GULF SHORES — Sometimes how a murder mystery production comes together is a mystery itself.Since COVID-19 sent the world into hiding, many community volunteers have yet to return, organizers …
GULF SHORES — Sometimes how a murder mystery production comes together is a mystery itself.
Since COVID-19 sent the world into hiding, many community volunteers have yet to return, organizers said. At South Baldwin Community Theatre that means the lights, sound booth and ticket sales all must be operated by someone, but who?
And when a production is plagued with sickness as the flu season begins to swirl, rehearsals become challenging.
This weekend South Baldwin Theatre's upcoming whodunit, "Murder on the Orient Express" has twists and turns not just in the storyline but in the story of the cast and crew who stitched the production together through unexpected ups and downs.
"I miss the volunteers. It's been hard because not everybody has been able to come back," said Director Paula Dumas. But as they say, the show must go on.
"It's really been a joy to work with this cast even as we dealt with sickness and finding volunteers to get back into the groove," Dumas said. "There have been some challenges, but everyone has come together to make it happen."
The Agatha Christie tale is Dumas' first turn in the director's chair after years of working backstage in the box office, the light booth and as a stage manager.
Dumas said the storyline more closely follows the novel than the 2017 movie. Audiences who think they may know the ending are in for a surprise.
"It is going to be spectacular with the lighting and the music," Dumas said.
Dumas said the production is truly an exercise in community theater with crew and cast coming from across the county.
"We have people who come here from Spanish Fort, Elberta, Robertsdale, Foley and Orange Beach," she said. "That's what I love about community theater. I'm amazed by how much talent we have here."
Dumas is leading a cast of familiar faces. Cade Alexander, currently a finalist in the 2023 Best of Baldwin for best actor is a staple of the South Baldwin Community Theatre stage. He plays the role of Hector MacQueen, a major protagonist in the storyline.
Jennifer McBrayer was seen just weeks ago in Orange Beach's Expect Excellence production of "Clue" will appear now as Countess Andrenyl. Joining her is her co-star in Exit Stage Left's spring production of "Into the Woods," Anna Hallex, who plays Helen Hubbard.
Gulf Shores High School's theater director Paiton Lami-Doyle will perform the role of Mary Debenham while Robert W. Gardner, who directs South Baldwin Theatre's radio theater festival each year, stars as Detective Hercule Poirot.
New to the stage is Marrisa Markley, performing as Princess Dragomiroff.
Rounding out the cast are Theodore Pitsios, Kyle McCartney, Caymen Russell, Andy Burgess, Don Roberts and Zoe Dumas.
Murder on the Orient Express opens Thursday, Oct. 20.
For show and ticket information visit www.sbct.biz.