Lyceum Theatre puts on a murder mystery

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre's fifth show of the 2013 season, "Agatha Christie's A Murder Is Announced," is both funny and chilling -- a classic Christie story! "A Murder Is Announced" opens Saturday, Aug. 10, and runs through Saturday, Aug. 17.

In 1950, the residents of Miss Blacklock's are surprised to read in the local newspaper that a murder will take place that evening, in their very home. Assumed to be a joke, a night of fun and games turns grisly when a murder does indeed take place. Ms. Christie's favorite busybody sleuth, Miss Marple is called in to solve the whodunit.

Michael Rothhaar returns to the Lyceum to direct "A Murder Is Announced." Lyceum audiences will remember Rothhaar as the director of the 2010 production of "My Fair Lady," as well as appearing onstage at the Lyceum in "The Man Who Came To Dinner," "You Can't Take It With You," "Black Coffee," "Run For Your Wife" and "And Then There Were None." He served as the artistic director of Pennsylvania's Allenberry Playhouse from 1987 to 1992. For Allenberry, he directed 40 productions.

Making her Lyceum debut as Miss Marple is Darrie Lawrence. Lawrence's Broadway credits include "Dead Accounts," "Come Back Little Sheba," "Steel Magnolias" and "Buried Child." National tour credits include "Doubt," "Quilters" and "Great Expectations."

The role of Letitia Blacklock will be played by Leslie Alexander. This season Alexander has performed on the Lyceum stage as Ms. Anna Smith in "Meet Me In St. Louis" and Clelia Waldgrave in "The Nerd." On Broadway, she appeared with Hugh Jackman in "The Boy From Oz" and in "Mamma Mia!"

Lyceum favorite Whit Reichert returns to the Lyceum stage in the role of Inspector Craddock. This season Reichert was seen as The Wizard in "The Wizard Of Oz," Lazar Wolf in "Fiddler On The Roof," Grandpa Prophater in "Meet Me In St. Louis" and Warnock Waldgrave in "The Nerd." Other roles at the Lyceum include Ben Franklin in "1776," J. B. Biggley in "How To Succeed...," George MacMillan in "Big, The Musical," Osgood Fielding in "Sugar," Dr. Chumley in "Harvey," Max in "The Sound Of Music" and Al Lewis in "The Sunshine Boys."

Another Lyceum favorite, Mallory Hawks, returns to play the role of Phillipa Haymes. Earlier this season Hawks played the role of Esther Smith in "Meet Me In St. Louis." Also at the Lyceum, she was seen as Barbara in "Black Coffee," Essie in "You Can't Take It With You" and Jo in "Little Women."

Peggy Billo returns to the Lyceum stage in the role of Dora Bunner. Last summer she was seen as Mrs. Paroo in "The Music Man." Other Lyceum roles include Mrs. Higgins in "My Fair Lady," Penny in "You Can't Take It With You," Mrs. Van Daan in "The Diary Of Anne Frank," Reverend Mother in "Nunsense" and Mrs. Norman in "Children Of A Lesser God."

In his Lyceum debut, Dan Fenaughty joins the cast of "A Murder Is Announced" in the role of Patrick Simmons. National tours include Ernst in "Cabaret" and Hannay in "The 39 Steps." Regionally, Fenaughty has been seen in "The Unexpected Guest," "The Mound Builders," "Chicago," "Lend Me A Tenor" and "The Glass Menagerie."

The role of Julia Simmons, Patrick's sister, will be played by Dakota Mackey-McGee. Earlier this season, Mackey-McGee was seen on the Lyceum stage in "The Wizard of Oz" and "Fiddler On The Roof."

Jenna Augen is making her Lyceum debut as Miss Blacklock's explosive Hungarian cook, Mitzi. Her United Kingdom theatre credits include "Chicken Soup With Barley" at The Royal Court, "The Way of The World" at The Chichester Festival Theatre and "Rufus Norris' Sleeping Beauty" at The Birmingham Repertoire. Film and television credits include "Josephine and the Roach" and "The Night Watch" on BBC.

Donna Weinsting returns to the Lyceum stage in the role of Mrs. Swettenham. Lyceum audiences will remember Weinsting from last season's, "The Unexpected Guest" in which she played the nurse/housekeeper, Miss Bennett. Playing the role of Mrs. Swettenham's son Edmund Swettenham will be Tobin Mitnick. Mitnick's recent regional work include Mickey in "Blood Brothers," Lucio in "Measure for Measure" and Fenton in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," all for the Texas Shakespeare Festival. Television credits include "All My Children" and "Team Umizoomi."

Rounding out the cast for "A Murder Is Announced" are Clayton Sullivan and Michael Brennan.

The production team consists of Jeff Ridenour, scenic designer; Randy B. Winder, resident lighting designer; Katharine Mott, costume designer; and Matthew Wilson, sound designer. Tony Dearing is the production stage manager and Emilee Buchheit is the assistant stage manager.

For tickets call 660-837-3311 or visit

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