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Relive the legend of David Sheely during a Rohs Theater dinner production

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By Josh Shepherd, News writer

After serving a year’s hiatus, David Sheely will once again haunt downtown Cynthiana early next month.

The Rohs Theater Company is reviving its annual “Dinner with David Sheely” dinner theater production at the old jail during the first weekend in September.

The popular show took last year off to generate some new enthusiasm for its return in 2014, said James Smith, producing director for the theater company.

“It’s a popular show, but it is good sometimes to take a break from it,” Smith said.

The strategy appears to have worked. There is already a lot of excitement generated for this season’s edition of the show, Smith said.

Even though the show went on hiatus, over 95 percent of “David Sheely’s” original cast is returning to reprise their roles in one of Harrison County’s most famous and enduring folk tales.

The play is unique. It is an original Rohs Opera House production taken, in part, from the accounts recorded by Harrison County historians Lucinda Boyd and Judge Mac Swinford. While the story remains true to the record, the play takes “modest dramatic license” with specific scenes that the actors perform, Smith said.

“We incorporate the legends and tales that have been passed down for generations since the tragedy.”

Furthermore, “Dinner with David Sheely” is always a work in progress, Smith said. The veteran cast writes and tells their section of the tale, so it is rarely the same play twice, he added.

The dinner, catered by Layne Tussey of The Vault, will be served family style at the table. There will be a large campfire in the middle of the  performance space, so that the entire experience will be in the oral tradition of the time period, Smith said.

 Early ticket sales for the show have been brisk and it may become one of the harder shows to catch this season.

Tickets for the dinner and show are on sale at Biancke’s Restaurant. Cost for the show is $30 which includes the three course dinner and the show.

Space is limited to a maximum of 60 audience members each night, Smith said. So at most, there will be only 120 open seats for the show’s entire 2014 run.

“People are going to be disappointed if they wait until the last minute to buy tickets,” Smith said. “We anticipate an early sell out.”

“Dinner with David Sheely” cast: 

Nancy Sheely - Megan Ritchie

David Sheely - James Smith

Sheriff - Roger Slade

Byrum Marshall - Josh Ritchie

Henry - Greg Shirley

Natty - Phillip Nickerson

The Kid - Ethan Rognstad

Scared boy - Marshall Canupp

Fiddler Bill - Vic Browning

Suitor from Oxford - Mike Bess

Polly - Paula Smith

Doctor - Gil Rognstad

Doctor’s daughter - Angela Curtis

Nancy’s mother - Jenny Hyatt

Sheely children - Nathan Nickerson and Cameron Ritchie