Imagine putting on a mystery that has 216 possible endings. It's a mystery to me why anyone would want to attempt it. But the folks at Savannah Community Theatre enjoy a challenge, so Clue: The Musical will open May 2.
It’s based on the wildly popular board game that plays like an Agatha Christie mystery. After it premiered Off-Broadway in 1997, it became an international sensation. Who wouldn’t love a murder mystery where the suspects sing and dance?
For those who have never played Clue, the characters include Mrs. Peacock, the chair of Peacock Enterprises and quite a pompous woman. Mr. Green owns the world’s most popular discount air carrier, Pennies in Heaven.
Miss Scarlet is a performer and an, uh, loose woman, shall we say? There’s the venerable war hero, Col. Mustard.
The intellectual Professor Plum is an author who works at a think tank. Mrs. White is the maid, and her character is always played by a man.
The Detective is a woman who’s determined to solve the case. Last, but certainly not least, Mr. Boddy (now there’s an appropriate name) is the host of the house party that has brought all the suspects together.
“It’s like the game,” director Tom Coleman III says. “In the very beginning, a deck of cards is brought out. The audience is divided into three parts. One part gets to pick the killer, another the location and the other the weapon.”
The cards are collected and put in an envelope, then opened six minutes after the show has started. “Mr. Boddy is the name of the character being killed,” Coleman says.
“He comes out and tells the audience he’s going to be killed, it’s just a matter of time. He’s killed at the end of the first act and we don’t see him again until the finale.
“Each character has his or her own song about who they are and what they’ve done and what they’d like to do,” Coleman says. “As a group, they have five big numbers about who the killer may be and who they’re with in the house, and who may be after them. The numbers are fun, they really are.”
The show is meant to be light and humorous. “Everyone said, ‘It’s really a light piece, but everyone has a good time with it,’” Coleman says. “I looked at it and read it and put it aside. About five months ago someone said they did it and enjoyed it and I should do it.”
Cast members are Alec Caldass as Mrs. White, Ian Woodside as Professor Plum, Kaylie Roberts as Miss Scarlet, Bruce Carr as Mr. Boddy, Renee DeRossett as Mrs. Peacock, Christopher Scott as Col. Mustard and Danni Conti as the Detective.
Caldas was asked by Coleman to audition for the role of Mrs. White. He says it’s not hard to prepare for 216 different versions.
“It’s like learning any other script, you just learn it,” Caldas says. “Whichever one you have to do, you just do it.”
Caldas was intrigued when he learned about Clue. “I was curious how it would work out when I heard it was a musical based on a board game,” he says. “After being in rehearsals for about a month, it actually kind of makes sense. It’s a lot of fun.
“I have a lot of fun doing musicals and this one’s pretty crazy,” Caldas says. “Tom has a very specific vision of what he wants. He does everything he can to make sure that vision is what the actors are doing.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun if you’re in the audience,” he says. “It’s going to be unlike most musicals people are used to.”
DeRossett is enjoying playing Mrs. Peacock. “I am Mrs. Peacock, and I’m singing, I’m dancing,” she says. “I sing in the key of Marlboro light.
“The music is amazing, really pretty music,” DeRossett says. “Some of the songs are six-part harmony. “The voices blend beautifully, and it’s a very audience participation musical,” she says. “The costumes are great. I love leaving peacock feathers everywhere.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” DeRossett says. “It’s something very different, something extremely entertaining. It’s like taking Clue the board game and Clue the movie and spinning them and you’ve got this.”
What: Clue: The Musical. When: May 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.; May 11, 15 and 18 at 3 p.m.Where: Savannah Community Theatre, 2160 E. Victory Dr. Cost: Friday and Saturday performances are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and military and $15 for students and children. All Sunday performances are $15. Thursday performances are $10. Info: 898-9021 or www.savannahcommunitytheatre.com.