Fiction mixes with historical events in the Zane Grey Mystery Dinner Theatre script, a part of Payson's 125th Anniversary Celebration.
George Takahashi, Grey's Japanese friend and phenomenal chef, actually did disappear without a trace.
What happened to Takahashi remains a mystery to this day, but on Oct. 5 the dinner theater audience at the Main Street Grille will have the first chance to guess who, among 14 characters, might have killed Takahashi.
"Real historical events in the script make it a lot more fun," said scriptwriter Kathleen Kelly.
So, while it is true that Western author Zane Grey brought his film crew to the Rim Country, dinner theater character "Studley Dudley" is a fictional real movie star.
As the audience files in, the actors will give some of them props and one-line character parts to play, so they become part of the three-act story.
"When you do mystery dinner theater you involve the audience," Kelly said. "It is almost like improv, because of that intimacy with the audience."
The curtain opens on the town of Payson, as its citizens prepare a welcome dance for Zane Grey and his film crew. And the sheriff investigates the disappearance of Grey's chef.
Auditions for the play's 15 on-stage characters will be held from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Main Street Grille.
Cast members will be notified the following week.
Rehearsals begin the week of July 23 and will be held three days a week until October.
Jinx Pyle and Jim West have already committed to playing music during the play. Other interested country musicians are invited to the audition Saturday.
Tickets for the mystery dinner are $75 each or $150 per couple. Check www.paysons-125th.com next week for information on purchasing tickets for this event.
Sally. A country girl secretly in love with Takahashi. She wishes to know the ways of city life so Takahashi will notice her. Age 18 to 25
Pearl. A country girl. Age 18 to 25
Ruby. Owner of the Hitch' Post Saloon. Age 25 or older
Clementine Clump. A righteous schoolmarm and the leader of the Women's Christian Temperance Union who believes films, including Zane Grey's, are wicked. Age 25 or older
Dolly Grey. Zane's wife. A peacemaker; everybody's mother and a belle of the ball at country dances. Middle aged.
Takahashi. Grey's Japanese cook. Age 18 to 25
Studley Dudley. A Hollywood Western star who is good-looking and knows it, but cannot ride a horse. 18 or older
Chief Madazhell. A gambler who owns a casino just outside of town. He is always taking bets on anything and everything. 30 or older
Diamond Jack. The villainous rancher who owns the Thirteen Ranch. Jack wants Sally as his own. 18 or older
Marcelle Moresalt. Grey's new French cook. 18 to 25
Sheriff Wayne John. Sally's protective father and the Fish and Game warden investigating Takahashi's disappearance. 30 or older
Mayor Lovelady. The mayor of Payson who is up for re-election and is pushing for progress and modernization. 30 or older
Zane Grey. Western writer and film director and honored guest at the country dance. Middle-aged.
Elmer. Hen-pecked husband of Clarice. 50 or older
Clarice. Spirited lady; the controlling wife of Elmer. 50 plus.