The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 by John Bishop is a madcap ensemble comedy that opened on Broadway in 1987. When the producers of a new Broadway show assemble at a wealthy donor’s mansion in upstate New York to work on their show, a blizzard strands them inside and they discover the house is full of secret passageways, sliding bookcases, and an infamous “Stage Door Slasher” from their past. As the snow begins to pile up, so do the bodies, and comic mayhem ensues as the 10 colorful characters try to solve the mystery and find the killer before their final curtain. The play is inspired by several 1940’s mystery movies, including Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard’s The Cat and the Canary, but overall is a self-aware satire that pokes fun at both the mystery-movie genre and the world of Broadway musicals.
- Tuesday, December 2nd, 6:00-8:00 p.m., The Lewisburg Hotel, 136 Market St, Lewisburg
- Thursday, December 4th, 6:15-8:15p.m., The Union County Public Library, 255 Reitz Blvd, Lewisburg
The cast requires 5-6 men and 5 women, of varying ages (high school students and older welcomed to audition)! Auditioners can drop in for any portion of either audition session, and do not need to bring a prepared monologue as readings will be provided at the audition. Auditioners should bring their calendars for January/February 2015 to indicate any conflicts they have with potential rehearsal dates. The show will be performed February 20-22, 2015 at Milton High School, with regular rehearsals beginning in early January in Lewisburg and/or Milton.
The five female characters are:
- Elsa Von Grossenknueten – the wealthy, eccentric owner of the mansion in which the play takes place. Granddaughter of a German spy, she is the financial backer of the new musical comedy, and she is desperate to solve the Stage Door Slasher murders that happened years ago.
- Helsa Wenzel – Elsa’s German maid, she constantly reappears in mysterious places and has a mysterious past and extended family that drive the events of the plot.
- Nikki Crandall – a chorus girl auditioning for the musical who turns out to be a secret intelligence agent of the U.S. government looking for German saboteurs. The heroine.
- Marjorie Baverstock – the Broadway producer of the show. Very expensive tastes, seductive, constantly hobnobbing and flattering everyone around her. She is hilariously murdered on stage.
- Bernice Roth – the lyricist, and Roger’s writing partner. Very artsy, very emotional and easily frightened by the events around her, and very obsessed with working on the musical even when everything else around her is in chaos.
The six male characters are:
- Michael Kelly – a tough, no-nonsense undercover cop recruited by Elsa to solve the mystery of the Stage Door Slasher.
- Patrick O’Reilly – an Irish tenor who is auditioning for the musical. Turns out to be a very suspicious character who also impersonates an Italian policeman and a German Gestapo agent at various points in the play.
- Roger Hopewell – songwriter for the musical and Bernice’s writing partner; the two have had a string of Broadway hits. Wry, with a dry sense of humor and a skill for codebreaking, and very defensive about his music. Piano-playing ability a plus.
- Ken De La Maize – the visionary director of the musical, always waxing rhapsodic about the art of the theatre and mentioning the famous names of the Hollywood and Broadway stars he’s worked with.
- Eddie McCuen – a struggling comedian who is a last-minute addition to the event. He is attracted to Nikki and ultimately helps her solve the mystery of the Stage Door Slasher. The hero.
- The Stage Door Slasher! – the dark, mysterious, strong, silent type….
Click here to download the readings that will be used during the auditions.