Nov. 03, 2010

College to stage Edwin Drood mystery

Edwin Drood poster

Who killed Edwin Drood?

It's a conundrum since author Charles Dickens died before finishing his final novel, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," but playwrights and theater companies have ventured to solve the case by staging the unfinished work using the unconventional idea of allowing the audience to decide which character is the murderer.

The college stages Rupert Holmes' popular version of the musical comedy Nov. 17 through 20 at 8 p.m. in Brodie Hall's Alice Austin Theatre. Director and choreographer Melanie Blood, professor of theater, selected the production because of the range of roles for students and the great challenge of creating a piece so heavily dependent on the audience.

"The fictional Music Hall Royale provides a play within a play framework for the staging of Dickens' last work," says Blood. "Every night the audience of the music hall votes on the key mysteries Dickens left unsolved, making for a substantially different show at each performance."

The production's many leading roles offer student actors the challenge of creating double roles. Each student plays a Music Hall Royale performer who then takes a role in the Dickens story. The role of Edwin Drood is performed by the Music Hall male impersonator Alice Nutting, both created by musical theatre major Lauren Alaimo '11.

The music will be performed by a primarily student orchestra. Instructional Support Specialist Alan Case is accompanying the production and assisting with vocal coaching. Faculty designers are Steve Stubblefield and Associate Professor Johnnie Ferrell and Visiting Assitant Professor Crystal Ferrell.

The production is produced by the School of the Arts with the Musical Theatre Club, a Student Association group funded by mandatory student fees. Tickets are available in the MacVittie Student Union box office, (585) 245-5873, or online. After 4 p.m. on the day of performance, tickets will be available at the door for cash or check only. Prices are $8 for students, $9 for faculty/staff, and $10 for the general public.