Clue - the Musical
- By gentleguide
- On Sat 03 Nov 2018
Almost everyone grew up with the family board game Clue. Determining the Suspect, Location, and Weapon used in Mr. Boddy’s murder was a delightful introduction to sleuthing and mysteries. Not even the performers know “whodunit” when ACTORS in Ames brings the board game to life in their production of Clue-the Musical opening November 15th.
Rules of the Game
The familiar characters are all here. Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Mr. Green, and Mrs. Peacock will contribute to the evening’s festivities, and each will come under suspicion. But the best part of Clue - the Musical is every performance will be different and unique, because the audience will be involved in the selection of the guilty party, and the cast has to work towards the solution as the play progresses! Only Mr. Boddy knows the answers… and unfortunately, he’s going to end up as the dead body far too soon!
Bill Helms plays the iconic Colonel Mustard, and explains the conceit of the show. “The set is like the Clue board game. The characters are part of, and know they are part of, the game. And, they know the game has been played many times before and will be played again after that night’s game is over. Mr. Boddy is the narrator/host of the game and is also the person who is murdered in every game. He happily accepts this, telling the audience not to be sad, that it is all part of the game.”
“Much of the action centers on motive rather than exclusively who, how and where the murder happened. Each of the six suspects has a tale they’ve fashioned about themselves, and many of the songs expand on that. Mr. Boddy has reason to dislike them, and they all have reason to want Mr. Boddy dead. Mr. Boddy, as narrator/host, doles out clues to the audience throughout the show. A new character, the Detective, shows up after the murder to investigate and solve the mystery.”
Kris VerSteegt plays Mrs. White, and is delighted to play her comedic part in this show. “Clue-the Musical is definitely a light-hearted romp the audience will love! The script, written by Peter DePietro, features clever dialogue laced with both in-your-face humor and subtle humor. The Detective speaks in nursery rhyme, Mr. Green’s dialogue featured mixed metaphors, Professor Plum plays grammar police, and Mrs. White, with her cockney accent, plays the ultimate over-worked, under-sexed domestic with a score to settle.”
Helms agrees wholeheartedly. “Each of the characters think that they are better/more successful than they really are. Colonel Mustard talks about triumphing in war, but this is only in his own imagination. He is always ready to do battle, but in actuality was never allowed to join the armed forces. Right now [in the rehearsal process], we are working on making the characters more exaggerated and therefore funnier.”
As if the broad characterizations aren’t enough of a challenge in this show, the various cast members have to deal with not knowing ahead of time how the show is going to end each night! “There are 216 combinations of suspect, weapon, and room in this production,” notes VerSteegt. “Each evening, audience members will choose where, with what, and by whom the murder was perpetrated. Only Mr. Boddy, who takes the selected cards from the audience members, will be aware of the outcome!”
“As the action unfolds, Mr. Boddy’s dialogue will alert each of the six suspects, in turn, if they are the selected murderer for the evening. Throughout the show, Mr. Boddy will also eliminate and implicate the weapons and the rooms through his dialogue and clues to the audience and cast. Throughout the evening, the audience members will be able to play along just as if they were playing the actual board game—complete with score sheets and tiny pencils!”
The Game is Afoot!
“Personally, I love mysteries,” exclaims VerSteegt. “As a child, I grew up reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. When I got older, I started reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. I was fascinated by how, with careful attention to detail, you could solve the mystery in your mind, only to be outwitted by Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes with an unexpected twist at the very end. Clue-the Musical delivers this exact experience and is very satisfying!”
“I did play Clue as a kid,” says Helms. “It has been awhile so I don’t remember any details about it. I do think a lot of people have played Clue. We did some promotional photos at the Iowa State University Memorial Union. We had our costumes on, and several students picked up right away that it was Clue, just from seeing our costumes.”
“My children and I have played it many times,” adds VerSteegt, “and even have a Harry Potter version of the game. I grew up playing Clue, and still have the game at home.”
Turning the board game Clue into a theatrical experience would seem to be a straightforward affair, but the title of this piece is Clue-the Musical... which means adding a musical element to the murderous proceedings. “This is not a dark comedy at all,” she says, “despite the gruesome crime of murder! The musical was never ON Broadway, but the writing is so clever and the musical is extraordinarily fun to sing, with close harmonies and jazzy overtones. We have assembled a cast of outstanding talent as well.”
Helms appreciates the musical element, and the quality of the group. “I’ve been in a lot of musicals at ACTORS. I’ve really enjoyed this small cast (only 8 of us). With a small cast there is much more interaction and ease of getting to know people. All of the cast members have really nice solo quality singing voices, but we also blend together very well. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Chris Truckenmiller, the pianist (and music director). He does a phenomenal job.”
ACTORS in Ames invites everyone to come play along with Clue-the Musical. Shows begin November 15, and there are six performances through November 25. Tickets are available through the ACTORS website and in person at Alpha Copies locations in Ames. So brush up on your sleuthing skills, and come prepared to both investigate and enjoy the music, comedy, and murder. Can you figure out the mystery (before the cast even does?)