ST. PETERSBURG —Humpty Dumpty, Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, Little Miss Muffet, Goldilocks and Grandma.
What do these famous characters have in common?
They are all the main suspects in the murder mystery dinner “Nursery Crimes” taking place at the Bonefish Grill, 5062 4th St N, on Feb. 12 and 19.
“It’s a welcome addition for St. Pete,” said Elcardo Moore, host and director of the production.
The plot has Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall. After the king’s men arrive and put him back together, they noticed Jack’s pail (of Jack and Jill fame) next to the wall. They also found items belonging to the Three Little Pigs and others. Also involved in the mystery are Bobo (from Yogi Bear) and the Three Bears. During the investigation, details such as Red Riding Hood’s grandma’s relationship with the Big Bad Wolf are brought into light.
“The story shows another side to each character,” Moore, 61, said.
Acting in Off-Broadway plays and even writing some theatrical productions, Moore sees the Whodunit as the most engaging of genres.
“It is an art that people can interact and spurs the curiosity… enjoying the comedy of coming up with the solution,” he said.
Moore said the show will have more laughs than thrills. He wants to invoke the comedy of the past from shows such as “I Love Lucy” and comedians such as Carol Burnett and Tim Conway.
“Their comedy was wholesome and had morals that are not found today,” he stated. “It is something important that needs to come back.”
In between enjoying a four-course meal, guests will join in on the fun by acting in various roles assisted by local professional actors. Moore hopes that the playacting will bring out the audience’s “inner actor.”
“It lets people communicate in a fun and relaxed way,” Moore said.
Coming from St. Louis, Moore owned a master photography business for 30 years. His portraits and wedding photos became so well known that politicians and musicians such as Al Green, Shirley Caesar, Bobby Womack and Dennis Edwards of the “Temptations” came calling.
Moore’s talents also extend to doing voiceovers for commercials and transitional prayer recordings for families of the deceased. He also worked as an extra for TV shows such as “Rerun” and “Amen” starring Sherman Hemsley.
“It has been a wonderful journey,” Moore said, looking back at his career.
Moore studied theology at Charis Bible College in Chicago and became a minister for various churches. He came to St. Petersburg in 2015, seeing it as an opportunity share God’s words.
Moore recently showed both his gifts in 2014 when he joined a missionary group from Charis Bible College to Nicaragua, providing its citizens clothes and food. The group staged Moore’s play titled “Setting the Little Man Free” about a young man’s redemption from alcoholism and thievery.
Moore played a Jesus figure that saves the main character, but instead of the usual robed image, he came out wearing a white uniform. The play, Moore said, entertained the audience, which gave a standing ovation.
“It moved them to see this young man find freedom from alcohol… and see that Jesus can save many in various problems,” Moore said.
He hopes to continue with another mystery dinner titled “Heaven is looking for Elvis,” which involves past entertainers such as Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, among other famous past celebrities.
“We got great entertainment in store,” Moore said.
Tickets for “Nursery Crimes” are $60 per person. For more information or book reservations, contact Moore at (727) 592-2853 or (314) 680-4655.