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Interview: Kenny Babel of Sleuths Mystery

Category Show and Tell

|by Melanie Curtsinger |


Kenny Babel (bottom left) said Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show is perfect for date night among many other occasions. In fact, he met his wife, a fellow cast member, at Sleuths.

In 1991, Kenny Babel was a young actor at the Universal Orlando Resort. He needed a ride home from work but his friends had an audition lined up and asked if he wanted to tag along. He said yes, and when they all arrived, he asked if he could jump in and audition as well since he was already there.

They said yes, and even though his friends weren’t hired, he was.

That was 24 years ago, and the show in question was Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show. The rest, as they say, is history.

Even though Babel has worked for Sleuths almost as long as they’ve had their doors open (the show will celebrate 25 years this year in 2015), he still maintains an almost childlike enthusiasm for his job. Working two to three shows per week, in addition to acting roles at Disney, Babel has a true passion for his craft that isn’t easily found in someone who has been in the same field for more than two decades.

So what is it about Sleuths that still makes him eager to come to work every night?

“It’s different every night,” Babel explained. “Every night is different because we have a base script to work on, and even that we are free to play inside of, in that we can come up with our own bits, our own jokes, our own ways to say things.”

While the show involves a lot of improv – in fact, Babel says that this show is the best training possible for an improv actor – the murderers for each show stays the same so that the plots and facts will stay consistent. In total, there are 15 different murder mysteries at Sleuths, and they keep anywhere from seven to nine in rotation at a time. The others are rotated in, and guests can always know which mystery will be solved that night by checking out the Sleuth’s website.

Even if you have seen a particular show before, Babel still emphasizes the uniqueness of each performance.

“You could be seeing the same show, but it’s not the same show at all. So much of it is improv. So much of it is different actors who are all professionals and all work all over the place, and we all get a chance to play and to create. It makes it so much more fun.”

The characters also love to mingle with the crowd, and they throw out tiny bits of information all evening and secret hints that can add up to big pieces of information by the time each person in the crowd is asked the “Who did it?” question.

“You can see how anyone would want to do it,” Babel said, “but it’s looking for those little things that tell you that this person had to be the one to do it.”

While a plethora of people attend Sleuths, Babel also says that there is no specific demographic for the show. From school groups to bachelorette parties to weddings and family or class reunions, they have the smallest of guests all the way up to older couples who attend regularly with season passes. Babel has even made lifelong friends in the audience, people who even attended his own wedding.

His bride, by the way, is also a cast member in the show. Just as he met her at Sleuths, Babel said that the one thing he wished people knew was how great of a date night this show could be.

“It’s a great date. You’re sitting next to them and you interact. There are times when you don’t have to interact because you’re just watching what is going on, so it’s active, it’s passive, you’re at a table with other people, you get to meet other couples and because of that, there’s not a lot of pressure on you. You get to be yourself and you really get to know the person you are with if you don’t know them or really get to enjoy the person if you do.”

Especially on International Drive, where Sleuths is located, date night places are a dime a dozen. And while there are even several other dinner shows in close proximity, Babel says that the Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show has the opportunity to appeal to everyone.

“Out of all the shows I know, this show, more than any of them, hits all the middle marks to where anyone can come see the show. As long as they understand English, they are having a great time!”

For discounted tickets to the Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Show, be sure to check out!

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