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'The Mystery of Edwin Drood': A solve-it-yourself musical

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Mercyhurst Theatre Program continues its 2016-2017 season with a production of the Tony Award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood Nov. 3-6, in Taylor Little Theatre.

Take a trip back in time to a Victorian music hall where a rowdy ensemble of actors mounts a staging of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel. Everyone on stage is a suspect in the murder of young Edwin Drood, and it’s up to you to choose the killer! Is it John Jasper, Edwin’s protective but slightly maniacal uncle? Rosa Bud, his reluctant betrothed? The debauched Princess Puffer? Each performance ends differently, depending on what the audience decides.

Theatre program director Dr. Brett D. Johnson is directing this production. “The pleasure of pointing an accusatory finger at the culprit is only one of the many delights of the show,” he says. “You have the giddiness of the framing device — that of a veteran troupe of music hall players bickering, leering and scavenging for laughs as they perform a stage version of Dickens’ tale — and Rupert Holmes’ timeless pastiche of a score.” Highlights include the soaring ballad “Moonfall,” the patter song “Both Sides of the Coin” and the operatic ensemble number “No Good Can Come from Bad.”

The Mystery of Edwin Drood premiered in December 1985, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. It was also the first Broadway musical with multiple endings determined by audience vote.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood features Michael Rowe (Mr. William Cartwright/Chairman), Peter Vizza (Mr. James Throttle/Stage Manager), Luke Ballantyne (Mr. Clive Paget/John Jasper), Abby Larimore (Miss Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood), Bethany Sulecki (Miss Deirdre Peregrine/Rosa Bud), Rosie Pregler (Miss Janet Conover/Helena Landless), Jake Shearer (Mr. Cedric Moncrieffe/The Reverend Mr. Crisparkle), Aidan Giles (Mr. Victor Grinstead/Neville Landless), Sarah Krempasky (Miss Angela Prysock/The Princess Puffer), Cole Lowe (Mr. Nick Cricker/Durdles), Will Pelletiers (Master Nick Cricker/Deputy) and Owen Hitt (Mr. Phillip Bax/Bazzard). The Ensemble also includes Erin Fink, Leah Miori, Jenna Rosciszewski, Ella Santillano, Tessa Sayre, Grace Sloop, Monica Tinsley and Alexis Webb.

The production team includes set designer Aaron White, lighting designer Madeleine Steineck, musical director Andrew Rainbow, choreographer Jennie Cross, production stage manager Kathryn Schmitt, and assistant stage managers Rebecca Holt and Tyler Kirchmeier.

Performances are Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 3-5, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6, at 2 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre on the Mercyhurst campus.

Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for senior citizens and students, and $5 for youth and Mercyhurst students with ID. All performances are general admission, with doors opening 30 minutes prior to curtain. 

For more information or to reserve your ticket, visit or call 814-824-3000. Cash-only tickets will also be on sale at the theatre one hour before the performance begins.