“There you are!” Do you like something funny? How about an incomplete murder mystery? Well if so then The Mystery of Edwin Drood is for you!
A Victorian English music-hall troupe is presenting its version of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," – the last, unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. Since the author never reached the conclusion of his whodunit, and failed to write down the name of the murderer, each night's audience is asked to select him or her. The victim is the title character, a young boy (played by an actress, Stephanie J. Block). He disappears, and is presumed to have been done away with. Dickens offered a sizable number of suspects: John Jasper (Will Chase), Drood's opium-eating uncle; the mistress of the opium den, known as Princess Puffer (Chita Rivera); Drood's former fiancée, Rosa Bud (Betsy Wolfe), an exotic brother and sister from Ceylon (Andy Karl and Jessie Mueller), a seemingly kind minister (Gregg Edelman) and several others.
This very talented cast plays the tricky part of two different characters, the person in the musical, and the person playing the person in the musical. Throughout the performance each actor gets a chance to “break character” and show the other side of who they are. Stephanie J. Block (Anything Goes), plays the Young victim of Edwin Drood and the stage diva Miss Alice Nutting. Block gives a dazzling performance as Edwin Drood – she left the audience cry on the floor when she storms out of the theatre during her diva moment. Will Chase (televion’s Smash) portrays the musicals horrible villain John Jasper and Mr. Chive Paget. Chase plays the perfect villain as you watch him fight with his dueling personalities; he contributed the perfect balance of evil and comedy delivering a stunning performance. Jim Norton (Finian’s Rainbow) played the lovable Narrator of the show Mr. William Cartwright and is forced to play the quirky Chairman after one of the “actors” is pulled out of the show. Norton was adorable and created a perfect atmosphere for “both” shows. Chita Rivera (West Side Story) played the wonderful Princess Puffer/Miss Angela Prysock, the owner of the Opem dean and created a since of wisdom with that the actors around them really played off of. Andy Karl (Legally Blonde) and Jessie Mueller (Shakespeare in the Park’s Into the Woods) played the foreign twins Neville & Helena Landless. Karl and Mueller played really well off of each other and created two really well developed characters. Although they played well together, Mueller not only shined with her partner and with the rest of the cast but she really stood out and stole the show, She is truly an up and coming Broadway Star.
Scott Ellis (Harvey) really created something special while directing this amazing show. He payed attention to every details and filled up every gap and the audience was never bored from when the show started to when it ended. The scenic design by Anna Louizos (The Performers) was truly outstanding and inspiring. She filled the theatre with Christmas decorations and really made the audience feel like they were in the opera house where they were putting on “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” The light design by Brian Nason (Three Penny Opera) was not so inspired unfortunately. The audience could tell that he is very talented but that fact was overlooked as they were blinded by the flashing lights as they came in and during the intermission.
So if you find yourself in the city and are looking for both something funny and a murder mystery, head to Studio 54 and check out The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Hiss at the Villains, cheer for the heroes, and choose the Killer! It’s up to you to have a say and see who done it!