“I am overwhelmed from the community’s generosity and support of the Mesquite Reads program for the local elementary school kids,” Mesquite Local News Editor Barbara Ellestad said after $2,650 was raised for the program at a mystery dinner theatre staged by the MLN staff Thursday, July 28.
“We very much appreciate the Eureka Casino Resort and Eureka Community Initiative partnering with us to help raise money for the kids,” Ellestad said. “And no event would be complete without the Mesquite Show Girls on hand to help out.”
” I just cannot thank you and your incredible team for the special event,” said Andre Carrier, Eureka Casino Resort CEO. “It was a remarkable amount of work and it was truly fantastically executed and great fun. It was a wonderful gesture on behalf of Mesquite Reads and greatly added to the legacy of innovation and commitment that is a hallmark of this community effort. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Directed and produced by Teri Nehrenz, MLN Office Manager and community outreach liaison, the dinner theatre was held at the Eureka Casino Resort and attended by 96 people who laughed from beginning to end.
“Alabama Jones and the Trailer Park of DOOM!” is a spoof of Indiana Jones movies with a southern twist – and a twister. Alabama Jones, Professor at Tulane Blacktop University, played by Ellestad, was on the hunt for an original velvet Elvis painting. He reunited with old flame Jewel, played by Nehrenz – a waitress at the IHOG (the International House of Grits). Someone was out to kill her but knocked off the IHOG cook Lamar, played by Frehner, by mistake.
Audience members played a variety of characters in the zany comedy including Harley Davidson, Ima Globetrotter, weatherman Stormy Day, The Boogie Woman, Prozac the Martian Leader, Mona Lisa Marie Presley and many more.
“The MLN staff and Battle Born Media, owners of MLN, made a commitment to support the Mesquite community through fundraisers and other events,” Ellestad said. “Teri and Stephanie have gone to great lengths to help make that happen. We had a ball doing this play and were thrilled to have such a large turnout. As newspaper people we have a vested interest in children learning to read and enjoying it. The Mesquite Reads program, sponsored by the Eureka Community Initiative, is a great program for them.”
In addition to $2,400 raised from ticket sales, Deep Roots Medical and David and Trish Zeleniak each made $100 cash donations with Greg and Mary Sullivan making a $50 contribution.