A Musical by Rupert Holmes
Based on the Unfinished Novel by Charles Dickens
Stage Direction by Scott Evan Guggenheim
Musical Direction by Stephen Guggenheim
Choreography by Jennifer Copaken
Running length: 2 hrs 30 minutes including intermission
Charles Dickens’ final novel was entitled, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. There was just one small problem with the murder mystery: the author died before it was completed! As a result, the reader never knew the true fate that Dickens had intended for his beloved title character…until now!
“Boisterous and delectable. Shimmering musical pleasure to savor.” —The New York Times
Rupert Holmes’ award-winning musical takes audience participation to new heights and solves this predicament by asking the audience to choose which character is the killer by putting it to a vote. It is a hilarious, interactive whodunit mystery musical that allows the audience to enter the action and become the ultimate detectives.
In the small town of Chesterham, England, the young and charming Edwin Drood has been mysteriously murdered. But by whom? His leering romantic rival, John Jasper? The infamous purveyor of opium and vice, Princess Puffer? The mysterious Landless twins, newly arrived from Ceylon? Or someone else even more dastardly and villainous? Dickens passed away before he was able to reveal the culprit.
“An exuberant romp” —Variety
Staged in meta-theatrical manner by the Music Hall Royale, a traveling Victorian theatre troupe full of just as many colorful characters as the roles they play, this charming and inventive musical is sure to intrigue and entertain any musical or mystery lover.
The mad-cap adventure is hosted by none other than the amicable emcee, Chairman William Cartwright (Benjamin Pither*.) He has the unenviable task to serpentine the audience among the tangled web of possible murder suspects each night as they helpfully hint, cleverly clue at and mischievously mislead patrons through the preposterously plausible plots, each accompanied by, you guessed it, SONG AND DANCE! Dickens’ directory of desperados are John Jasper (Stephen Guggenheim*), a Jekyll & Hyde choirmaster who is “madly” in love with his prize music pupil, the “fair” Miss Rosa Bud (portrayed by Theresa Swain). However, Miss Budd is betrothed to Jasper’s nephew and title character, young Edwin Drood (Hayley Lovgren).
“A hit! Sheer fun!” —The Wall Street Journal
Not to be overlooked is the “righteous” Reverend Crisparkle (Jackson Davis*) and his charges, the “secretly revengeful” foreigner Neville Landless (F. James Raasch) and his “tempestuous twin sister” Helena (Amy Bouchard). Along the way, we also encounter “poppy-purveyor” Princess Puffer (Krista Wigle*), the “drunken stonemason” Durdles (Daniel Barrington Rubio*) , his sister, Deputy (Lillian Guggenheim) and the often overlooked understudy Bazzard (Jeremy Kreamer*).
The show is staged as a play-within-a-play, with each performer portraying a fictional English actor who, in turn, portrays a Dickens character. Set in the style of a Victorian music hall at Christmastime, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a meta-theatrical event that invites the audience to participate in the show as the actors stage a play-within-a-play.
“Jolly good fun!” —Time Out New York
During the show, audience members are encouraged to sing, clap and interact with the actors, culminating in an audience vote for the show’s ending. The bulk of the show is a madcap comedy with colorful characters and musical numbers styled in the vein of traditional British pantos.
Though young children may have difficulty understanding the Dickensian dialogue, they will eat up the audience participation element of the show, which includes voting, clapping, singing along and interacting with the characters onstage. There is some sexually suggestive choreography and dialogue (as well as one or two utterances of the word “sh–“). Drood is a bright, bouncy show that older children should enjoy however live theatre performances are often not appreciated by very young children, who may become disruptive to other patrons.
Presented by arrangement with Tams Whitmark Music Library, Inc.
Production Photography by Mark & Tracy Photography
* Member, Actors’ Equity Association