Community Players to Present ‘Murder On the Orient Express’

The ensemble of “Murder On the Orient Express” (L to R Back Row: Merle Jobman, Jenny Sutphin, Mark Geist, Dylan Warren, Morgan Fox, Ashley Hothan, Vicki Cain. L to R Front Row: Diane Kahnk, Zoe Tien, Scott Clark.)

Community Players Proudly Present:

Murder on the Orient Express
Adapted by Ken Ludwig from a novel by Agatha Christie

Directed by: Rachele Stoops

Venue: Community Players (412 Ella St, Beatrice, NE)
Show Dates: Feb 10-19, 2023
Showtimes: Fri-Sat at 7:30pm. Sundays at 2pm

Synopsis
On the snowbound Orient Express, an American tycoon lies dead in his locked train compartment. With a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must expose the murderer before tragedy strikes again! Thrills and laughs abound in Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of this classic mystery by Agatha Christie.

Tickets go on sale Jan 30, 2023 and can be purchased at www.beatricecommunityplayers.com.

Cast
Scott Clark as Hercule Poirot
Merle Jobman as Monsieur Bouc
Morgan Fox as Megan Debenham
Mark Geist as Col. Arbuthnot/Samuel Ratchett
Ashley Hothan as Greta Ohlsson
Diane Kahnk as Princess Dragomiroff
Jenny Sutphin as Countess A’ndrenyi
Zoe Tien as Helen Hubbard
Vicki Cain as Michele
Dylan Warren as MacQueen

Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre Announces 2023 Auditions

Arrow Rock, MO–Local auditions, held at the Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, will take place on Thursday, February 23 and Friday, February 24 from 11AM-6PM. Please email headshots and resumes and audition time preference to casting@lyceumtheatre.org. No phone calls please. All auditions are by appointment only. Please prepare 16 bars of 2 contrasting songs or a brief monologue. An accompanist will be provided. All levels of experience are welcome. A Lyceum representative will be in touch to confirm your time slot. We are not accepting video auditions at this time.

Equity Principal Audition (EPA) Procedures are in effect for this audition. An Equity Monitor will not be provided. The producer will run all aspects of this audition. The Lyceum is committed to diversity and encourages performers of all ethnicities, gender identities, and ages, as well as performers with disabilities, to attend.

New York Casting will be handled by Jason Styres, THE CASTING COLLABORATIVE.

2023 Season

The Addams Family
June 9-23

BOOK BY MARSHALL BRICKMAN AND RICK ELICE
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY ANDREW LIPPA
BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY CHARLES ADDAMS

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious, and spooky—and now they are the stars of a hilariously ghoulish musical! Storm clouds are gathering over the Addams family’s mansion as Gomez faces every father’s nightmare: his daughter, Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness, has fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. And if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Gomez must do something he’s never done before– keep the secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. One thing is certain: the Addams family will never be the same.

Beautiful–The Carole King Musical
June 30-July 9

BOOK BY DOUGLAS MCGRATH
WORDS AND MUSIC BY GERRY GOFFIN & CAROLE KING, BARRY MANN & CYNTHIA WEIL
MUSIC BY ARRANGEMENT WITH SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING
ORCHESTRATIONS, VOCAL AND INCIDENTAL MUSIC ARRANGEMENTS STEVE SIDWELL
ORIGINALLY PRODUCED ON BROADWAY BY PAUL BLAKE, SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING, MIKE BOSNER

Before she was hit-maker Carole King — she was Carole Klein, a spunky, young songwriter from Brooklyn with a unique voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics Carole King wrote for the biggest acts in music, to her own life-changing, chart-busting success, Beautiful takes you back to where it all began—and takes you on the ride of a lifetime. Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember—and the story you’ll never forget.

State Fair
July 21-30

MUSIC BY RICHARD RODGERS
LYRICS BY OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
BOOK BY TOM BRIGGS AND LOUIS MATTIOLI
BASED ON THE SCREENPLAY BY OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II AND THE NOVEL BY PHIL STONG

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical written directly for the screen is now a Broadway musical! Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair travels with the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Pop have their hearts set on blue ribbons, while their children Margy and Wayne find romance and heartbreak on the midway. Set to the magical strains of an Academy Award-winning score and augmented by other titles from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook, State Fair is the kind of warmhearted family entertainment only Rodgers & Hammerstein could deliver!

Laughter On the 23rd Floor
Aug 18-27

BY NEIL SIMON

A love letter to his early career as a TV writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows alongside the likes of comedy legends Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor follows the roller coaster antics of a not-your-average 1950s writers’ room, as they frantically attempt to please their larger-than-life boss. Frantically scrambling to top each other with hilarious gags while battling with studio executives who fear the show’s humor is too sophisticated for Middle America, the writing and fighting of the team expose the social and political undercurrents of the 1950s.

The Mousetrap
Sept 8-17

BY AGATHA CHRISTIE

From the Grand Dame of mystery, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap holds the world record for the longest running production, mesmerizing audiences for more than sixty years. Monkswell Manor welcomes a group of strangers in the midst of a snowstorm and on the heels of a murder in town. It soon becomes clear that the killer is among them, and the strangers grow increasingly suspicious of one another. A police detective, arriving on skis, interrogates the suspects: the newlyweds running the house; a spinster with a curious background; an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef; a retired Army major; a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift; and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. When a second murder takes place, tensions and fears escalate. Will the identity of the murderer be revealed before they strike again?! The Mousetrap’s riveting plot will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

Bright Star
Sept 29-Oct 8

MUSIC, BOOK & STORY BY STEVE MARTIN
MUSIC, LYRICS & STORY BY EDIE BRICKELL

Inspired by a true story and featuring the Tony®-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway’s Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past—and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. With beautiful bluegrass melodies and powerfully moving characters, Bright Star unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion. An uplifting and nostalgic theatrical journey that holds you tightly in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces 2023 Auditions

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces Auditions for 2023 Season

In-Person Auditions – February 18th:

Auditions will be held by appointment on Saturday, February 18 at The Cedar Street Playhouse, home of Ozark Actors Theatre. 701 N. Cedar St., Rolla, MO 65401

To schedule an audition time, please follow this link.

Video Recorded Auditions – due February 15th:

Video auditions must be sent to casting@ozarkactorstheatre.org and received by February 15th.

What to prepare:

For your in-person or video recorded audition, please prepare a monologue and short song selection that show off your vocal range and storytelling abilities – no more than 2 mins long. Material from the season is acceptable and encouraged.

​Ozark Actors Theatre and Actors Equity Association’s contracts prohibit discrimination. AEA is committed to diversity and encourages all its employers to engage in a policies of equal employment opportunity designed to promote a positive model of inclusion. As such, AEA and OAT encourage performers of all ethnicities, gender identities, and ages, as well as performers with disabilities, to submit auditions.

​Questions or accommodations:

Please contact casting@ozarkactorstheatre.org

Play Summaries & Character Descriptions

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Rehearsal: May 30 – June 14

Performance: June 15 – 25

Director: TBD

Music Director: TBD

Choreographer: TBD

Summary:

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER won 4 Tony Awards, 7 Drama Desk Awards, AND it was nominated for a Grammy! This production is a hilarious farce following a young man’s luck at the prospect of inheriting a fortune, but he has 9 relatives ahead of him in the inheritance. This production will give one actor the opportunity to die 90 times on the OAT stage in this incredible comedy!

Character descriptions:

  • The D’Ysquith Family -The principal conceit of Gentleman’s Guide is that one actor plays all members of the D’Ysquith family. As such the actor portraying the D’Ysquiths must have a tremendous and transformational acting ability. Actor should have strong physical comedic skills and accent ability to help establish and differentiate multiple characters. Must have stamina to carry the different characters throughout the show and make extraordinarily quick costume changes.
    • Age: 30s to 50s
  • Monty Navarro – charismatic and cunning enough to ingratiate himself with both the audience and his prospective victims. He is a leading man, and often, the straight man, in the show. Monty should also have excellent physical comedy skills to adequately play along with the D’Ysquiths in their various incarnations. Charming and handsome, Monty is not upper class but has no trouble blending in with high society.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Sibella Hallward – A beautiful and flirtatious social climber, Sibella has true affection for Monty but also true affection for social status. Sibella is smart, funny and stylish and, as far as relationships are concerned, she wants to have her cake and eat it too.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Phoebe D’Ysquith – Monty’s cousin. Phoebe was raised high class with idealistic fantasies of love. As beautiful as Sibella, Phoebe foils Sibella in her interest in love over status, and a desire to find the true virtue in people. Though she is smart and earnest, she can also be naive. Must be an excellent singer with a legit, possibly operatic sound. A true soprano.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Miss Shingle – Monty’s unexpected visitor. Sneaky and mysterious, Miss Shingle has an obvious sense of justice. She comes to tell Monty the secret of his D’Ysquith lineage with a pivotal song in Act 1 that sets up the story of the show. Actress should be a supreme and interesting character actress with a vocal style to match.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 40s to 60s
  • The Ensemble – A group of strong and dynamic musical theatre performers who all play multiple featured roles. These actors will play 40+ roles including: Lady Eugenia, Miss Barley, Tom Copley, Detective Pinckney, The Magistrate, various clerks, newsboys, ancestors, maids, actors and many others. All Ensemble members are expected to be comfortable with some movement. Expected to work with the directing team to create dynamic characters.
    • Age: 16 to 99
    • Ensemble Vocal Ranges:
      • Soprano (coloratura) Ab4 Bb6
      • Mezzo Bb4 G5
      • Alto Gb3 Gb5
      • Tenor Ab3 B5
      • Baritone Ab3 G#4
      • Bass C2 G#4

Sunday in the Park with George

Rehearsals: June 19 – July 5

Performances: July 6 – 16

Director: Blane Pressler

Music Director: TBD

Summary:

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE follows the story of the famous pointillist painter Georges Seurat. A fictional retelling of the painter and his immersive existence in creating a masterpiece. One of only 8 musicals ever to have won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It was also nominated for 10 Tony awards and has had two major Broadway revivals. At OAT it will be under the direction of Artistic Director, Blane Pressler.

Character descriptions:

  • George – In Act 1: George Seurat, a rather cold artist obsessed with his work at the cost of his personal life. Constantly troubled and borderline obsessive. Act 2: Seurat’s burnt-out descendant and inventor-sculpture searching for his purpose.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 25 to 40
  • Dot/Marie – As Dot, George’s headstrong mistress and occasional model so discontent with their relationship that she eventually leaves him. Age: 20 to 40. As Marie, George’s elderly wheelchair bound grandmother who helps him connect to his artistry through her grammar book notes.
    • Gender: Female identifying
  • Old Lady – George’s mother. A cranky and rather demanding fixture in the park. She is able to find solace in nostalgia and inspires George to find order in his art. Doubling as BLAIR DANIELS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 60 to 80
  • Nurse – The Old Lady’s attendant. She is calming and assertive. Doublings include HARRIET PAWLING and MRS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 40 to 60
  • Jules – A rival artist. Callous, critical, and ultimately shallow. He forces Frieda to engage in extramarital affairs. Doubling as BOB GREENBERG.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 25 to 45
  • Yvonne – Jules’ pampered wife. She is as snippy and snooty as her husband. Doubling as NAOMI EISEN.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 25 to 35
  • Boatman – A surly, blue-collared laborer, simple-minded and slovenly. Doubling as CHARLES REDMOND.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 35 to 60
  • Celeste #1 – A young shop girl, gossipy and flirtatious. Her friendship with the other Celeste is strained when they fight over the Soldier and his companion. Optional Doubling as A WAITRESS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 18 to 30
  • Celeste #2 – Another young shop girl, gossipy and flirtatious. Her friendship with the other Celeste is strained when they fight over the Soldier and his companion. Doubling as ELAINE.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 18 to 30
  • Louise – Jules and Yvonne’s spoiled little girl. She faces neglect and abuse from her parents, despite being honest. Doubling as BOY.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 8 to 12
  • Franz – Jules’s German coachman and Freida’s husband. Disgruntled with his job. Has a bit of a temper and secretly yearns for the Nurse. Optional Doubling as DENNIS.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 30 to 50
  • Frieda – As Frieda, Jules and Yvonne’s cook and Franz’s wife. Caring and positive as a surrogate nanny to Louise. Forced by Jules into an affair. Doublings include BETTY and YOUNG MAN.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 35 to 55
  • Soldier – A French military man, polite and gentlemanly. Close with his companion, though he yearns for a separation. Doubling as ALEX.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 20 to 35
  • Louis – A baker who Dot starts seeing to make George jealous. Kind, friendly, and very popular, but a bit dull. Doublings include BILLY WEBSTER and MAN.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 35 to 55

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville

Director: Suzanne Withem

Rehearsals: July 11 – 26

Performances July 27 – August 6

Summary: 

BASKERVILLE A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY comes from multi-award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig and follows Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson cracking the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” With an original piano score by Jeff Horger and direction by our own Suzanne Withem, our intrepid investigators will take the stage at OAT portraying more than 40 characters!

Character descriptions:

  • Sherlock Holmes – The world’s greatest detective is sophisticated, quick-witted, and passionate. He is an English gentleman who is very precise in speech and manner. A strong standard British or RP dialect is required. This actor plays only one role.
    • Gender: The character will be portrayed as male, but all genders will be considered.
    • Age: 25-40

​​

  • Dr. John Watson – A kind amiable doctor and Sherlock Holmes’s faithful sidekick. A man of action, intellect and deep emotion. He is also very British. A strong standard British or RP dialect is required. This actor plays only one role.
    • Gender: The character will be portrayed as male, but all genders will be considered.
    • Age: 25-40

​​

  • Actor 1 – Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily the male-identifying villains and baddies. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: Any

​​

  • Actor 2 – Plays nearly a dozen characters – primarily male-identifying heroes and gentlemen. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: Any
  • Actor 3 – Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily female-identifying maids, nurses, and damsels in distress. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: Any

​​

  • Roustabouts and Foley Artists- These two or three nonspeaking roles will assist with scene changes, participate in comedy bits, and serve as Foley artists providing live sound effects for the production from onstage. They should be creative problem solvers adept at physical comedy and familiar with silent storytelling. They are vital to the success of keeping the “trunk show” design of the production moving forward and creating the world of the theatre in which the play is performed.
    • Any Gender
    • Any Age

The Lies We Weave

After breaking into the home of the Hailsham-Browns, a shady character is murdered.  For reasons of her own, the lady of the house tries to cover up the crime, but a relentless police inspector is bound and determined to bring the truth to light.  This is Spider’s Web and it is currently playing at Bellevue Little Theatre.

As an actor I understand the importance and the struggle of avoiding typecasting.  Actors often yearn for the opportunity to play something different from what brought them to the table for a change of pace, the challenge, etc.  In a sense, this play is Agatha Christie’s attempt to avoid being typed solely as a mystery writer.

Seeking to play a different role from the sinister characters for which she had become known, Margaret Lockwood requested Christie write a little comedy thriller for her.  Christie laid a little too much into the comedy side of things.  Had she brought her legendary gift for plotting into the mix, I think the show would have been better served.  What we have is a comedy with just the barest trappings of a mystery.

This particular production is boosted by two things.

  1. Christie’s gift for unique characters remains intact.
  2. A cast and director who found every bit of gold in the story and elevated it based on talent and effort.

Indeed, Christopher Scott shows an extraordinary level of theatre acumen in his direction of this piece.  He leans heavily into the character work and makes certain that all of his performers have well-defined characters who are grounded in reality, even with their quirks.  Scott crafts some fine moments of tension and shock with the murder scene being of a particularly fine vintage.  Some of my favorite moments were the slamming of drawers and the ominous sliding open of a secret passage just so I could hear the audible reactions of the audience member sitting in front of me.  Scott keeps the pace up as well as could be done as this show is just crammed with dialogue, especially in the lengthy first act and has his actors lean into the comedy which helped add vitality to long stretches of dry dialogue.

There isn’t a weak tire in the cast and you’ll see some fine character performances from Dennis Stessman as a very proper butler who knows how to make an exit.  At the age of 14, Lilli Westman has a sense of comfort on stage equitable to veteran adults which makes her Pippa a joy to watch.  Jon Roberson serves as a beacon of normalcy as the steady Henry Hailsham-Brown.  Ben Pearson brings an oily criminality to Oliver Costello.  Brandon Dorsey is stalwart as Constable Jones.  Jackson Newman and Randy Wallace have some extremely excellent chemistry as a comedy duo with their characters of Hugo and Rowland.  Matt Karasek is superbly charming as Jeremy and can speak volumes with an expression or a look.

As Christie deviated from her normal style of writing, this show doesn’t contain a proper detective character though the Inspector comes the closest.  In the hands of a less capable performer, this character could be very one dimensional, but Katie Otten adds multiple dimensions through sheer force of acting ability.  With her ramrod posture and steely-eyed gaze, Otten makes it clear her Inspector is not one to be trifled with.  She brings an intelligence to her character as she knowingly keeps the suspects separated so they can’t collude on stories and is able to spot the clues and make rapid fire deductions. She can also play good cop/bad cop on her lonesome as she can be ingratiating and sympathetic in one moment and then be as volatile as lightning in the next.

One always has the feeling that Sarah Dighans’ Miss Peake isn’t wrapped all that tightly.  She truly lives in her own little reality as she often walks into the Hailsham-Browns’ home as if she owns it and punctuates her speech with a piercing laugh that has the others potentially looking for a straitjacket in case she starts frothing at the mouth.  Miss Peake is assuredly one of the most original characters I’ve seen brought to life and Dighans’ rendition of this character is a highlight of the night.

Clarissa Hailsham-Brown has a fantasy life worthy of Snoopy.  Sara Scheidies’ interpretation of this character had me sensing that she was truly bored of the life of a housewife as she enjoyed playing little jokes on her friends and loved indulging in the game of “Supposing” where she invents little fantasies to enjoy.  Clearly she enjoys the game a little too much for, as she often says, people don’t believe her even when she tells the truth.  Scheidies brings a real innocence to the character as her addiction to “Supposing” gives her an appalling lack of common sense as she tries to cover up the murder instead of seeking the aid of the police.  Or maybe she has more crucial reasons for avoiding the police. . .

Chris Ebke has designed a lovely little country house with soft tan walls, elegant period furniture, a crystal chandelier, and a very neat secret passage that triggered memories of the old Batman TV series.  Joey Lorincz has some very effective lighting tricks as he has the chandelier exude a soft blue when the lights go down so you can see just enough of what’s going on to know what’s happening, but without revealing any salient plot points.  Lora Kaup has designed proper period correct clothes from the 1940s-50s with handsome suits, golf wear, and dresses.

While I prefer more mystery in my mysteries, the efforts of this cast and director turn a middling story into an enjoyable night of character work with a few shocks and surprises and elevate it into something far better.

Spider’s Web plays at Bellevue Little Theatre through Jan 29. Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the Box Office, at blt.simpletix.com, or calling 402-413-8945.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.

Lofte Community Theatre Announces 2023 Season

Doublewide, Texas

By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, & Jamie Wooten

March 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 & April 1, 2

Auditions: Feb. 13 & 14 @ 7 PM

The inhabitants of one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas—four doublewides and a shed—are thrown for a loop when they realize the nearby town of Tugaloo is determined to annex them. These friends, enemies, and neighbors will need to work together to overcome the oncoming annexation and preserve their way of life. This hilarious, fast-paced comedy, comes with plenty of “down home” humor to go around!

Wit

By Margaret Edson

May 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14

Auditions: Feb. 16 & 17 @ 7 PM

*We suggest PG-13 for adult themes- This show discusses cancer and death*

Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliant and difficult metaphysical sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. During the course of her illness—and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program at a major teaching hospital—Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with deep insight and humor that are transformative both for her and the audience. Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

9 to 5: The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton; Book by Patricia Resnick

July 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30

Auditions: May 15 & 16 @ 7 PM

Pushed to the boiling point, three female coworkers concoct a plan to take the power away from the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot they call their boss. Based on the 1980 hit movie, 9 to 5 The Musical is a hilarious, outrageous, and thought-provoking story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. Come see these women take control of their office and discover there is nothing they can’t do, even in a man’s world.

The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie

September 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10

Auditions: July 24 & 25 @ 7 PM

*This show discusses death, murder, and child abuse*

After a local woman is murdered, the guests and staff at Monkswell Manor find themselves stranded during a snowstorm. It soon becomes clear that the killer is among them, as the seven strangers grow increasingly suspicious of one another. A police detective arrives on skis to interrogate the suspects but when a second murder takes place, tensions and fears escalate. This murder mystery features a brilliant surprise finish from Dame Agatha Christie, the foremost mystery writer of her time. The world’s longest-running play comes to the Lofte stage!

The Nerd

By Larry Shue

October 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29

Auditions: Aug. 13 @ 2 PM & Aug. 14 @ 7 PM

Aspiring architect Willum Cubbert owes his life to Rick Steadman, a fellow ex-GI whom he has never met but who saved his life when he was wounded in battle. Willum has told Rick that as long as he is alive, “you will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you.” To Willum’s delight, Rick unexpectedly appears on the night of his thirty-fourth birthday party. However, delight soon turns to dismay as he discovers that Rick is a hopeless “nerd,” —a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence and less tact. This outrageous comedy will leave you laughing all the way home!

A Doublewide, Texas Christmas

By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, & Jamie Wooten

December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17

Auditions: Oct. 16 & 17 @ 7 PM

Back in one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas, it’s beginning to look a lot like trouble! Not only are the trailer park residents dealing with the stress of the holiday season, but they’ve just discovered that Doublewide is being double-crossed by the County. New problems come up and familiar problems come back as this band of eccentric Texans must band together once more to keep their lifestyle and their holiday spirit! Oh, there’s no place like a good ol’ Texas-sized mobile home for the holidays!

Sister Has a Christmas Mystery to Solve

Mary Zentmyer stars as Sister in Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold

Omaha, NE.–Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold will open Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 at the Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP). The show will run in the Howard Drew Theatre from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23. Performances will be held Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

It’s “CSI: Bethlehem” in this holiday mystery extravaganza, from the author of Late Nite Catechism, as Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages—whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? (“We know that Mary used the frankincense and myrrh as a sort of potpourri—they were in a barn after all.”) Retelling the story of the Nativity, as only Sister can, this hilarious holiday production is bound to become a yearly classic. Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir as well as a gaggle of audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any you’ve ever seen.With gifts galore and bundles of laughs, Sister’s Christmas Catechism is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday traditions.

Tickets start at $35 and are available at the OCP Box Office (6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE) or by calling 402-553-0800.

A local choir will be featured during each performance of Sister’s Christmas Catechism.
•Freedom Choir, Sacred Heart Church – November 25-27
•Omaha North High School Choir – December 2-4
•Omaha Burke High School Choir – December 8-11
•Zion Baptist Church Choir – December 16
•Doan College Choir – December 17-23
•OCP Staff Choir – December 1 & 15

Photo provided by Omaha Community Playhouse

Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre Announces 2023 Season

Arrow Rock, MOArrow Rock Lyceum Theatre has announced its 2023 season.

The Addams Family
June 9-23

Book by MARSHALL BRICKMAN and RICK ELICE
Music and Lyrics by ANDREW LIPPA
Based on Characters Created by Charles Addams

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious, and spooky—and now they are the stars of a hilariously ghoulish musical! Storm clouds are gathering over the Addams family’s mansion as Gomez faces every father’s nightmare: his daughter, Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness, has fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. And if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Gomez must do something he’s never done before– keep the secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. One thing is certain: the Addams family will never be the same.

Beautiful–The Carole King Musical
June 30-July 9

Book by Douglas McGrath
Words and Music by Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
Music by Arrangement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Orchestrations, Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements Steve Sidwell
Originally Produced on Broadway by Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Mike Bosner

Before she was hit-maker Carole King — she was Carole Klein, a spunky, young songwriter from Brooklyn with a unique voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics Carole King wrote for the biggest acts in music, to her own life-changing, chart-busting success, Beautiful takes you back to where it all began—and takes you on the ride of a lifetime. Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember—and the story you’ll never forget.

State Fair
July 21-30

Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli
Based on the screenplay by Oscar Hammerstein II and the Novel by Phil Stong

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical written directly for the screen is now a Broadway musical! Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair travels with the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Pop have their hearts set on blue ribbons, while their children Margy and Wayne find romance and heartbreak on the midway. Set to the magical strains of an Academy Award-winning score and augmented by other titles from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook, State Fair is the kind of warmhearted family entertainment only Rodgers & Hammerstein could deliver!

Laughter On the 23rd Floor
Aug 18-27

By Neil Simon

A love letter to his early career as a TV writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows alongside the likes of comedy legends Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor follows the roller coaster antics of a not-your-average 1950s writers’ room, as they frantically attempt to please their larger-than-life boss. Frantically scrambling to top each other with hilarious gags while battling with studio executives who fear the show’s humor is too sophisticated for Middle America, the writing and fighting of the team expose the social and political undercurrents of the 1950s.

The Mousetrap
Sept 8-17

By Agatha Christie

From the Grand Dame of mystery, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap holds the world record for the longest running production, mesmerizing audiences for more than sixty years. Monkswell Manor welcomes a group of strangers in the midst of a snowstorm and on the heels of a murder in town. It soon becomes clear that the killer is among them, and the strangers grow increasingly suspicious of one another. A police detective, arriving on skis, interrogates the suspects: the newlyweds running the house; a spinster with a curious background; an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef; a retired Army major; a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift; and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. When a second murder takes place, tensions and fears escalate. Will the identity of the murderer be revealed before they strike again?! The Mousetrap’s riveting plot will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

Bright Star
Sept 29-Oct 8

Music, Book & Story by Steve Martin
Music, Lyrics & Story by Edie Brickell

Inspired by a true story and featuring the Tony®-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway’s Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past—and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. With beautiful bluegrass melodies and powerfully moving characters, Bright Star unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion. An uplifting and nostalgic theatrical journey that holds you tightly in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

Gaslit

A cruel sociopath slowly drives his wife insane and her only hope for escape lies in an eccentric detective obsessed with solving an open case from early in his career.  This is Angel Street and it is currently playing at Brownville Village Theatre.

I had heard of this story under its more famous name of Gaslight, but this was my first time seeing it in any medium and I had really been missing out on something special.  Patrick Hamilton wrote a tight, taut thriller that had me hooked from start to finish.  Hamilton has a grand gift for words and knows how to use them to build mood, tension, intrigue, and emotion.  This play is completely dialogue driven, but Hamilton’s skill in plotting had me feeling as if I had run a marathon by the time it was all said and done.

Now a play needs more than good words to sell it.  It also needs fantastic acting and direction to unlock the full potential of those words and this play has all of that and so much more.

Mitch Bean’s direction is spot on.  He understands the many twists and turns of the play’s mazelike plot and knows how to build and resolve the play’s many intense scenes.  Some of his finest moments were the final confrontations between Mr. Manningham and Detective Rough and Mr. and Mrs. Manningham.  The Manningham/Rough scene is particularly gripping and is the verbal equivalent of a savage fistfight with the way the two men continue circling each other and fling words at each other like knives.  Bean has also coached his entire cast to sterling performances with nary a weak link among them.

Bella Walker and Lucy Haarmann are very strong in the smaller roles of household servants.  As Elizabeth, Haarmann is very loyal to her mistress and is actually the character that first leads Mrs. Manningham to her first steps on her road to freedom.  Walker is very smug and saucy as Nancy, a servant who acts like and has ambitions to be the mistress of the house.

I have to admit that when I first saw Benjamin Salazar, I thought he was a little young for the role of Mr. Manningham, but, the second he opened his mouth, I completely bought into the illusion.  Salazar has a rich and powerful voice that belies his youth and is suited for the evil Manningham.  And, believe me, evil is defined by this man.  Though he has the manners of a gentleman, Manningham is a cruel, vicious monster.  Salazar knows how to use Manningham’s words like a weapon as he constantly pummels his wife emotionally and even teases her with occasional bursts of kindness.  Salazar plays Manningham with an uber controlled menace and his ramrod posture makes Manningham seem like a cocked gun threatening to go off at any moment.  And that control is crucial as it makes his explosive moments of anger and violence truly frightening as the play surges to its conclusion.

Trevor Comstock is a delight as Detective Rough.  Comstock’s take on Rough reminded me of Jim Hutton’s interpretation of the fictional detective, Ellery Queen, as he seemed to be a bit of an absent-minded genius.  He clearly listens to Mrs. Manningham as he questions her about her current situation and husband, but his eyes show that he’s thinking ten steps ahead which make his replies seem cryptic, yet they’re not.  Comstock brings an indefatigable energy to the character as he warps about the room and you can practically taste his excitement in finally closing the lone open case of his career.  Comstock also brings the commanding presence needed to both buoy Mrs. Manningham and cow the steely Mr. Manningham.

Rachel Curtiss brings her all to the role of Mrs. Manningham.  This is not an easy role to play due to the massive emotional shifts of the character, but Curtiss nails it to the floor.  Curtiss does a good job of vacillating between being nearly broken emotionally and mentally, to a brief burst of happiness, to the wonderment of Rough’s story, to a little gaslighting of her own when she confronts her brute of a husband.  Curtiss’ body language is phenomenal as she seems like a spring that has been wound too tight and seems apt to break at any moment.

Mitch Bean has designed a fine upper middle-class house with well to do furniture such as a desk and secretary with fine china.  Sara Scheidies’ costumes suit the period of the time especially with the Victorian dress of Mrs. Manningham and the elegant wear and ascots of Mr. Manningham.  Trevor Comstock’s usage of lights is one of the best I’ve seen in a show as he uses it to set mood, particularly with the gaslights as the room darkens and lights based on the flow of gas.  Benjamin Salazar’s sounds help to enhance the action with the sounds of footsteps being a favorite of mine.

This is a truly intense and gripping night of theatre and I highly recommend seeing it and bringing a friend or loved one to get you through the spooky moments.  While this may be my first visit to Brownville Village Theatre, I can guarantee it won’t be my last.

Angel Street plays at Brownville Village Theatre through August 12.  Showtimes are 7:30pm on July 16 and 24, and August 4 and 12 and 2pm on July 23 and 31 and August 7.  Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at the Box Office, visiting www.brownvillevillagetheatre.com, or calling 402-825-4121.  Due to intense scenes and subject matter, this show is not suitable for children.  Brownville Village Theatre is located at 222 Water Street in Brownville, NE.

The Adventure of the Nameless Corpse

Lovely little nutcracker, isn’t it?  Well, this nutcracker has a very interesting story behind it.  This nutcracker is both a trophy and a reminder of the time I assisted Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson in solving a murder at the Victorian Villa in Union City, MI.

I had alluded to this story when I wrote my remembrance of the inn back in 2014, but enough time has passed that it is now safe to share the tale.  Some elements must still remain hidden, so some names may be changed and some details removed and altered, but those that know the truth will understand.

Many believe Holmes and Watson to be fictional characters, but that is a myth perpetuated by Dr. Watson’s literary agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who published Dr. Watson’s stories under his name.  In truth, they are real and much older than one would believe. 

In his retirement, Holmes had cultivated a royal jelly elixir and ingestion of it had greatly extended his life span and that of Dr. Watson.  Over the years Holmes and Watson had regularly visited the Victorian Villa as its owner, Ron Gibson, is the great-grandson of Senator Neil Gibson referenced in the case known as “The Problem of Thor Bridge”.  Aside from their friendship, Holmes also enjoyed visiting Union City as, in his own words, “it is a hellhole of crime of great depth and brilliance”.

When I learned that Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson would be visiting, I immediately booked a weekend stay to meet the famed detective and his trusted associate.

It was September of 2005 and I was making my second foray out to the Villa.  I was a bit weary as I had mistakenly forgotten to schedule myself as unavailable for Hamlet rehearsals the night before so I had put in a long night of rehearsing before setting off on my drive at 10pm.  By midnight, I was exhausted and collapsed at a Motel 6 in Des Moines, IA before driving another 8 hours to Union City the next morning.  The welcome sight of the gorgeous Victorian mansion served as a salve to my spirits and boosted my energy level as I pulled into the tiny parking lot.

The Victorian Villa

Once more, I was greeted by Ron and his two sons, Zach and Josh, before being led to my room for the weekend:  the Victorian Country Bedchamber.  As I got myself situated, I found a note under my pillow.  It was rather snarky and, I noted, written in a feminine hand.  I put it away before freshening up and reacquainting myself with the Villa.

Around 6pm, Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson arrived at the inn.  I introduced myself to Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson who politely shook my hand.  Holmes was just as Watson had described him with his aloofness and unmistakable air of authority.  Watson was friendly and every bit the gentleman.

I retired to the parlor with Holmes and Watson and the other guests who had come to meet the legendary duo.  Among them were Ted and Rhonda Cowell and their Holmesian scion society, The Stormy Petrels of Maumee Bay; the Mallon family; George Ault; and Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Harbaugh.

We opened up the night with a round of Sherlockian Trivial Pursuit.  We formed into two teams and Mr. Holmes asked diabolically difficult questions relating to the many cases he had investigated.  As the two teams battled back and forth, Mr. Holmes would vacillate between contentedly smoking his pipe and brooding about some vexing problem.  On several occasions he alluded to a case he was working on before returning to the game.

Sherlock Holmes relaxes

By the end of the game, the two teams were locked into a tie, though I ended up stealing a symbolic victory for my side when I answered the question “Who killed Victor Savage?”  After the hard-fought game, we entered the dining room where Mr. Holmes gave us a demonstration on the art of observation and deduction while we dined on one of Ron’s fine meals which consisted of English Cheshire Cheese Soup and roasted loin of boar among other delicacies.  I did note that Ron had brought on some help for the event as a placard on the table said the meal had been partially catered by Maxine Simons.

Upon finishing our meal, we returned to the parlor where Mr. Holmes told us he was investigating a murder that had taken place at the Villa a few days prior.  A man had shown up at the Villa around 11am on the fateful day and asked Ron if he could have a room.  As Ron had no reservations, he rented a room to the man who gave no name, but simply went upstairs to his bedroom with his dressing bag.  A short while later, Ron saw him descend the stairs sans bag and enter the parlor.  Ron left him to his own devices as he had to leave the Villa to run some errands.  When he returned later, he found the man collapsed on the floor, arm outstretched in front of him, and clearly dead.  Ron contacted the police who found no identification on the man nor in his room.  The labels on his clothes had been cut off and the only items found on him were a handkerchief, some cigarettes, and a pen.  Ron had told Mr. Holmes of the baffling death and he agreed to look into it.

Mr. Holmes wanted us to be his eyes and ears and help him investigate.  He asked us to discover the following:

  1. Who was the victim?
  2. How was he killed?
  3. Who killed him?
  4. Find a way to link the killer to the crime and unmask him or her.

Certain rules were set in place for us.  As Mr. Holmes had already investigated the private areas of the mansion, we were not to enter them.  He also told us not to snoop into Ron’s desk as only he would be allowed to investigate it.  Short of that we were free to investigate as we chose. If we managed to discover any evidence, we were only to hold onto it for 10 minutes before returning it exactly where it was found.  Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson bade us good evening and left the Villa promising to return after breakfast in the morning.

Exhaustion had found me again so I retired to my bedroom, vowing to rise early and begin looking into the case.

I arose the next morning feeling refreshed.  After heading to the dining room and enjoying some of Ron’s special scrambled eggs and sausage patties, I began to look into the case. 

From re-reading Ron’s statement, I realized that the victim had not carried his dressing bag back down with him so I immediately went to the second floor and began searching for it, but was unable to find it.  I searched the mansion from top to bottom and then made my way over to the Carriage House.  Up in the Sherlock Holmes Bedchamber, I discovered George Ault and Glenn Harbaugh discussing something and they froze when they saw me.  I asked if I could enter and Glenn said I could.  I quietly closed the door and noted they had the dressing bag.

“So you found it,” I said.

Realizing I had already deduced the clue, George and Glenn opened the bag and we all looked into it.  Among the toiletries, we found a letter addressed to James Fitzsimmons requesting a meeting in the parlor of the Villa to discuss the matter of a deadly toxin that had been developed by the writer of the letter.  Apparently Fitzsimmons had been the letter writer’s boss and had aspirations of selling the toxin to the highest bidder who would likely weaponize it.  The toxin caused almost instantaneous paralysis before shutting down the body’s vital organs.  Death would occur in a matter of minutes.  The writer wanted Fitzsimmons to destroy the toxin and begged for a meeting to convince him of this.  It was simply signed Max, though I recognized the handwriting as being the same as that on the note in my bedroom.

After examining the evidence, I asked the two men if they had found notes as well.  They admitted they had and let me read them.  Red herrings and smart alecky comments.  After reading this, we looked at each other and I suggested pooling our resources to which George and Glenn readily agreed.

“All right, we’re now a team,” I said.

Upon forming our alliance we headed down to the parlor to meet Mr. Holmes who asked if anybody had anything to share.  I casually blurted the bag clue to which Mr. Holmes looked at me and said, “You’re a rather blithe young man, aren’t you?”

After unintentionally giving out the clue, the race was on.  Though we were investigating a crime, it was treated more like a competition and ended up as a three way battle between The Stormy Petrels, the Mallons, and my little triumvirate.  The Petrels played for keeps and were not above providing a few red herrings.  The Mallons were smart and crafty, though I engaged in a little quid pro quo with Mrs. Mallon which I’ll get to in a bit.

Mr. Holmes was always available for private consultation where we could bring our discoveries and theories and he would make comments and subtle suggestions to help light our path.  When we first informed Holmes about the letter we found, Glenn kept referring to the writer as a he, to which Mr. Holmes asked, “Why do you keep saying ‘he?’”.

“What do you mean?” asked Glenn.

“He means how do we know it’s a man,” I replied.

“Precisely,” said Holmes as he clasped my shoulder.

A vital clue, indeed.  While not a guarantee, we did have to open our minds to the possibility that Max, if that was the real name, was a woman.

We continued to investigate.  I realized that no matches or lighter were found on the corpse, though cigarettes had been discovered.  No smoker would ever lack those items and there was no reason for the killer to take them.  Remembering the outstretched arm, I assumed the position of the corpse and found a book of matches under the coal scuttle.

Taking them, I opened up the packet and found a scrawled message which said “Beware TR-70”.  The name of the toxin had been found!!

Outside the parlor, I found a business card book on a stand and began thumbing through it and saw Mrs. Mallon watching me.  When I leafed to the third page, she suddenly coughed.  I looked up and saw her smiling at me, I took a hard look and found the business card for Maxine Simons—Caterer.  However, “caterer” had been written in pen over a blacked out word.  Reversing the card and holding it up to the light, I saw “chemist” written under it.  I had the name of the killer!!  I then shared with Mrs. Mallon the name of the poison out of gratitude.

My team had another consultation with Holmes where Glenn spun an amusing, but outlandish, theory that Ron Gibson was the killer or, at least involved with her.  Mr. Holmes and I shared some glances and after Glenn finished his theory, Holmes simply stated, “I sense you have some misgivings about his theory.”

“One or two,” I replied.

I then finally had a chance to fill in Glenn and George on my discoveries and had a private conversation with Mr. Holmes and Mrs. Mallon while I made my deductions.  When I finished, Mr. Holmes looked to Mrs. Mallon and said, “You know, I have great faith in this young man.  He’s quiet, thoughtful, and observant and everything he says is based soundly on logic.”

Then we took a break and had a reading of one of Watson’s stories followed by a pop quiz.  I ended up winning the quiz contest and surprised Mr. Holmes with one of my answers.

“This number is the square root of the number alluded to by Watson,” said Holmes.

“Sixteen,” I readily answered.

“Sixteen is correct!!” said Holmes with some wonderment.  “Tell me, young man, how did you come up with that answer?”

“Watson mentioned the wait was like the night the two of you faced the Andaman Islander which was a reference to the case known as The Sign of Four,” I said.

Holmes smiled and nodded approvingly.

After the quiz we had afternoon tea where Ron had prepared a whole turkey and we helped ourselves to little sandwiches with a bit of homemade mustard and fixings.

The case was solved, but there was still one last item:  how to unmask Maxine.  There was no real proof tying her to the death and all my deductions wouldn’t hold water in court.  I had a final consultation with Holmes where I told him everything I had learned, but felt I was just one step away from the total truth. 

“Think of the problem of the three Moriartys.  All of them were named James and were identical.  How would one tell them apart?” said Mr. Holmes.

I began to see the light when he gave me one final nudge.

“You have two pieces of vital evidence.  What you need is a third.”

The truth hit me like a thunderbolt.  The letter on my pillow plus the letter in the bag were my pieces of evidence.  What I needed was a way to get a third example of Maxine’s handwriting to connect her with the other two.  Handwriting was how you’d distinguish the Moriarty boys from each other.

Piecing the puzzle together

I expressed this problem to Glenn and George and we threw around ideas until I said, “Maybe we could get a card of some sort.”

“My son is serving over in Iraq.  We could get him a Wish You Were Here card,” said George.

“Yes, and we’ll have everybody in the inn sign it!!” I exclaimed.

The three of us dashed to Mr. Holmes where I laid out the scheme.

“An excellent plan,” said Holmes. 

I shook hands with Holmes and Watson and dashed to the bar area where I found Ron.

“Is there a drug store nearby?” I asked.

“Yes, just a few blocks up on Main Street,” said Ron.

“Thank you,” I said.

Then I speed walked through the front door and vaulted over the steps to the sidewalk.  I then sprinted and I do mean SPRINTED to the drug store where I bought the card and repeated the process back to the Villa where I hurdled the steps once more.  George later said it was the funniest thing he ever saw.

As I walked back in, I heard Mrs. Mallon’s daughter ask if there were a drug store nearby.  I then politely coughed and gently waved the card.  Knowing that the game was up, the Mallons signed the card and Mrs. Mallon’s daughter assisted me with finishing the job by asking Ron if there were any other people in the kitchen as Maxine was also helping to cater tonight’s dinner.  Ron stepped into the kitchen and asked Maxine to step out.  I told her about the card while George showed a picture of his son and Maxine signed the card.

I then led my team back to the parlor where the other guests had gathered. 

“Do you have something to show me, young man?” asked Mr. Holmes.

I presented the card to him and he looked at it.

“Were there any witnesses?” he asked.

“Yes, sir.   Myself, (Mrs. Mallon’s daughter), George, Ron, Zach, and Josh all witnessed this.”

“Very good,” said Mr. Holmes.  “This case has been solved.”

Then we proceeded to have a debate about what to do with the killer.  Her motivations were understandable.  Fitzsimmons would have unleashed a plague of death on the world.  He had committed no crime, but would have had the blood of countless people on his hands had he sold the toxin.  Maxine shouldn’t have killed him, but her act had thwarted a much greater evil so I pleaded for leniency.  Holmes said he would consider the situation.

Glenn gave me a hug and then bought George and myself a drink at the bar.  Mr. Holmes approached me privately and asked me to present the denouement after dinner.

A splendid dinner was served and after we were all satiated, Mr. Holmes signaled for silence, indicated my two partners and then clasped my shoulder acknowledging our victory.  He then presented me with the nutcracker as a trophy for the case.  Then he brought Ron, his two sons, and Maxine into the dining room where I presented my findings.

I walked the group through the maze of the case, casually keeping an eye on Maxine who whitened with every revelation.  When I explained about the card we had purchased and how the killer had sealed her fate by signing it, I calmly looked at Maxine and said, “Isn’t that right, Maxine?”

At that point, Maxine begged for mercy and Holmes gently led her out of the dining room while discussion resumed.  Shortly afterwards, he returned and he and Watson made their final farewells and exited.

And that was how I helped Mr. Holmes solve The Adventure of the Nameless Corpse.  I would later learn that Holmes did show mercy to Maxine, letting her leave the country.  George did send the card to his son with an incredible story.  I had made new friends and had a reminder of the case forever gracing my mantle.  And the next morning, I enjoyed some of Ron’s incredible cream cheese stuffed French Toast.

Little did I know that I would return to the Villa a few years later with my trusted friend, Mat O’Donnell, to engage in a peculiar investigation centering around a crying woman.

But that is a story for another time.

Bellevue Little Theatre Announces 54th Season

Bellevue Little Theatre Announces Season 54

Footloose: Sept 16- Oct 2, 2022

Footloose celebrates the exhilaration of youth, the wisdom of listening to one another, and the power of forgiveness.

It’s A Wonderful Life: Nov 4-20, 2022

-It’s the gorgeous love story of George and Mary Bailey, a vivid portrait of the Greatest Generation, a descent into the darkest hour of a man trapped by circumstance and a powerful meditation on what makes a meaningful life.

Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web: Jan 13-29, 2023

-A conscious parody of the detective thriller, Christie delivers a unique blend of suspense and humor in a intricate plot of murder, police, drug addicts, invisible ink, hidden doorways and secret drawers.

A Little Night Music: Mar 10-26, 2023

-Stephen Sondheim’s romantic nineteenth-century waltz whisks us away to a weekend in the country.

Girls’ Weekend: May 5-21, 2023

*Our 250th Production!*

-From the writer of our World Premiere: Temporary Insanity. Karen Schaeffer’s Girls’ Weekend is “Marvelous … successfully punchy … be prepared to laugh”