Photo courtesy of Molly Flores
"The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" play opens Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Grand Theatre in Salt Lake City. The production runs until Feb. 24.

Comedy, mystery and wit are what's in store for viewers who attend the opening night of "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" production on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Grand Theatre.

"Basically, the whole concept is a group of theatre producers, writers (et cetera), who get together thinking they are creating the next Broadway hit," said David Hanson, director of the production. "But, instead, they’re being drawn in to solve a two-year-old murder mystery."

Seth Miller, the show's artistic director, said the play is funny, fun and well written, and he enjoys the throwback to the 1940s murder mysteries. This production is part of the Grand Theatre's backstage series, which gives the audience a close, intimate look into the production because of its unique stage setup.

"We put seating risers on the stage," Miller explained. "The audience enters through the backstage loading doors, and you’re seated onstage with the performers, so it’s a much more intimate experience for the production because you’re right there, almost like you’re a part of the show."

Hanson said this play has been one of his favorites for years.

"I think my favorite thing is just how witty it's written and how these characters seem to be completely unrealistic, yet somebody we know at the same time," he said.

While watching the production, Hanson said viewers need to focus intently on the characters. It's a show full of people pretending to be something they’re not.

"Don't assume that anybody is who they say they are until the end of the show," Miller added, "because it kind of does keep you guessing throughout the show."

Hanson and Miller noted that High school and junior high students and educators get in for free to any of the Grand Theatre productions.

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"We love for everybody to come and take advantage of that," Miller said. "And the Grand, we really pride ourselves on local talent. We only showcase our community's talent, and being kind of the community's theatre company is something we really pride ourselves on. We hold open auditions for all our shows; everybody has a chance."

If you go …

What: "The Musical Murders of 1940"

When: Feb. 8-24

Where: Grand Theatre, 1575 S. State St.

How much: $17-$20