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'Dead in Deadwood' murder mystery in Svea

Courtsey of Kari Stadem Jessica Gatewood, Kristi Oberdieck, Laura Sowers, Kathy Lindblad, Dianne Johnson and Rachel Rundquist provide entertainment at the saloon in "Dead in Deadwood."1 / 4
Courtesy of Kari Stadem Kathy Lindblad plays the help in "Dead in Deadwood."2 / 4
Courtesy of Kari Stadem Camy Erickson, right, as Sister Dolly and Gene Gatewood as Crazy Harry ride off on "her horse" in "Dead in Deadwood." The murder mystery will be presented this weekend at Svea Lutheran Church.3 / 4
Courtesy of Kari Stadem Ryan Erickson as a customer and Zach Sowers as near-sighted Willie enjoy a pull from the jug in "Dead in Deadwood."4 / 4

"Dead in Deadwood" is a comedy production to be presented Friday through Sunday at Svea Lutheran Church as a fundraiser for church carpeting, as well as funding to raise awareness, aid victims and fight human trafficking.

Svea Lutheran Church is a small congregation in Svea, eight miles south of Willmar. For 20 years or so, the youth have put on a fundraising dinner theater each year, and the church basement has been transformed into Egypt, Venice and a small town pie social, among other things.

Last year a group of adults thought they would like to join the fun, but they didn't want to duplicate the youth's efforts, so they decided to put on a murder mystery to raise funds for a new sound system. They had such a good time they are doing it again and to raise money for new carpeting.

"Dead in Deadwood" is this year's murder mystery/comedy. Show time is 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday. Tickets are $20 and include a pulled-pork dinner along with the "side-splitting entertainment."

The production is set in a saloon in the Old West. Various characters may be murdered, and various clues will be given throughout the evening. Audience participation is desired and, at the end, audience members will get a chance to guess who the murderer is.

The event is rated PG-13, and is not recommended for children. Those who attend are encouraged to dress the part of an Old West saloon customer, but it's not required.

Cast members include Dave and Patti Chambers, Dave and Camy Erickson, Matt Erickson, Ryan Erickson, Gene Gatewood, Jess Gatewood, Dianne Johnson, Kathy Lindblad, Kristi Oberdieck, Erik and Rachel Rundquist, Zach and Laura Sowers and Jake Vlaminck.

The director is Linda Roelofs, and other members of the church provide food, music and service.

Though the treatment is hilarious, one of the subjects is human trafficking, which is no laughing matter. A portion of the proceeds will go to Lutheran Social Services to fight sex trafficking and care for victims; there will be a freewill donation, and the group is hoping to raise awareness of this problem. For more information or to find out how you can help, contact Talia or Angela at LSS, 231-7075.

To reserve tickets for the production, call Shelly at 995-6247. Tickets are also available at the door.

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