Life’s a game and some thing’s afoot. The time is 1954, when McCarthyism was condemning people and naming names whether they were guilty of anything or weren’t. . . “I’m not a communist, I’m a Republican.”
The play is based on Jonathan Lynn’s 1985 movie, which is based on the Hasbro board game “Clue” with additional material by Hunter Foster, Sandy Rustin, and Eric Price. It contains music by David Abbinanti. It’s directed by Jennifer York.
It’s a dark and stormy night, near Washington D.C. Everything takes place at the Boddy Manor (a mansion of epic proportions and terrifying secrets). Guests have been invited. No one is who they say they are; each character has something to hide and blackmail to pay. Mr. Boddy assembles the cast of characters that we all know and love if we’ve played the game before. If not, it doesn’t really matter: Colonel Mustard (Mark Peterson), Mrs. White (Deya Ozburn), Mrs. Peacock (Dana Messina Galagan), Mr. Green (Frank Roberts), Professor Plum (Jason Sharp), and Miss Scarlet (Robin Mae Becar). The butler, Wadsworth (Mauro Bozzo), welcomes them to the mansion on a stormy evening, which is when murderous hijinks ensue as expected. The remainder of the cast includes Hanna Hahn as the maid, Yvette, Janice Williams playing the dual roles of a cook and a cop, Keith Ordonez as Mr. Boddy and the chief of police, Allen Melo plays a motorist and a cop. Valentine Fry is a brief, very brief breath of fresh air as a singing telegram girl.
Of the six invited guests, I’ve seen two on stage lately – Miss Scarlet (Robin Mae Becar), and Mr. Green (Frank Roberts). Both actors were in “The Importance of Being Earnest” at CenterStage in Federal Way. Robin also works as the Administrative Assistant for CenterStage. I love how our local actors enjoy acting at the different venues all around the Puget Sound area. It’s nice knowing that we have lots of talent in our own backyard. I look forward seeing more work from the other three guests, also.
Two other familiar faces were the butler Wadsworth (Mauro Bozzo), and Mr. Boddy (Keith Orodonez) both standing. Bozzo did a great job in TLT’s “A Chorus Line” and TLT’s “Cabaret.” There will be a reprise of “A Chorus Line” in 2022, so I hope to see Bozzo again soon. As Peg and I drove home after seeing “Clue On Stage” I told Peg that I thought Orodonez was one of the chefs performing “Toledo Surprise” in Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s “The Drowsy Chaperone,” another favorite local production . . . but he turned out to be an “underling.” The program mentions the production, but not the role . . . but then, I’m rarely wrongl, but struck out on this one.
Soon the body count starts. New body, different room, different weapon.
Although, the blame and suspicion changes with each comment, death, and location, the guests fear for their own lives as well as their reputations. No this is not a conga line . . . I love this scene of five suspects lined up and trying the old crystal glass hearing ploy to eaves drop.
Each actor took on their game piece-name piece with skill, humor, and tongue in each cheek. The star of the show, however was none of the above. The star of the show was the rotating stage. The turn-table set doesn’t get used every year, but when it’s used, it adds enormously to the production enjoyment. This year, it deserves every accolade it gathers. Jennifer York (Director and Scenic Artist), Frank Roberts (Lead Carpenter/Properties Manager), Christian Lovallo (Backstage Technician), Blake R. York (Graphic Design), and the entire Build & Paint Crew: Gunnar Johnson (also Running Crews), Karar Almozani, Nathan Lovitt, Hana Hahn, Ana Quinn, Teresa Byrd, Erin Changrau, and Brittany Griffins created a fantastic moving set that worked its own entertainment magic. While Blake R. York worked on the graphic design, he was definitely most important as the Technical Director/Set Designer for Clue On Stage. It was much more than just turning in a new set, but some sets had changes of furniture as well, which made it seem like the mansion went on forever. Not only did the set change behind the actors, but sometimes the cast members walked from set to set while standing in one place. It was just very nicely done and orchestrated. As you can see the Artistic Staff had plenty of opportunity to use their skills in many different areas . . . even more than usual.
This play has been produced in a number of cities across the U.S., but I pity them if they don’t have the turn-table and the set designs that make Tacoma Little Theatre what it is.
Just like the board game, “Clue On Stage” is good clean fun. The shows runs through November 7th. All audience members must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. For full details please visit our main page.
For more information about TLT and tickets for “Clue On Stage” – tacomalittletheatre.com/