is performed by the Olde Main Street Players on April 29 and 30 at the Newcomerstown Historical Society’s Olde Main Street Museum at 213 W. Canal St.

The play was written with a direct Newcomerstown theme by late area writer Steve Long and is directed by Chris Hart, who also plays detective “Cheese” Strudel.

“It’s about a bunch of not-so-wise wise guys coming through the area. They’re Chicago mobsters and mobster wannabes. They think they’re on their way to New York City, and they wind up in Newcomerstown,” said Vane Scott III, a member of the Olde Main Street Players and the entertainment director at the museum.

The year is 1943, and the audience is there attending a luncheon to help raise money for war bonds. The mobsters are stranded in Newcomerstown when they crash their car. When one of the crime bosses is killed, the guests must try to figure out “who done it.”

“It’s a cute, little comedy play. A lot of it is ad lib between the cast of eight characters,” Scott said.

In addition to Hart, the other actors are Susie Hart as bookkeeper “Chickie” Cacciatore, Vane Scott as Chicago mob boss “Clams” Casino, Marlene Ross as one-time mob boss girlfriend “Cherries” Jubilee, Peggy Snyder as “Peaches” Melba, Dave Boyer as “Beef” Stroganoff, Ray Booth as “Eggs” Benedict and Mike Wise as “Rocky” Rhoades. John Ourant will serve as emcee.

Guests will get an evening of live music, wine tasting, light appetizers, a lasagna dinner, beverages and the play for $35. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. before each performance. Live music will be provided by Mike Hoskins of Newcomerstown, who will play 1940s songs on the keyboard.

Guests are encouraged to dress as a gangster — minus the Tommy guns — or a floozy. Prizes will be given to the best costumed guests, and a prize will be given to all those at the table that solve the mystery.

The Olde Main Street Players are looking forward to the performance as it will be the first in a couple of years. The group also is working on another 1950s-style musical featuring doo-wop music. Normally, they like to present four events each year.

Tour buses are the mainstay of the museum’s visitors.

“That’s where our other actors and singing groups come in when the tour buses come in,” Scott said. “They tour the museum; we feed them and give them some entertainment.”

Prior to the pandemic, the museum welcomed about 20 tour buses each year from April through the first part of December. Everyone who works at the museum is a volunteer.

“We will sometimes have 30-some people here volunteering for a tour bus of 50 people, but between the actors and singers, the people that serve the food and clean up, it can be a lot of volunteers to give tours,” Scott said.

Currently, the museum is open by appointment only.

The volunteers are in the process of planning a fundraiser this summer for the Diaspora Memorial, which features six sculptures representing generations of the Lenape or Delaware people who were displaced from their homelands.

The event, Chief Netawatawees Day, will be held sometime in July.

“It’s going to be an encampment of re-enactors of the colonial era and Native Americans,” Scott said. “It’s going to be an education day. We want to tell the story of what we’re doing here, the story of the Lenape. I’m working with some of the re-enactors who have Native American blood connected to them to come in and tell their side, tell the story of the chief and his father and grandfather and what it meant to this area.”

The event will raise awareness for the sculptures, and the mayor will declare the day in honor of Chief Netawatawees.

Scott said the group has already raised $7,000-$8,000 locally before they have even started their fundraising event efforts. Working with sculptor Alan Cottrill of Zanesville, they also will be applying for a number of grants to reach their goal of raising about a half-million dollars.

The outdoor event also will draw attention to the Woody Hayes statue outside the museum.

“People may not still be aware that it was dedicated about three years ago,” Scott said.

The museum volunteers hope tourism to the area will pick back up now that COVID-19 is on a decline.

“We had worked so hard with the tour bus industry and (area convention and visitors bureaus),” Scott said.

The volunteers are always planning for the future. In addition to the Diaspora sculptures, they would still like to add a dining theater that would seat 100-120 people. Their current space seats about 60.

The doors to the recreated store fronts were all donated from area buildings including a house that Scott’s mother, Barbara Scott, used to live in. The Olde Main Town space is available for rent for parties and reunions.

Olde Main Street originally opened in 2009 after much work from the volunteers.

“It took about 10 years from the time of purchasing the building to finally seeing it open,” Scott said.

The building was once a factory and became a museum after it was purchased by the Newcomerstown Historical Society.

Scott invites everyone to visit the museum.

“We’re moving along, but it’s the best-kept secret around, even though we try to get the word out,” Scott said.

For more information about the Newcomerstown Historical Society, visit its Facebook page. To purchase tickets for “Mobster’s Menu for Murder,” call 740-498-7735.

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