DramaCentre will present “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” at 8 p.m. each night from April 18-21 in Weisiger Theatre. The musical will count as a convocation for students.
The production is based on a novel of the same name by Charles Dickens and was unfinished at the time of his death. It became famous as the first Broadway musical with multiple endings, as determined by audience votes.
The Centre cast of the production are excited at the prospect of putting on a different show for each audience.
“The Centre community should see ‘Edwin Drood’ because it is different than any play they will have experienced before,” says cast member Martha Grace Burkey ’14. “There is a great deal of audience/actor interaction and the audience gets a say in how they want the show to end, making them as much a part of plot movement as the performers.”
“Many times we are freely roaming through the aisles and talking with patrons, which is going to be so much fun,” says cast member Steven Maddox ’14.
Students involved in the production also hope people will come to see “Drood” to experience a musical, since DramaCentre only produces one every four years.
“If you miss this musical, you’ll have to wait years for another one!” says cast member Chase Gregory ’12. “But apart from that, you should see it because it’s not really like any show we’ve put on in Weisiger in a while. The concept is that you’re in a late 19th century English music hall that is putting on a play, basically a Dickensian murder mystery melodrama.”
Everyone in the show plays multiple characters—a challenge the students in the production have enjoyed, along with the music, dancing and interactive elements of the production.
“My two favorite things are the music and the fact that it is a play within a play. Every actor has a Charles Dickens character they portray, but they also interact with the audience as their Victorian music hall character,” Burkey says. “The music itself is challenging, unique and catchy, which makes it all the more fun to sing.”
“The acting and the story are outrageous and silly. We encourage the audience to be participants in all this madness both by speaking directly to them and encouraging vocal responses from them—boos, hisses, ahs, shouts of joy, etc,” says Gregory. “I hope it can be something that unites the audience and makes them realize that they are having a common experience. I like to think of it as a Victorian ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’”
And despite being a murder mystery, “Drood” also offers plenty of humor.
“I like the whole style of the play. It’s witty and cornball, over-the-top, but in an endearing way,” Gregory says. “It’s deliberately old-fashioned and goofy, like something the Marx Brothers would make if they lived in the Victorian era.”
“This play is so joyously and unapologetically theatrical and absurd; you can’t hardly help but be taken in by its boisterous charm,” says Lydia Kincaid ’14. “‘Drood’ doesn’t take itself seriously at all.”
Those involved in the production have a consensus that working together has been the best part of the experience.
“My favorite part of the production process has definitely been the opportunity to work with such a talented and professional cast and crew,” says cast member Heath Haden ’15. “Not only are all the actors extremely talented, but—as cliché as it may be—they truly are great people, and getting to work with them every night has been a blessing.”
“The community in the rehearsal room has been phenomenal,” says cast member Bethany Sparks ’12. “For such a large cast, we have a great time together, and have definitely enjoyed playing up the silly melodrama that this show calls for. This is a huge production, and really shows off the artistic, vocal and musical talent of the Centre student body.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and non-Centre students. To reserve tickets or for more information, call 859-236-4692.