SHOWING : September 25, 2008 - October 05, 2008
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Sunday, October 25, at Griffin's Main Street Players we had an afternoon of theater at its best! We saw - and participated - in Clue - the Musical, a little known show originally produced in 1997 off-Broadway. It ran for only 29 performances and since has been a favorite of community theaters throughout the country. Main Street Players, under the direction of Nancy B. Gresham, did the show proud. Based on the Parker Brothers game, Clue - The Musical brings to life all the board-game characters. What made this production so much fun was the extraordinary cast - they were masterful!
What makes this show fun is the participation of the audience. It would be a wonderful dinner theater production, however in the intimate 125 seat venue that serves as the Griffin Players home, it was equally enjoyable. At the start of each show, three audience members select one card each and place it in an envelope. Because the chosen cards determine the ending of the show with 216 possible conclusions; the cards also determine which lines the actor playing Mr. Boddy will deliver.
Ms. Gresham assembled a dream cast of experienced actors who know how to develop and breathe life into a character. Without a doubt, the best casting of a show we have seen in a long time. Each with a distinctive personality with crayola coordinated costumes that instantly identified them as they made their first entrance onto the stage.
Mr. Boddy - The host of the game, current husband of Mrs. Peacock, victim of the impending murder played by Adam Grubbs. Appearing in his first show for this organization, he did an excellent job of drawing the audience into the show with "clues” througout the performance
Colonel Mustard - A triumphant war colonel, a widower formerly married to Mr. Boddy's mother, with a great imagination and a penchant for chasing Mrs. Peacock, was played by veteran actor Tommy McDaniel. Tommy has a wealth of experience as a singer that ranges from rock-n-roll to gospel to classical. He is a consummate actor and was the picture-perfect Colonel Mustard.
Mr. Green - Con-artist and entrepreneur; a money-obsessed conniver in business with Mr. Boddy. Wade Pritchett, a student at Gordon College, developed the Mr. Green character with a somewhat New York accent and delivered some of the funniest mis-quotes of the show. Wade has an enjoyable character voice which he used throughout the dialogue and musical numbers. He has played some interesting roles and in the small confines of this venue, his facial expressions and timing made the role real and believable.
Mrs. Peacock - Black widow and chairwoman of Peacock Enterprises, played to the hilt by Martha Catrett. Another cast member with a remarkably strong voice and acting ability. I can't think of another actor who could have played this role better. A bit of a flirt, when it comes to the Colonel, she can feint being demur and still deliver the double entendre lines with expertise and have you howling with laughter. A charming "lady" who is only on her 5th husband, the previous 4 having passed on in somewhat mysterious, if not dubious, manner.
Professor Plum - Super genius, author, intellect - until we find out that he is nothing more than an imposter! Perfectly cast as the Professor, another Gordon College student, Nick Clark, clad in a plum colored suit, looked and acted as if he just stepped out of the cover on the game box. He brought a ton of acting credits to the role and did a terrific job.
Miss Scarlet - The femme fatale of the game, a former Las Vegas lounge performer who "does it all" according to her men friends , was played by Maureen McDaniel. Maureen has been on stage since she was a youngster and she brought every once of her experience to her portrayal of Miss Scarlet. Alluring, somewhat naive, yet every bit the possible murderer in the game. Besides her ability as an actor, she has a really good voice and her duet with Wade Pritchett was one of the show highlights.
Mrs. White - Usually played by a cross-dressing man, the chief domestic of Boddy Manor is by far the funniest character in the script. Cast in this key role was Rob Muldoon, an experienced actor and now in his 12th year as a English Teacher at Griffin High School. There is only one word to describe Rob's performance - awesome! His solo number Life is a Bowl of Pits was nothing short of hysterical. The fact that he can shriek a laugh louder than anyone else on stage, coupled with impeccable comic timing, quick-take glances and the funniest lines in the script set him up as the star of the show. Rob did it with an absolute flair for comedy.
Detective - Played by Meloni Thompson appears in order to crack the case and solve the mystery in the second act. How good was the casting? Here's a 'clue' - Meloni has a degree in vocal performance from Troy University, has been involved in musical theatre for years and in the past filled some key roles in major productions like 1776, Annie, Little Women, and The Sound of Music. She is also a director currently in production with Suessical. In Clue - The Musical the role has only a few scenes, but it is pivotal to the conclusion of the show. Meloni grabbed onto the part, made it really important, and in the true sense of theater demonstrated that there are no small parts. Well done - and very well played.
As were the parts of the Butler, played by Curtis Brown, the Maids, portrayed by Jessica Mathis and Emily Stephens. Each played their part expertly, added to the cast and in any other show would be worthy of a lead.
Musical Direction for Clue was expertly provided by Seth Davis, a young man with credentials too numerous to list here. He did a yeoman’s job on this show and has a brilliant future ahead of him. Currently Director of Preparatory School & Program Coordinator for Continuing Education at Clayton State University, he has built a reputation of excellence throughout the Southern Crescent and has lent his talents to a number of theaters, State competitions, church programs and his alma Mater, Clayton State University where he earned his Bachelor of Music Degree.
I mentioned that this is a small venue, and has a limited space for a stage. Clue takes place in 6 rooms of the Boddy Mansion. How does one do that in a limited space? You call upon Shad Leach who created the six rooms with only six set pieces. Four of which when turned and inset with panels converted the kitchen to the Conservatory and then the library and so-on. Simple and most effective. Mr. Leach did a brilliant job allowing for instantaneous set changes that didn't interfere with the continuity.
Costuming by Melanie Parry was another aspect that made this production a hit. Every costume was perfect for the character, from Mr. Plum's purple suit and Mr. Green's flamboyant green sequined lapel almost soot-suit look, Mrs. White's black and white housekeeper’s garb, Mrs. Peacock resplendent in of course peacock blue, and the Colonel's uniform of authentic tan complete with monocle , there was no doubt who they were. Brilliant and fun!
You have two more opportunities to see this amazing production, on Friday, October 17 at the Free Night of Theater, call 770-229-9916 to reserve tickets, and again in Atlanta when Main Street Players presents Clue - the Musical at the Alliance Theatre. They've been asked to perform the show as part of the Woodruff Arts Center’s Community Engagement Day, Saturday, October 18 as they celebrate their 40th anniversary with 40 hours of entertainment with a wide variety of gratis and ticketed events over the five days. Call the Woodruff Center Box Office: 404-733-5000 for information.
Clue – The Musical was a funny, well performed, over-all outstanding production. It was Community Theater at its very best. Incorporating all the elements of a good script, professional actors, a great set, awesome costuming, lighting and sound into a total package of excellence. There simply wasn’t one thing that we could scrutinize and say it could have been better.
Nancy Gresham is an outstanding Director; the fact that she assembled and rehearsed the cast for only 4 weeks demonstrates what one can do when you assemble top talent who give 110 per cent to the show. It helps when the cast understands how to develop characters, it helps when they are dedicated to their craft. It shows when they step on stage and perform the last show of the run as if it was opening night with boundless energy and the desire to entertain.
Entertain they did! It doesn’t get better than this!
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by David Shire (music), Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics)