No one knows whodunnit!
When the Brooklyn Theatre Club starts its production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” on March 22, the show will not have an ending or a complete cast. But all will be well, says its director — the interactive show will turn to the audience to provide a conclusion to the murder mystery musical, and to join the killer cast.
“The audience gets to vote on the detective and we round it out,” said Stephen Schapero. “And at our theater company we also like to include our audience in small roles — it’s a nice tie-in to the work we already do.”
The show, based on an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, asks the audience to vote during intermission on which character is the killer, which is a secret detective, and who falls in love. And because those roles depend on the popular vote, actors hoping for a plum part will play their hearts out to win viewers to their side, said Schapero.
“I have told the actors that any chance of getting chosen is going to be directly related to the performance they give,” he said. “The audience will see the energy they bring and will be drawn to different things. Someone is going to get voted the murderer or secret detective, and someone in the audience is going to be the lover.”
And audience members chosen at random will be given a script and assigned a role in the play. Those with stage-fright can always decline, but the show gives a warm welcome to new recruits, regardless of their skill level, said the show’s producer.
“Our goal is get total strangers to bring new faces to the stage,” said Mara Frankel. “The most exciting thing is getting to see someone who is doing this for the first time, and they feel so silly — but everyone gets big applause, no matter how big or small their part.”
The show has a lush score and witty dialog, but the semi-improvised ending gives it a little something extra, said Frankel.
“It’s the work is unfinished but what exists is a great and witty piece of theatre that is made all better by this conclusion,” she said. “I really want audiences to see it because it’s something that is rare in theater.”
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” at Muchmore’s [2 Havemeyer St. at N. Ninth Street in Williamsburg, (718) 576–3222, www.brook
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