Ready to be a star? New dinner theater holding open casting call in Virginia Beach for paid actors

VIRGINIA BEACH — Looking for your big break to take center stage in show business? The Dinner Detective is seeking performers for its brand new Virginia Beach location, and they want to meet you.

The Dinner Detective has been voted as one of the best dinner shows and best improvised shows in cities across the country, and is America’s largest murder mystery dinner production, with more than 50 locations nationwide.

The company said it has produced tens of thousands of public and private shows and entertained tens of thousands of customers since its Los Angeles grand opening in November 2004.

The interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is offering paid roles for performers 21 and up, and actors will not be waiting tables.

Auditions are being held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, located at 1900 Pavilion Drive in Virginia Beach.

Audition organizers say this is an open call and walk-ups are welcome and will be seen as time allows. They are especially seeking performers who can portray characters that are age 35 and up, and all ethnicities are encouraged to audition.

Show Details

On its website, the company said The Dinner Detective show is very different from traditional murder mystery dinner shows.

“We hide non-costumed actors in the audience that are pretending to be regular guests. Our shows are set during the present day and take place in real time. Over the course of the night, our costumed detectives will uncover clues, interrogate audience members that may or may not be part of the show, and help everyone get closer to solving the mystery,” showrunners explained.

Casting Details

Roles are open to all actors, improvisers, and performers. You must be comfortable interacting with audience members in semi-scripted situations.

For some roles, you’ll be expected to blend in with the audience during the show.

Actors receive compensation depending on the role, and most actors also receive dinner and performer gratuity in addition to show pay. 

Character Breakdown

Host: The king or queen of the castle. The host is ultimately in charge of everything; part MC, part director, part stage manager. This person must be very detail oriented and must be able to engage and lead a crowd.

The company said organizational skills are a must for this role, as well as a big booming voice, as the actor must give notes at the end of the performance. In addition, they are the first and last face of the show.

Co-host: The host’s right hand, handles check-in and all props and clues for the show.

Detective: This role may be in charge of running rehearsal with/without the host. Detectives follow a script and improvise with guests throughout the night.

Detectives ensure seated actors maintain the storyline and assist audience members in solving the crime.

The detectives are the core of the show and (during the acts) are in charge at all times.

The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show/Facebook

Actors must have a booming voice and be able to read and control a crowd. They interrogate actors and non-actors, uncover clues, and keep the show moving briskly.

Detectives must have good improv skills to riff with guests or the audience as a whole.

Seated actors: The company said these performers pretend to be a paying ticket holder.

Actors must be able to blend in with a crowd and improv their way through an entire evening until it is finally revealed they are indeed a part of the show.

At that time they can let loose and have a big reveal. Because they are pretending to be an audience member, dinner is included.

FTD (First to die): This role requires the performer to mingle and interact with the audience at the beginning of the night and then perform a death scene in the first act.

This role allows the performer to leave immediately after his/her death scene.

The performer must be funny, engaging, have a loud scream and be physically able to fall on the floor.

For more on the characters and requirements visit the company’s website.

The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show

Audition Details

The audition consists of group improv, performing scenes and exercises, and information about the company.

Participants are asked to please bring a headshot and resume. There is no need to prepare a monologue or scene in advance, as the audition is completely improvised.

To be guaranteed an audition at the open call on Sunday, please email a headshot and resume to

Those seeking an audition are asked to arrive no later than 10 a.m. on Sunday. If called back, expect to stay until 1 p.m.

Organizers said shows are an ongoing run, and will take place at the hotel venue, but that private shows can either be at the hotel or off-site up to 3 hours away — although this is very rare. Travel will be paid for out-of-town shows.

Most shows take place on Saturday nights, and there will be one full cast roster rehearsal on Jan. 27.

After that, pre-show rehearsals happen the day of the show only from 4-5:45 p.m., and the show is from 6-9 p.m.

The company said actors will not work every show and that they can accommodate most schedules.

Looking for inspiration from fellow dinner theater alumni? Ron Perlman, Loni Anderson, Linda Kelsey, Don Amendolia, Grant Norman, and Amy Adams are just a few of the award-winning actors who got their start performing in dinner theater productions.

The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show/Facebook

For the full performance schedule and more information on auditions, visit their website.

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