Fall Mansion Mysteries at Sonnenberg: The Big Smear

The year is 1913. Prohibition is looming and there is opposition to the male-only vote to incorporate Canandaigua into a city. Suffragettes, those campaigning for women to have the right to vote, are active. A world-famous opera singer is visiting Mrs. Mary Clark Thompson at Sonnenberg. There is a bit of a “Downton Abbey” flair to the Sonnenberg house help and of course, there is a mystery to be solved… This year’s Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park autumn whodunit play, The Big Smear, was written in collaboration by Joanne Vanderven, Wendy Hubert, and Glen Wyand with assistance from Sonnenberg historian Barb Stahl. The 3-act play is approximately 90 minutes of fun and interactive live theater where the audience is invited to interview the actors and cast their votes for the guilty culprit or culprits. New to this year’s drama is an added bit of color to the characters and dialogue that is sure to be familiar to all Downton Abbey fans. The Friday and Saturday night Mansion Mysteries performances start at 7 p.m. and will be held on October 17, 18, 24, and 25. Due to this event’s overwhelming popularity, a Sunday matinee on October 19 at 4 p.m. has been added. Gates open 30 minutes prior to show time and guests will be taken via tram service to the Mansion where the performance will take place. Light refreshments, hors-d’oeuvres, and desserts along with a cash wine bar will be provided. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available. Guests are welcome to further participate, if they so desire, by attending in period costume. Tickets for the shows are $24 for Adults and $20 for Sonnenberg Members or Youths (ages 12 – 18). Advance reservations are required as seating is limited and the shows sell out by performance night. Reservations should be made by phone at (585) 394-4922 or online at www.sonnenberg.org. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park is one of America’s longest surviving estates from the Victorian Era. The elegant Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1887 in Canandaigua by New York City financier Frederick Ferris Thompson, and his wife, Mary Clark Thompson, as a summer home. Between 1901 and 1920, the widowed Mrs. Thompson and her staff created the nine formal gardens seen today. The grounds are open to the public from May 1 through October 31 each year. Sonnenberg is a non-profit organization dependent upon the support of members and sponsors and its dedicated corps of volunteers. For more information on the revival of the grand estate on the “sunny hill,” contact Marketing Coordinator Kimberly Burkard or Executive Director David Hutchings at 585-394-4922.

Also on FingerLakes1.com