“Mobsters & Molls” to be presented April 13, featuring Russell Shorto

“Mobsters & Molls” to be presented April 13, featuring Russell Shorto

Posted: March 11, 2024 11:13 am

There’s been a murder at the museum, and JAHA needs the public’s help to solve it! An interactive murder mystery, “Mobsters & Molls: A Murder Mystery at the Heritage Discovery Center” will take place at 7:00 pm on Sat., Apr. 13, featuring Russell Shorto as celebrity detective.

In this fundraiser, participants will tour the museum in teams of 4-6 and try to solve the mystery, while actors present the story. Set in the roaring 20s during Prohibition, Mickey Scapone is the boss of the largest gang responsible for importing alcohol. He owns Germania, arguably the most popular speakeasy in Johnstown. From bodyguards to sassy jazz singers, alcohol to fine dining, this hip club has everything.

Except Scapone, that is – the big boss himself has been found murdered.

Tamera Gindlesperger Fisher will direct an all-star cast that includes Randy Jeffries, Ben Berkebile, Christina Fosbrink, Cassidy Polacek, and Troy Smajda. Clues will be placed all over the museum, while participants move through and question the suspects. The renowned author Russell Shorto will play the part of the detective, and will be on hand to reveal the solution. The winning team will receive autographed copies of Shorto’s book, “Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob.”

“Initial reaction to this event has been incredibly positive – we think this evening is going to be so much fun,” said Deb Winterscheidt, development director for JAHA. “We’re so grateful to Russell Shorto and the rest of the cast for being willing to be part of the evening.”

Fiddlin’ Ray Bruckman will provide era-appropriate music for the evening.

The evening will include heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Roaring 20s attire is encouraged.

Tickets are $65 for JAHA members, $75 for non-members, and are available online at jaha.org. Sponsorships that include tickets to a private pre-event cocktail reception with Russell Shorto are also available.

To ensure your placement on a team with friends, participants can purchase tickets in one transaction or contact Deb Winterscheidt at 814-539-1889 x315. Sponsorships are also available, as listed below (or you can download a sponsorship form, here, or contact Deb).

About the players:

Tamera Gindlesperger Fisher, director: Tamera got her start at The Mountain Playhouse in 1985 and was most recently cast in their 2023 summer production of Nunsense. She has been seen in numerous film and television spots including Strangers With Candy, The Conan O’Brien Show, Manna From Heaven, All My Children, and her favorite and most local role…Missy Kreitzer, in the internet comedy series Greg and Donny, which won the IFC Out of the Box award at the New York Television Festival. Tamera is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She is currently the director of the North Star High School Musical and executive director of The Mandatory Theater Company.

Russell Shorto, celebrity detective: Russell Shorto, who grew up in Johnstown, is the author of seven books, including Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City and the national bestseller The Island at the Center of the World. His latest book, Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob is a poignant family memoir of small-town Sicilian mob and generational secrets. His books have been published in 14 languages and have won numerous awards. In 2009, he was awarded a knighthood from the Dutch government for advancing Dutch-American historical awareness, and he is a senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute in Albany, NY. Russell is also a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, and in 2018, he was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.

Fiddlin’ Ray Bruckman: A native of Stahlstown, PA, Ray Bruckman first picked up a fiddle at age 11 and has since played with 18 different regional bands, including Brush Creek, Grand Ole Ditch and Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers. He has been awarded Pennsylvania state fiddle, mandolin and guitar champion. His current projects include Fiddlin’ Ray & the Turtle Snatchers and the Folk ‘Em All Trio.