There is very little music but a lot of secret passages, mystery, espionage, phony identities and a few dead bodies in “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” which will open Ardmore Little Theatre’s 2019-20 season.
Auditions for this who-done-it, which takes place at a remote country estate where, of course, everyone is trapped by a severe snowstorm, will be held starting at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 12-13 at the Goddard Center.
Performances for the play are scheduled for Sept. 19-22.
Joh Mann of Ardmore, a veteran actor and director for ALT, returns to direct this play’s campy take on those black-and-white murder mystery movies from the 1940s.
She directed “Almost, Maine” for the local troupe last season and “Murdered to Death” the year before, plus multiple previous shows.
Also a playwright, Mann has written, published and directed a number of dinner theatre who-done-it productions over the years.
For Musical Comedy Murders, John Bishop’s script has the creative team from a recent Broadway flop (in which three chorus girls were murdered) assemble for a backer's audition of their new show at the rural manor of a wealthy "angel."
As the composer, lyricist, actors and director prepare their performance and the blizzard cuts off any possible retreat, bodies start to drop in plain sight, knives spring out of nowhere, masked figures drag their victims behind swiveling bookcases, and accusing fingers point in all directions.
Bishop’s script calls for five men and five women, suggested ages ranging from their 20s to beyond middle age, playing a mix of characters mostly involved with show business, household help, and law enforcement or espionage.
A few will need some skill with Irish, German or Italian accents.
The female roles are Helsa, a German housemaid in her 30s; Elsa Von Grossenknueten, the host, wealthy middle-aged woman of Bavarian ancestry; Nikki, attractive young actress in her 20s; Marjorie, the show’s producer, 30s-60s, acts like royalty; and Bernice, the librettist, 40s, a lush with sharp wit and tongue.
Male characters are Kelly, a large middle-aged Irish cop; O’Reilly, an Irish tenor in his early 40s; Ken De la Maize, stereotypical Hollywood director, mid-40s; Eddie, a young comedian trying to get a break in show biz; and Roger, the lyricist, also 40s, outrageous, flamboyant, works with Bernice on creating the show.
Any person who can play the suggested age ranges is welcome to audition. No previous stage experience or training is necessary.
Scripts are available at the Ardmore Little Theatre office at Goddard, 401 First Ave. SW. More information on the characters, the plot, the audition and rehearsal routine is available at the website, on Facebook, or by calling 580-223-6387.
ALT also welcomes volunteers to help with set construction, backstage or front-of-house tasks for the production.