COURTESY OF BRAD GODA
Guy Merola, left, plays John Jasper/Mr. Clive Paget, Lisa Konove plays the Princess Puffer/Miss Angela Prysock and Suzanne Green plays Edwin Drood/Miss Alice Nutting in Diamond Head Theatre's production of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood."
‘Drood’ is a killer for cast at DHT
Preparing "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" for the stage is particularly challenging because the story has an almost unlimited number of endings.
"I've looked it up, and it's in the thousands," Diamond Head Theatre Artistic Director John Rampage says. "You have a choice of everybody (in the show) as to who did it, and then the combination of the two lovers."
'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'
» Place: Diamond Head Theatre, 520 Makapuu Ave.
» Showtimes: Opens at 8 p.m. Friday; continues at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, through April 9.
» Tickets: $11 to $42, with discounts for students, seniors and military
» Call: 733-0274 or online at diamondheadtheatre.com
The comic mystery is a play-within-a-play, based on an unfinished Charles Dickens tale that takes place in an old-time English music hall.
"You can't coast once you open 'cause every single night you have to be prepared for whatever the audience is going to come with for you," Rampage continues.
"They're given a list of choices -- the lovers and the killer. Obviously there are some that are going to be a lot more obvious or will be more popular, but (the cast) has to be prepared to do any conclusion on any performance."
It is guest director/choreographer Greg Zane who is responsible for making sure that the cast can cover all the various combinations.
"Drood" playwright Rupert Holmes created the fictional Music Hall Royale and its players: choirmaster John Jasper, who is madly in love with young Rosa Bud, who is engaged to Jasper's nephew, Edwin Drood. Would Drood's disappearance open the way for Jasper to claim Rosa for himself? Are there others who might have more compelling reasons to want Drood gone?
Many members of the "Drood" cast play dual roles as Music Hall Royale members and as characters in the play that the group is presenting.
Rampage says the setting for "Drood" adds another set of challenges.
"The show is all written as British music hall (material), so in the middle of telling the story of Edwin Drood they stop everything and say, 'OK, and here's a musical number,' and that style of entertainment is kind of foreign to Americans ... Musically it's a very difficult show to sing. It's all written in a very Dickensian/Victorian/Edwardian style, so it's a very complex score, and it's very wordy for them to learn. British music hall (material), especially up-tempo stuff, tends to be Gilbert & Sullivan-esque ... where you've got lots and lots of rhymes going on."
Guy Merola stars in the dual roles of John Jasper and Clive Paget, with Colin Miyamoto at Bazzard/Phillip Bax and Lisa Konove as Princess Puffer/Angela Prysock. The cast also includes such perennial draws as Dennis Proulx, Jimi Wheeler and Kirsten Dixon.
"Colin is always great, and Guy has one of the best male voices in town ... but I think they all have their moment to shine in the show. And this is a big break for Suzanne Green (who plays Edwin Drood and Alice Nutting). She's had good supporting parts, but this is her chance to really step forward, and she's up to the challenge."