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“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” at theatre

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 starting at 7:30 PM - Sun, May 05, 2013 starting at 3:00 PM

"Solve-it-yourself" musical-comedy mystery was Dickens' last play; audience choice part of the fun! 

Be prepared for a lively night at Parkland Theatre, where the solve-it-yourself musical-comedy “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” runs April 24 to May 4!

Winner of five Tony Awards including Best Musical and recently greeted on Broadway with a successful revival, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is a zany musical retelling of Charles Dickens’ unfinished mystery. The book, music, and lyrics to “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” were written entirely by Rupert Holmes.

Dallas Street directs a cast comprised of community actors and Parkland students from Champaign-Urbana, Danville, Mahomet, and Fairmount; musical direction is by Aaron Kaplan, with scenic design by Bernard Wolff and costume design by Gregory Duckett. Cast members include Malia Andrus, Harrison Austin, Celine Broussard, Aaron Clark, Jesse Debolt, Jim Dobbs, Tim Kirby, Craig Krukewitt, Grant Morenz, Nic Morse, Chad Myler, Marah Sotelo, Michael Steen, Julia Megan Sullivan, and Julie Volkamer.

Set in an English Music Hall in 1895, a troupe of actors from the Music Hall Royale present their musical version of ‘Drood’ up to the point where Dickens unfortunately died before completing his tale. Unanswered questions and outcomes then get turned over to the audience to vote on nightly!

The show’s ending differs from night to night depending on the audience’s whim; the frantic actors must be prepared to present numerous variations of the show’s endings. These include stepping in as a detective, performing their personalized murderer’s confession, and even instantly falling in love and singing a love duet. Filled with soaring, passionate melodies and crowd-pleasing music hall numbers, this unique theatrical experience is sure to please.

Calling the show “wildly unpredictable and extremely clever,” Street says he has “always been fascinated by ‘Drood.’ The notion that the outcome changes from night to night is such an amazing concept. I can only imagine how nerve-wracking it must be for an actor to not know whether or not they will get to step center stage and sing their tailor-made murderer’s confession. This show really has everything -- comedy, drama, dance, beautiful sets, lighting, and costumes, and an extremely talented cast of actors and singers!”

Street said audience members will want to arrive a little early to interact with the cast before the show. “I’m sure many of the characters will want to get on the audience’s good side and ‘campaign’ for votes prior to the opening curtain,” he said.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on April 24, 25, 26 and 27 and May 2, 3 and 4. There will be two matinees: Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m.

Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for students and seniors (55+), $8 for Youth 12 and under, and only $10 each for groups of 15 or more.

Parkland Theatre continues their guarantee of affordable theatre for everyone by offering their “pay what you can night” on Wednesday, April 24 and “half-price night” on Thursday, May 2. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made online at www.parkland.edu/theatre or by calling 217/351-2528.

While the Parkland Theatre considers “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” appropriate for mature kids and up, the story does contain some mild adult themes which were inherent in Dickens’ original story. Parents should email theatre@parkland.edu for details.

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