A group of more than 50 students gathered Friday night at the Weber State University Davis campus to find out who killed Chicago mob boss Don “Big Jim” Ravioli.
Wearing their best 1920s era costumes, the students took part in a murder mystery dinner theater hosted by Student Services. Karen Gonzalez, the nontraditional student assistant director, says the event was planned to cater to a variety of students.
“We were thinking of different ideas that would hit both traditional and nontraditional students,” Gonzalez said, “and this event was the one that was the most fun.
The scene for the night was the opening of a speakeasy named Four Deuces set during Prohibition-era 1920s. With the help of Detective Nellie “The Nose” Nutella, students were given the job of figuring out who Big Jim’s killer was. The characters were portrayed by members of the Davis campus student council, who took names like Rebecca Ravioli, the daughter of the slain Big Jim, and Don Wannabe, the owner of the speakeasy.
“You grew up watching Scooby-Doo, and you want to help solve the mystery, and this is that opportunity,” said Anna Adamson, a WSU student in attendance at the event.
While students had a dinner catered by NYPD Pizza, the characters walked around the room carrying on conversations, showing off evidence and at times having arguments with other cast members. Students were able to carry on conversations with the characters, asking for information in hopes that a clue would slip through.
Although the dinner was originally planned to be small, it quickly turned into a much larger event.
“We set out to have half the amount of people,” said Trevor Hicks-Collins, the WSU vice president of Davis campus and off campus centers. “And we sold out so quickly that we had to find a new space and double the amount of tickets we were able to sell. I think that to have an event like this at a scale like this was pretty awesome to be able to pull together.”
At the end of the night, students were given the chance to submit the name of the character who they thought was the killer. Of the correct guesses, a name was drawn to receive a prize. Prizes were also given out for best male and female costumes.
“I liked the mystery aspect of it,” said Preston Adamson, a WSU student who attended the dinner. “It’s very fun being able to be at a place like this, listen to all the clues and try to put your best guess out. It’s very satisfying.”
Sarah Lowe, the nontraditional student director for the Davis campus, helped plan the dinner and said the events at the Davis campus are usually smaller in scale.
“These events are really low-budget,” Lowe said, “and they always come out to be so much more than we expect them to be.Without the help of the student council coming out and volunteering, this event would not have happened. It’s not just about the director, it’s about the whole team that was involved in helping create the event.”
In addition to traditional students, the Davis campus serves the students of the Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science and a large nontraditional student population.