Mercyhurst Takes Mystery to a Whole New Level
Thursday, Mar. 28
If you're looking for a mystery to solve, but then want time to relax and watch as the story unfolds, then you've come to the right whodunit show. Mercyhurst University is ending its theater season with The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, and just as it suggests in the title, there is plenty of comedy — and murder, to go around.
After a disastrous Broadway flop in which three chorus girls were murdered, the creative team behind the unsuccessful-yet-deadly show decides to hold a backer's audition. The Westchester estate where they unwillingly become trapped proves to be as deadly as their first show. Only this time, no one is safe as the "Slasher" strikes again.
Dr. Brett Johnson, who has "been wanting to direct [this show] for several years," describes this production by John Bishop as "hysterically funny but also witty, biting, and refreshingly irreverent."
A show that, much like its content, did make it to Broadway (though it was not a flop) and was even directed by the playwright John Bishop himself in 1987.
For Johnson, that was the ultimate takeaway that attracted him to the show. He explains, "My primary consideration when choosing material is finding scripts that will challenge our students and facilitate their growth as artists and scholars. A show like The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 challenges them to embrace a broader style of performance than they're accustomed to while still drawing upon the skills they've learned in classes and previous productions."
Besides a disastrously funny plot, this show lends itself to a spectacular set design. "This set is one of the largest and most ornate ones that we've constructed during my six-year tenure at Mercyhurst…replete with 12-foot walls, French doors, chandeliers, revolving bookcases, and other surprises," Johnson informs.
If you leave this show wondering what the stabbing pain in your stomach is, don't fear that you're the "Slasher's" next victim. That ache is from laughing. — Kalli Oberlander
7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 2:00 p.m. Sundays through April 7 // Taylor Little Theatre, 501 E 38th St. // $15, seniors $10, students/youth $5 // miac.mercyhurst.edu