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Musical Opens Feb. 17: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

By Randy Wilson
JSU News Bureau

7 February 2005 — The Jacksonville State University drama and musical programs are collaborating on the upcoming musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, written by Rupert Holmes. Holmes based the musical on the fifteenth novel by Charles Dickens, which would be his last. However, the novel was never completed.
This wildly warm-hearted production begins when the Music Hall Royale, a hilariously and loony Victorian musical troupe, delivers its glitzy rendition of Dickens' mystery novel. The story deals with John Jasper, a Jekyll-and-Hyde choirmaster who is  infatuated with his music student, the fair and tender Miss Rosa Bud. However, Miss Bud is betrothed to Jasper's nephew, the young Edwin Drood. The title character disappears mysteriously one stormy Christmas Eve, but has Edwin Drood been murdered? And if so, then who is the culprit? This is the a classic whodunit with a music motif as a backdrop.

Musical numbers include The Wage of Sin, Perfect Strangers, Both Sides of the Coin, Don't Quit While You're Ahead, and Moonfall. The giddy playfulness of this play-within-a-play draws the audience toward one of Drood's most talked-about features, which allows the audience to vote on the solution as a prelude to the most unusual and hilarious finale. Since there are eight people who might have perpetrated the dastardly crime, the play has the potential to end differently each night.  

The cast includes:

Cast Member's Name Character as cast in our Production Character Played
in Music Hall
Jeremy Stovall Mr. Thomas Purcell Maestro of the Music
Hall Royale Orchestra
Russell Reeps Mr. William Cartwright The Chairman
Joshua P. Sirten Mr. Clive Paget John Jasper
Judy Holt Miss Alice Nutting Edwin Drood
Britani Mason Miss Dierdre Penegrine Rosa Bud
Heather Norton Miss Janet Conover Helena Landless
Chris Harper Mr. Victor Grinstead Neville Landless 
Jason Skinner Mr. Cedric Moncrieffe The Reverend Mr. Crisparkle
Erin Pool Miss Angela Prysock The Princess Puffer
Rick Gwin Mr. Nick Cricker Durdles
Andy Cayse Mr. Phillip Bax Bazzard

Wayne Claeren is the director. The sets and scenic drops were designed by Mr. Carlton Ward, and the stage manager is Lindsay Jacks. Jeremy Stoval, a graduate student in music at JSU, will conduct the orchestra, and Laura Danette of New York will serve as the choreographer. 
The event will be held at the Ernest Stone Performing Arts Center's Second Stage Theatre on February 17, 18, 19, 24, and 26 at 7 p.m. and on February 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults, $9 for senior citizens and JSU personnel, and $8 for students and military. Call 782-5648 for reservations.

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