Get a Clue: Moffat County theater presents beloved murder mystery as spring play
Was it Mrs. White with the revolver in the conservatory?
Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe in the kitchen?
With six suspects, just as many weapons and still more rooms in a sprawling mansion, the possibilities are plentiful in the most renowned murder mystery, and the invitation is open for audiences to see the beloved whodunnit at Moffat County High School.
The MCHS drama department stages the spring play “Clue” this week with performances at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14, as well as a 1:30 p.m Saturday matinee.
Admission is $7 per person.
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The show takes its inspiration from the Hasbro board game of the same name and the 1985 film upon which it was based — which was notably released in theaters with several different endings — with an evening at an elaborate estate suddenly taking a turn for the worse when the host (Everett Jacobsen) is suddenly killed.
“Everyone knows the board game, but not everybody necessarily knows the drama of it,” said director Grace Pomeleo. “I picked it because I thought it would be so fun for those kids to get into those characters because they’re such different, quirky characters than they’ve ever played before.”
Each of the six guests for the night is more suspicious than the last — Professor Plum (Nevaeh Allen), Miss Scarlet (Alyssa Rodriguez), Colonel Mustard (Chase Davis), Mrs. White (Maria Sanchez Silva), Mr. Green (Logan Malley) and Mrs. Peacock (Courtney Smith) — while blunt instruments like a wrench, lead pipe and candlestick, as well as a revolver, a knife and a length of rope in arm’s reach make any explanation possible.
“Their characters have grown so much since we started. They really had to delve into them to make them different from each other because they’re all shady personalities, and that makes the audience wonder who did it,” Pomeleo said.
It’s the house butler who must solve the case before disaster strikes again, with Kasen Tansey portraying Wadsworth, the sharp servant who puts his sleuthing skills to the test.
“He’s described as the driving force behind the show,” Tansey said. “He basically introduces all of the guests and exposes all of their secrets, and he kind of pushes things along and narrates what’s going on.”
Onstage essentially the whole show, Tansey said the role can be a challenge.
“The toughest part is there’s a lot of lines. It’s a very wordy show, so you’ve got to make sure you don’t confuse the backstories,” he said.
Still, the MCHS sophomore feels amply prepared.
“It’s my fifth production and my third year. I started doing high school theater in eighth-grade,” he said. “I feel like I can just pick up a role and go with it. The cast has worked really well together under our director, and everybody’s worked really hard to pull together this amazing show. I think it’ll be fantastic.”
Pomeleo said that since she’s been the MCHS drama and vocal teacher, she’s followed a similar pattern each school year with a bright and fun musical — such as the recent “The Wizard of Oz” and 2018’s “Cinderella” — in the fall, before a heavier drama in the spring, most recently “The Giver” and “The Outsiders.”
Director — Grace Pomeleo
Director’s Assistant — Rebecca Cruz
Stage Manager — Jessica Womble
Set Extraordinaire — Melinda Hall
Wadsworth — Kasen Tansey
Yvette — Tayla Siminoe
Miss Scarlet — Alyssa Rodriguez
Mrs. Peacock — Courtney Smith
Mrs. White — Maria Sanchez Silva
Colonel Mustard — Chase Davis
Professor Plum — Nevaeh Allen
Mr. Green — Logan Malley
Mr. Boddy — Everett Jacobsen
Cook — Avalon Bays
Motorist — Millie Fritz
Singing Telegram Girl — Kimber Eike
Agent — Samantha Bade
Cop — Kendra Eike
Extras/Detectives/Reporters — Juliet Hall, Tasmine Gleisner, Kaia Gunderson, Sami Jacobsen, Anna Jaynes, Arianna Crain
Crew — Isabelle Herod, Patrick Vest, Zoey Cochran, Connie LePlatt, RJ Calara, Alyssa Duncan, Dru Copeland
Techs — Josh Gumber, Hailey Collins, MaKala Herndon, Daniel Caddy, Celeste Valenzuela, Forrest Siminoe, Athan Smith, Jacob Jeffcoat, Sabastian Hershiser
Despite featuring homicide, “Clue” breaks that tradition.
“While it is kind of a dark subject matter, it is still a comedy, so it’s meant to be taken in a light-hearted way,” Pomeleo said.
The show will also have an interactive element; as a fundraiser, organizers will allow the crowd to vote via donation on which character they believe is the culprit before the answer is revealed. Though votes won’t affect the storyline, those who pick correctly will be part of a prize drawing.
Among the seniors involved with the show is Courtney Smith, and Mrs. Peacock, a holier-than-thou senator’s wife, is the type of part she said fits her well despite being far friendlier in real life.
“One big thing is how I interact with everyone. Onstage there are certain people she associates with, so I kind of have a tendency to associate more with Colonel Mustard or Miss Scarlet sometimes,” she said. “I kind of add my own personality to her too, like when I get really skittish.”
Smith counts the play as her 15th in 10 years. Besides working on each MCHS theatrical production of the past four years, either in the spotlight or with the stage crew, she performed in multiple shows with outlets such as Missoula Children’s Theatre.
Though she’s unsure if drama is something she’ll pursue past graduation, Smith noted that everyday life has its own theatrical elements, such as job interviews, which are tantamount to auditions.
“I’ve been really working on my skills as an actress, and I feel like I’ve really come a long way since I started when I was 8,” she said. “I feel like not only have I grown as an actress but as a person, like learning how to work with others, and it’s all been such a great experience.”
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