There lies the scenario for "Par for the Corpse," the latest production put on by North Bergen's resident theater company, the North Bergen Players, sponsored by the North Bergen Cultural Affairs Committee.
The "homicidal comedy" opened Friday night, April 23 and had shows scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. The play will also be performed on April 30 and May 1 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 2, at 5 p.m., at the BCA Mini Theater, 8411 Bergenline Ave., directly adjacent to the North Bergen Free Public Library.
The play, produced and directed by Cultural Affairs Director Maurena Luzzi, who has coordinated the theater productions in the town for the last 18 years, was written by famed author Jack Sharkey.
Luzzi found the play during a review of about two dozen scripts last winter and thought it would be perfect for the North Bergen Players to put on.
"I'm looking for plays that fit a certain age group, one that would fit our audiences," Luzzi said. "I then bring the play in to be reviewed and see how it strikes us, if we like the story line, if it's funny. In this play, there are times you think it's a drama, then all of a sudden, it turns into a slapstick comedy. The lights go out in a snowstorm and then someone ends up dead on the floor. It becomes a funny 'whodunit,' with funny, yet sophisticated things happening around the deaths."
Luzzi said that she is very enthused about the cast, which features a mother/son tandem from North Bergen who are working together for only the second time.
Both Marilyn Mideaker and her son, Michael, have been involved with the North Bergen Players for many years, but hardly ever got a chance to actually work together.
"I started with the group when I was in high school, like 1987 or 1988," said Michael Mideaker, who works as an operational supervisor at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. "I just went off and did other things in the early '90s and then my mother joined the group. I kept coming back to watch the shows, but I never had the time until now to get involved again. I think it's great that I'm working with my mother. She always said that she was involved in acting when she was younger, so I guess this was just natural. It's also a good play, a lot of fun. Everyone loves a murder mystery, don't they?"
Mideaker, who plays the role of Mark Taggert in the show, said that he is also a musician, so he is constantly performing in the area, but not many get a chance to work with their mothers.
"We get along very well, so it's exciting for me to work with him," said Marilyn Mideaker, who is portraying Gert Hartman in the show. "I always enjoy working in the theater, but it makes it special working with my son. I've been a resident of North Bergen since I was 4 years old and I'm 65 now, so I've been here a long time. This show has been a lot of fun. We have an excellent cast and the writing is excellent. I have to say I'm enjoying it a lot."
The Mideakers are not the only North Bergen residents in the cast. Others include Carol Galla, who plays Alexandra; Gloria Goldman, who plays Thelma; and Joyce Adams, who is the lighting director. Others in the cast include Tony Ferlazzo (Rich), Vivienne Ximenez (Daniella), Phyllis Shapiro (Hazel), Sam Gutierrez (Jed) and Jennifer Pruden (Bettina).
"It's an excellent cast and it's really going to be a good show," Luzzi said.
Luzzi has also been enthused by the commitment she has received from the community, in terms of donations, like the furniture that was provided by Tom Kim and the paintings that were donated by the Episcopal Center for Women's Services.
"It really has become a community thing," Luzzi said.
Tickets for "Par for the Corpse" are $10 and are general admission. For further information, contact the Cultural Affairs Committee at (201) 854-6246 or (201) 854-7074.