|For the first time in its 27 year history, Mystery Cafe is under new management
There aren’t many independently owned theater companies that can say they’ve been around ten years. Never mind fifteen. You can pretty much forget twenty. Twenty-five? Practically unheard of.
And yet, for 27 years Mystery Café has been entertaining audiences in the Twin Cities with it’s particular brand of over-the-top, fast-paced comedy. All under the leadership of its founder, Lee Adams.
But after nearly 3 decades, Adams is stepping down as the owner of The Mystery Café. He’s certainly not retiring from the business of theater, however, he is passing the torch and ownership of the company to longtime friend and collaborator Brian Kelly.
“It’s been my whole life since I was 23 years old, but I feel like I’ve taken it as far as I can take it,” Adams said, “Over the years, it’s been hard to separate me from the Mystery Café, but I think it’s time that this thing that I love has an opportunity to grow and benefit from an energy and vision beyond my own.”
Adams first cast Kelly in Mystery Café in 1995. Said Adams, “It’s funny, I can remember in that first show giving him the most basic of actor notes. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but fast forward to now, and he’s toured the country and beyond with “Triple Espresso”, performed for years with ComedySportz as well as Mystery Café…it’s like he’s spent 20 years interning for this very specific job. I’m really excited to see where he takes this thing.”
Kelly refers to Adams as a mentor. “I was pretty green when I started with Mystery,” Kelly said. “ComedySportz and other improv groups taught me that I could be funny. But it’s Mystery Café where I learned some real chops, and that’s all from working with Lee.”
When asked about the direction of the company, Kelly spoke of maintaining the spirit and quality of Adams’ vision. “There will be new shows written, certainly, and some new ideas to explore,” Kelly said, “From an audience perspective, the change may not be hugely evident. Lee has always taken great pride in producing quality material, and in hiring top comedic talent, and I intend to do the same. We have a great bunch of returning actors, and some new talent this coming season that I’m really excited about. My main goal is simply to infuse some new energy into our shows.”
One long-time cast member, Dan Rooney, had this to say; “Lee is leaving at the top of his game, and those are some huge shoes to fill. It takes a unique blend of talent and passion to do what Lee does, but I have to say, Brian is the perfect person to take up that mantle.”
Mystery Café also announced its 2016-17 schedule with “The eX-Feds,” a new show written by Adams & Kelly, “Mobsters Inc,” a revival from the Mystery Café vaults, and their perennial corporate show, “Let’s Kill the Boss.” Shows are performed in Bloomington and Ham Lake. More information can be found at www.themysteryCafe.com.