Arts & Entertainment

A comedic tale of bumbled murder attempts

A good recipe for laughter could be the blend of three Tri-City actors -- Steve Montgomery, Tim Harris and Katrina Carlson -- getting together for a bit of Murder at the Howard Johnson's.

The dinner theater makes its debut Oct. 3 at the Red Lion Hotel in Kennewick.

Murder at the Howard Johnson's follows the foibles of a husband and his philandering wife who bumble a murder plot against each other.

And if that isn't bad enough, the wife's lover suddenly switches sides and makes a feeble attempt to help the husband murder his wife.

Then the tables switch again, and it's the husband and wife who try to snuff out the lover.

Don't feel bad if you're confused. You're supposed to be. That's what makes this play so funny. You know, a trio of bumbling fools who can't even pull off a successful murder to save themselves.

Montgomery and Harris have been toying with bringing some professional dinner theater to the Tri-City scene for some time.

"Tim and I have been talking about doing this since 2000," Montgomery said. "And we're finally doing it. We're on a shoe-string budget, but we're excited."

The two longtime and well-known Tri-City actors formed Broken Leg Entertainment and plan to present a handful of dinner theaters each year.

"We might even hold this dinner theater over for additional performances," Montgomery said. "It'll all depend on if the show is a rousing success."

With a jovial guffaw, he added, "If it's not, well then I'll be putting a second mortgage on my home and crawling into a dark corner somewhere!"

Fat chance that'll happen, Harris said.

"I've known Steve a long time and would never let him crawl into a dark corner," Harris quipped. "We're both terrible worriers, though. This is a new venture for us as well as the Tri-Cities. There hasn't been professional dinner theater here for about 20 years. I know people will enjoy this show. It's a night out with dinner and a great show for only $45. It doesn't get much better than that."

Harris took the lead in directing himself in this inaugural production for Broken Leg Entertainment.

"Directing yourself is harder than I thought," he said. Thankfully, he added, Ginny Quinley, a CBC drama instructor, will lend her directing expertise to the comedy drama during the final rehearsal days next week.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;