About Knock 'Em Dead

Knock 'Em Dead publishes two types of murder mystery comedy scripts: (1) traditional full-length plays, typically performed as dinner theatre with character questioning at intermission; and (2) fully immersive, interactive parties.

Our scripts strike a balance between mystery and comedy.

MYSTERY - we don't think it's fair to present a story with plot holes, or to provide conflicting or insufficient clues. You won't find multiple endings in our scripts! All our mysteries have been carefully crafted to make sure that audience members who are paying close attention can put together the clues and see that they point to one clear culprit. However, it won't be easy! Clues are often subtle, and of course there are red herrings. But we always explain everything in the solution scene so that your audience doesn't feel cheated!

COMEDY - we use all sorts of comedy in our scripts, including situational, one-liners, physical, and satire. Audiences will certainly be laughing throughout the evening! We try to avoid cheap or childish humor. There are also moments of suspense and drama. So, even if you have folks in the audiences who aren't into mysteries, they'll still be entertained!

All scripts have been written with community theatre in mind. They have minimal tech requirements, and some can be done on a bare stage. While they are intended to be performed on a stage, other configurations may be possible using some creative blocking. Most are unit set and most have basic light and sound cues. Costumes and props are easy to find.

Finally, we believe theatre should be FUN for all those involved - the actors, the production team, and of course, the audience.

Licensing

Licensing fees for all dinner theatre and interactive party scripts:

  • Nonprofit/charitable performance: $75 for the first performance and $50 for each additional performance
  • For-profit: $100 per performance

Licensing requests may be made online using this form: Request Licensing for Knock 'Em Dead Scripts

All production organizations must sign a licensing agreement to use the scripts. A full agreement is linked in the request form and can be found here, but some common questions are below.

Changes: Generally, licensing allows you to make minor changes to the script to adapt to your particular needs, such as names, references to places, and minor wording changes that are consistent with the character.  However, any major modifications, including changing plot points and substantive changes to dialogue, require prior permission. Minor re-writes can often be accommodated.

Credit: We also require that you give credit to playrights in all instances where you mention the name of the show.

Photography/videography: You are permitted to photograph and videotape the productions for personal or promotional use, within reason. We ask that you do not publish the entirety of the production for public viewing. Videos for commercial purposes require prior permission.

Private Parties

We can also be hired for your next private event in central PA! We bring the party to you, providing everything you need for a fully immersive and intimate murder mystery party. These parties are typically 2-4 hours long, with custom pricing starting at $2,500. Learn more on our Private Parties page and contact us to start a conversation.

Contact

Questions can be directed to Stefanie Austin at srb847@gmail.com or you may submit a contact form

Requests for parties, commissioned works, and custom scripts will be considered. Let's start a conversation! Email Stefanie Austin at srb847@gmail.com.

Meet the Playwrights

Stefanie R. Austin

Titles:

  • Sin-ergy
  • 86'ed
  • The Final Rose
  • Cutthroat Christmas (w/Williamson)
  • Murder in the HOA (w/Williamson)

Stefanie R. Austin (State College, PA) is a Senior People Analytics Consultant at Penn State University. After working with numbers all day, she turns to theatre as a creative outlet. After many years of acting, directing, and serving in a variety of crew roles in community theatre, Stefanie decided to try her hand at writing and producing. In the Spring of 2020, after suffering from cabin fever, she enrolled in an online playwriting class led by local playwright David L. Williams. Three years later, her first murder mystery, Sin-ergy, was produced by Sock & Buskin Theatre Company in Bellefonte, PA.

Kari Williamson

Titles:

  • Cutthroat Christmas (w/Austin)
  • Murder in the HOA (w/Austin)
  • The Witching Hour (w/Schierman)

Kari Williamson (State College, PA) is a director of Information Technology at Penn State. In her spare time, she turns to writing and acting for a creative outlet. As a child, Kari would write stories for her younger sister
to read. And as an adult, Kari has married her love for acting with her love for storytelling. 

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