Archway Theatre presents Ken Ludwig’s Sherlock Holmes murder mystery,
During the golden age of the American theatre, one man was bold enough to bring the role of Sherlock Holmes to the live stage. He was actor and playwright, William Gillette, an inimitable theatrical force of legendary proportions. Now the Archway Theatre brings William Gillette to the stage through the work of famous Broadway playwright, Ken Ludwig, with “Postmortem,” April 1 through April 30. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $28.
Ludwig is best known for major Broadway musical hits such as “Crazy For You,” “Lend Me A Tenor,” and the new “An American in Paris.” He is also a prolific mystery playwright, having penned works such as “The Game’s Afoot,” “Baskerville,” and “Postmortem.”
“It is thrilling to present this fun and exciting murder mystery from one of the masterful modern playwrights of our time,” said Steven Sabel, Archway producing artistic director.
“Postmortem” is set in the early 1920s during the golden era of American theatre. The story revolves around Gillette and the cast of actors from his current production of “Sherlock Holmes,” a play he wrote and starred in for more than 30 years. The excitement ensues when Gillette invites the actors to spend the weekend at his Rhenish castle in Connecticut. A late-night séance reveals a murder, and everyone is a suspect. In true Sherlock Holmes style, clues must be lined up together to solve the crime.
“Audiences love to solve a mystery, and Ludwig’s writing is so good at placing key clues within the action, while tempting the audience to put the puzzle together to help them point to the murderer,” Sabel said.
Sabel leads a cast of primarily Archway Theatre resident company members, including Sara Davenport, John Eddings, Kate Hart, Sally Schaub, and Hillary Weintraub. Actor Carlton Totten makes his Archway debut.
“It is definitely a hand-picked cast of exceptional talent who have fully embraced this 1920s world of theatrical intrigue, jealousy, revenge, and murder,” Sabel said.
The action of the play takes place on a set designed by Eddings, recognized for his recent work creating a winter wonderland for the Archway’s “The Winter’s Tale,” and Renaissance Verona, Italy for “Romeo and Juliet.” Costumes are coordinated by Davenport, whose work was also seen in “Romeo and Juliet,” as well as last season’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Weintraub is the manager of the properties department.
“We set goals this season to raise the bar in black box theatre production aspects, and our talented team has really answered the challenge. John’s (Eddings) ingenuity never ceases to amaze the company, and Sara (Davenport) is a master with period pieces. Hillary (Weintraub) always seems to find even the rarest of items required by a script,” said Sabel.
Iconic elements such as the famous deerstalker hat and curved pipe that are forever associated with Sherlock Holmes were first established by Gillette in live performances. He was personal friends with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Doyle gave Gillette full authority to transfer Holmes from the pages of Doyle’s novels to the stage of the theater.
When Gillette asked Doyle, “May I marry Holmes?” Doyle was reported to have responded: “You may marry him, or murder or do what you like with him.” History was made.
“Postmortem” opens Saturday, April 1. The Archway’s traditional opening gala reception will be held after the performance, featuring food and drinks with the cast and crew.
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