The word “musical” may be in the title, but “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” is all about secrets, mayhem, hidden identities and disappearing acts.
The second show of the 2016-17 season of the Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon is a merry farce set in a mansion replete with siding panels and secret passageways. It opens Thursday and runs for through Nov. 13 for eight performances.
The show opens in the library of the estate. It’s the perfect place to assemble backers for an audition of a new show, or so the creative team responsible for a recent Broadway flop (in which three chorus girls were murdered) thinks. What they don’t know is that the infamous Stage Door Slasher will put in an appearance, too.
Directed by Brad Sanker, thee play has plenty of outlandish situations, confused identities and smart lines. There's even a little romance.
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Elsa Von Grossenknueten, played by Kayla Georgiafandis, is the eccentric wealthy owner of the mansion and the financial backer of many musicals. She uses her influence to summon the group together in an attempt to covertly find out who is responsible for the murders.
Helsa Wenzel (Leigh Reidelberger) is the maid who comes hilariously back to life. Melissa Kaegel portrays no-nonsense undercover cop Detective Kelly, brought in to help solve the mystery of the Stage Door Slasher. Other cast include Peter Hofman as Patrick; Benjamin Hopkins as Ken; Sara Sapp as Nikki; Sean Thomas as Eddie; Melanie Vick as Marjorie; Bruce Vick as Roger and Emmy Koonce as Bernice.
Anne Ecker and Josh Noll are assistant directors. Light design is by Jason Koonce and costume design is by Cathy Symonds.
A blizzard traps the group, there’s talk of Nazis, corpses pile up and the audience will feel as though they’ve slipped into a late-night movie from the ’40s.
The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12; at 2 p.m. Nov. 6 and 13.
Where: Looking Glass Playhouse, 301 W. St. Louis St., Lebanon
Tickets: $10 Thursday/Sunday; $12 Friday/Saturday; seniors, military and LPG members, $9/$11.
Information/tickets: 618-537-4962 or lookingglassplayhouse.com