Beavercreek Community Theatre
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One hundred forty one years ago today (08 June 1870) Charles Dickens suffered a stroke. The next day: dead. His last novel: unfinished.
Flash forward those 141 years (+a couple days): the audiences at Beavercreek Community Theatre will get an opportunity to determine how the plot of Dickens’ incomplete The Mystery of Edwin Drood concludes.
The novel was adapted into a Tony Award winning musical comedy in the mid-eighties by Rupert Holmes. The playwright put a unique twist on the show, by writing multiple endings that requires the audience to make choices about various characters and actions, choosing a murderer, a detective and other various participants and events that lead up to the ending. This sounds like an entertaining whodunit musical for the audience, but on the other side of the curtain…it sounds like a lot of work! Multiple endings to learn, different songs to perfect, and multiple sets of blocking and choreography to refine all must lead to hours upon hours of rehearsal devoted just the last few minutes of the production.
The show is described as a hilariously loony Victorian musical troupe takes over the stage for its production of a flamboyant rendition of an unfinished Dickens mystery.
It’s the story of John Jasper, a Jekyll-and-Hyde choirmaster portrayed by Jonathan Berry of Centerville. He is madly in love with his music student, the fair Miss Rosa Bud, played by Bethany Reid Locklear of Englewood. She, in turn, is engaged to Jasper’s nephew, young Edwin Drood, portrayed by Amy Leigh of Kettering.
onStageDayton contacted director and scenic designer Chris Harmon with a few questions about the show:
onStageDayton: The Mystery of Edwing Drood is not a title commonly found on season schedules in the area, what drew you to the script?
Chris Harmon: I saw The Mystery of Edwin Drood performed at the Victoria by the Human Race around 1995, I went out and bought the original Broadway cast cd and have listened to it ever since. Last year I became a member of the play selection committee at BCT and it happened to be on the list and I was immediately interested in directing it.
oSD: The show has a few unique aspects, such as the audience participation and the “show-within-a-show” concept. What kind of complications did these create for rehearsals?
CH: The audience gets to choose the detective, murderer and lovers in the show. There are so many possible combinations which make the show’s ending fresh and new every night. I am lucky to have amazing actors who took the initiative to learn their possible parts so well. The endings can’t help but to be under-rehearsed, since it would be impossible to run them all every night. It saddens me that only having 6 performances, some of the possible murderer’s will not even get a chance.
oSD: You have developed a terrific reputation as a director and scenic designer in the Miami Valley…what was your approach in your designs for this show? How did you come up with the concept & how do you go about making your design come to life?
CH: Drood is set just before the turn of the century in “The Music Hall Royale”. My inspiration for the set was actually the first place i saw the show, The Victoria Theatre. Drood is a show within a show, so the Grand Drape is used for the scene changes, so I created a music hall thrust to have enough playing space for the actors in front of the curtain. I am a very visual person and when reading a script or listening to the music, I get a picture in mind instantly, the hard part is figuring out how to execute the designs within budget and time frame.
oSD: What is your next project?
CH: My next project is directing Camp Rock at Town Hall Theatre (where i am the resident scenic artist). In community theatre I am directing Evil Dead and Chicago at BCT next season and could not be more excited about it. I am thrilled to be working with Annette Looper as choreographer for both of these.
The cast of unique and zany characters also includes Bryan Wilcox of Riverside, Jeremy D. King of West Carrollton, Jim Lockwood of Huber Heights, Lindsay Sherman of Bellbrook, Matt Owens of Beavercreek, Tara Nichole Murphy of Miamisburg, Pam McGinnis of Oakwood, Charles Larkowski and Megan Vander Kolk of Fairborn and Dayton residents, Dean Swann, Jenna Burnette, Jennifer Wilson, Michael J. Stockstill, Nicole Dine, Thomas Cole Schreier and Shawn Hooks.
Besides Chris Harmon, the production staff includes Annette Looper of Centerville as choreographer, Dr. James Tipps of Beavercreek as music director, and Kristie Lickliter of Fairborn filling the role of stage manager.
John Falkenbach of Dayton is the lighting designer, Brad Mattingly of Franklin is the orchestra director, Hans Unser of Beavercreek is the stage assistant and assistant set builder and Diana Blowers of Beavercreek is the producer.
-SA/BCT Press Release
We encourage local theatre companies to submit calendar items HERE, and official press releases to onStageDayton@DaytonMostMetro.com.
Tickets & Performance Information:
8pm on Fridays & Saturdays / 3pm on Sundays
Tickets are $12 for adults and $11 for members, students and senior citizens.
A group discount of $1 per ticket is available to groups of 10 or more, when purchased at the same time for the same performance.
Tickets can be reserved by calling (937) 429-4737 and leaving a message or by e-mailing email@example.com. For more information, visit the theater’s Web site at www.bctheatre.org where tickets can also be purchased online.
Beavercreek Community Theatre is located within the Lofino Adult Enrichment and Cultural Arts Center at 3868 Dayton-Xenia Road in Beavercreek.
The show, which will be presented at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays from June 10 through June 19, is actually a show within the show.
Win Free Tickets!
Beavercreek Community Theatre & onStageDayton on DaytonMostMetro.com have teamed up to give you a chance to win tickets to The Mystery of Edwin Drood! We will be giving away up to SIX pairs of tickets…We’ll select 1 winner (of a set of tickets) for every 5 FB/Twitter Shares! All you need to do is:
- Share this article on Facebook or Twitter…just click the appropriate button at the top of this page.
- Fill out the contact form at the bottom of this post.
- The deadline to enter is Noon on SATURDAY, June 11th.
- Winners will be selected randomly from all of the entries.