WEBSTER CITY – Ken Cartwrong was not a well-liked man. In fact, when he was brutally murdered, no one in town was upset by his passing. Most of them even had a motive, creating a difficult investigation for the sheriff and his deputies.
The question remains: who hated Cartwrong enough to kill him?
It’s the mystery that will be solved on stage at the Webster City Community Theater with the production of “Murder at Dry West Fork Gulch.”
Written and directed by Stanhope’s Sally Evans, the show will have performances today and Sunday.
Evans originally wrote the piece for a fundraiser for the South Hamilton Foundation in 2013.
“Some of my friends from WCCT came up to him and they said, ‘You know, you should put this in Webster City'” she says.
The production is a classic murder mystery and a satire on TV Westerns, Evans said.
“The play begins with the discovery of the body of Ken Cartwrong”, she says. “Nobody liked him, so nobody’s really upset, but everyone seems to have a motive. When the undertaker comes and looks at the body, he says he was stabbed, shot and hit in the head , so the sheriff and deputy have their hands full with the investigation.
The cast includes men and five women.
“In addition to murder, there are romantic sparks that fly”, said Evans.
Evans described the play as a “fake musical” with references to “Oklahoma!” and public domain songs that most will recognize as “House on the beach” and “Valley of the Red River”.
Evans has written and directed many shows at WCCT over the years, but she hasn’t always been a playwright.
Writing has always come easy to her, and Evans reflected on a story she wrote in third grade about Peter Cottontail that a teacher thought she had copied from a book. She enjoyed acting when she was in high school and considered becoming an English teacher.
Instead, Evans went to business school and worked as a secretary at Iowa State University for more than 40 years.
Eventually, the scene began to call her back.
“I started writing skits for church functions,” said Evans. “We had these Norwegian ladies who had been ghosts for a long time, like in 1905 when the Stanhope Lutheran Church was first founded. So these Norwegian ladies would come from time to time and visit, bringing their wisdom.
After that, she began receiving writing requests for South Hamilton Foundation fundraisers and eventually wrote several plays which were produced on stage at WCCT.
Tickets for “Murder at Dry West Fork Gulch” can be purchased by calling the WCCT box office at 832-4456.
Cast of “Murder at Dry West Fork Gulch”
Trese Arends as Cassie Needlemeyer
Anne Blankenship as Mrs. Holiday
Al Yunglas as Ben Morris
Dean Evans as Jerry Morris
Kerry Kurtz as Priscilla Priss
Sam Dare as Sheriff Will Burp
Sylvia Vust as Sal Uhn
Don Zompa as Ernie Uhn
Dale Arends as Deputy Dan
Ken Theobald as Fred Stead
Loween Getter as Ma Gherkin
Tim Bervan as Ol’ Jess
Mark Dohms as Ken Cartwrong
–Written and directed by Sally Evans