Roundabout Theatre Company’s “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a Broadway revival, officially opened on November 13, 2012 at Studio 54. The zany musical is set to run through February 10, 2013. Charles Dickens passed away before he finished his last novel, therefore taking the whodunit murder mystery with him to the grave. Rupert Holmes turned the novel into a musical with various endings, and allowed the audience to decide who the murderer is.
The Roundabout Theatre Company originally scheduled the opening date on November 29, but pushed it up to November 13, previews still began on October 19.
Rupert Holmes wrote the book, music, and lyrics, and he earned two Tony Awards for best book and score. The musical originally premiered in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater in 1985 and it also won a Tony Award for best musical. In this first ever revival, Studio 54 has been transformed into a Victorian Music Hall Royale at Christmastime.
Holmes said in an interview earlier this fall, “We want you to feel, as soon as you walk in the doors, you’re in that music hall. Also, I’ve updated a couple of the murderers’ confessions, and some of the lovers’ exchanges have changed as well. There are eight candidates for murderer, five candidates for the detective-in-disguise and 36 combinations of lovers…,” according to Playbill.com.
Scott Ellis directs the colorful cast of characters, starring Stephanie J. Block (Edwin Drood/Miss Alice Nutting), Will Chase (John Jasper/Mr. Clive Paget), Gregg Edelman (the Rev. Mr. Crisparkle/Mr. Cedric Moncrieffe), Jim Norton (Chairman/Mr. William Cartwright), Chita Rivera (the Princess Puffer/Miss Angela Prysock), Andy Karl (Neville Landless/Mr. Victor Grinstead), Jessie Mueller (Helena Landless/Miss Janet Conover), Betsy Wolfe (Rosa Bud/Miss Deirdre Peregrine), Nicholas Barasch (Deputy/Master Nick Cricker), Peter Benson (Bazzard/Mr. Phillip Bax) and Robert Creighton (Durdles/Mr. Nick Cricker) among others.
The design team includes: Anna Louizos is the set designer, William Ivey Long is the costume designer, Brian Nason is the light designer and Tony Meola is the sound designer.
The audience is encouraged to participate by singing-along, clapping, voting, and interacting with the lively actors. The audience can cause their own mischievous endings every night in this production, making the play different every time. Theatermania.com stated the audience had the Princess Puffer fall for the 14-year-old Deputy at the first public performance.
Stephanie Block said, “It is brand-new stuff, things are being written every single day because there are so many opportunities for so many different endings,” according to Playbill.com.
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” has received spectacular reviews so far. Steve Suskin a reporter for Variety said, “The production is one of the handsomest from Roundabout in years.” Terry Teachout from The Wall Street Journal said the musical was “A hit! Sheer fun!”
In order to really enjoy the show, it sounds like the audience just has to let go to and get into it.
The Roundabout Theatre Company is a subscriber-based house and many subscribers purchased their tickets back in February. Single show tickets are also available. For more information about “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” visit RoundaboutTheatre.org.