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March 26, 2014

Get tickets March 31 for ISU’s ‘Mystery of Edwin Drood’

Advance sale tickets will be available beginning March 31 for the musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” co-produced by the Indiana State University department of theater and School of Music.

Rupert Holmes’ Tony-winning musical comedy transports patrons 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 the audience to choose the killer. Is it John Jasper, Edwin’s protective but slightly maniacal uncle; Rosa Bud, his reluctant betrothed; or the mysterious Neville Landless? Each performance ends differently, depending on what the audience decides.

The musical debuted as part of the New York Shakespeare Festival in August 1985, and, following revision, transferred to Broadway, where it ran until May 1987. Two national tours and a production in London’s West End followed. The musical was revived by New York City’s Roundabout Theater in 2012.

Drawing from pantomime and Dickens’ unfinished novel, as well as experiences with Victorian-style music hall performance, Holmes conceived the central premises of the show. From the Dickens work, Holmes took the central plot and most of the featured characters. From music hall traditions, he created the lead character of “The Chairman,” played by Charles Adams, a sort of master of ceremonies and instigator of the action on stage. From pantomime he retained the concept of the “Lead Boy,” played by alumnus Brandon Wentz; and the most groundbreaking aspect of audience participation.

This show-within-a-show features students Neil Jordan Carpenter, Abby Cunning, Mackenzie Tank, Nicole Hill, James Stelle, Tanner Thurman, Rayanna Bibbs, Joe Ponda, Trenton Baker and Cameron Callan in dual roles.

Musical numbers include “The Wages of Sin,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Both Sides of the Coin,” “Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead” and “Moonfall.” The production is directed by theater professor Chris Berchild, with Mark Carlisle of the School of Music serving as musical director.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on April 2 to 5 in Dreiser Theater, north of Cherry Street on Sixth Street. A matinee performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. on  April 6. The production, part of the College of Arts and Sciences Community Semester Series, is sponsored by WFIU.

Tickets are $20 and will be sold only in advance. They can be purchased from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through April 4 at the New Theater ticket office, 540 N. Seventh St. ISU students will get in free with their student ID.

For more information call the ticket office at 812-237-3333.

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