By Derek Hulse
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, readers never knew the true fate that Dickens had intended for his beloved title character…until now! Spring Lake Theatre Company is thrilled to present Rupert Holmes’ solve-it-yourself musical comedy wherein the murderer is selected at the end of the night by audience vote. That’s right! Each night, ticket holders to this show-within-a-show will get to choose from hundreds of combinations of endings and select who they want to see as the perceptive detective, the bitter killer and even the spontaneous love interests.
The winner of five Tony awards including Best Musical, DROOD is set on London’s rustic, yet regal, stage of “The Music Hall Royale”. Even before the play begins, theatre-goers will be greeted and swayed by members of the cast milling about the historic auditorium vying early for audience approval and perhaps (later on) their vote! Joining them for the mad-cap adventure is everyone’s amicable emcee, Chairman William Cartwright portrayed by iconic Doug Moore of Brick, appearing in his 78th production with SLTC. 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 yep, you guessed it, SONG AND DANCE!
Rounding out Dickens’ directory of desperados are John Jasper (Andrew Ferrie of Point Pleasant), a Jekyll & Hyde choirmaster who is “madly” in love with his prize music pupil, the “fair” Miss Rosa Bud (Colleen Hulse of Point Pleasant). However, Miss Budd is betrothed to Jasper’s nephew and title character, young Edwin Drood (Kaitlyn Holloway of Point Pleasant). Not to be overlooked is the “righteous” Reverend Crisparkle (Karl Loveland of Metuchen) and his charges, the “secretly revengeful” foreigner Neville Landless (Kelvin Ortega of Bayville) and his “tempestuous twin sister” Helena (Lauren Cooke of Freehold). Along the way, we also encounter “poppy-purveyor” Princess Puffer (Jennifer Grasso of Highlands), the “drunken stonemason” Durdles (Claude Schminke of Farmingdale) and the often overlooked understudy Bazzard (Ian Kearns of Point Pleasant who recently starred in SLTC’s production of One Man, Two Guvnors).
So, whodunit?! The choice is yours! Make your vote truly count this election season and together, we can make musical theatre great again!
SHOW DATES: April 8, 9, 15, 16*, 22, 23*, 2016 8PM CURTAIN *2PM / 8PM CURTAIN