Randall Theatre Company Set to Get a “Clue”: Audience, Cast to Interact During Musical This Month
Was it Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the kitchen? Miss Scarlet with the knife in the library? Nobody knows—not even the cast.
“Not only does the audience not have a clue, we don’t for a bit,” Rhyon Ingalls, who plays Mr. Boddy, said about “Clue: The Musical” recently. “Everyone is acting as though everyone did it, and they’re trying to get away with it.”
The play is the latest offering from the Randall Theatre Company at The Ghostlight Playhouse in Medford.
“When I took over as the artistic director of the Randall Theatre Company in 2020, ‘Clue: The Musical’ was on my list of shows to do in 2020, but everything shut down and we had to move out of our location and close down for a while so everything was discombobulated,” Director Kathy Wing said.
She added that the musical sounded like a fun idea.
“I was aware of the show, but hadn’t seen it,” Wing said. “It’s interactive with the audience and the musical isn’t quite as well-known as the movie.”
Written by Peter DePietro with music by Galen Blum, Wayne Barker and Vinnie Martucci and lyrics by Tom Chiodo, “Clue: The Musical” first premiered as an off-Broadway show in 1997. It’s based on the board game “Cluedo” (known as “Clue” in North America) that was first manufactured by Waddingtons in the United Kingdom in 1949.
Fans of the game will likely be familiar with the 1985 movie Clue starring Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry and Madeline Kahn along with Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren.
Wing was quick to point out that the musical play is quite different from the movie.
“There’s a lot of differences between the play and the movie,” Wing said. “This version does not come from the movie version. The characters are the same, but it is its own show. There is a straight play version based on the movie, but it’s not what we’re doing.”
Instead, the cast of “Clue: The Musical” will hit the stage not knowing themselves who committed the crime, with what weapon or in what room.
“The audience chooses the game cards at the beginning, so the characters won’t know who did it until after the show starts,” Wing said. “Mr. Boddy’s lines change a lot. He’s got a lot to keep track of.”
Ingalls said this is the first time he will perform in a show that uses modular monologues, or monologues that change with each show.
“It’s been interesting and it’s been really fun,” Ingalls said. “The character just exudes energy.”
Although Curry’s portrayal of Wadsworth (revealed in one of the film’s three endings as the real Mr. Boddy) is known for his exuberance, speed and energy, Ingalls said he was more inspired by Vincent Prince, known for his acting in horror movies in the 50s and 60s.
“As Mr. Boddy is written in this play, I got hardcore Vincent Prince vibes, so that’s the direction I’m going,” Ingalls said. “It’s like everything is burning down, but you are the perfect host. That’s a Vincent Prince performance.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to present challenges across the board, Wing said the Randall Theatre Company and The Ghostlight Playhouse are socially distancing the audience as much as possible by limiting each show to 30 audience members. She said the tables will be set up to space each group from the other.
Despite the challenges of dealing with the pandemic and moving into a smaller performance space, Wing said the company has had fun working with smaller audiences.
For this show, the sets will be projected onto the space behind the actors.
“We have to be really creative with sets,” Wing said. “They need to be simple and mobile.”
As for the show itself, although the movie was based in the 1950s, Wing said the theater company is not focusing on any particular time period with costumes, sets or music. The musical selections vary from basic uptempo to fast and slow to jazz among others.
“I hope the audience will be surprised when the killer is revealed,” Wing said. “It’s more that we’re hoping they’ll have a lot of fun.”
Just like when people play the board game, audience members will have game cards so they can follow along with the clues as they are revealed and try to find the murderer before the cast does.
Along with Ingalls as Mr. Boddy, the cast features Lyndsay Byers as Mrs. Peacock, Madeline DeCourcey as Mrs. White, Ruby Painter as Miss Scarlet, JJ Scofield as Mr. Green, Brad Gonzales-Zentgraf as Professor Plum, Greg Franklin as Colonel Mustard and Jessica Lynn Dutra as The Detective. The play also features Ainsley Herrick as the Piano Player.
Choreography has been handled by Ella Diaz while Kelly Wright Latham is in charge of the lighting design and John Wing is in charge of the sound design.
“Clue: The Musical”
7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday; 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Sunday
February 11 – 27