ORANGE BEACH — Characters run back and forth. Up and down. Through and around secret passageways. There's a dead guy. And a lot of suspects. How will this classic whodunnit end? The audience …
ORANGE BEACH — Characters run back and forth. Up and down. Through and around secret passageways. There's a dead guy. And a lot of suspects. How will this classic whodunnit end? The audience doesn't have a clue.
But, the mystery is ready to be solved at the Expect Excellence Community Theatre's presentation of "Clue: On Stage" — an adaptation inspired by the 1985 movie of the same name and the classic murder-mystery board game. Performance dates are set for Sept. 23-25.
The show is directed by Jacob Morris, who local theater fans may recognize as the creative force behind Bay Area Performing Arts in Daphne. Morris also directed Orange Beach's productions of "The Addams Family" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie."
Jessica Langston, producer and creative director for the City of Orange Beach, said while students in the city are offered classes in music, theater and visual arts throughout the year, instructors encourage them to move beyond the classroom and onto the stage.
"That is a total game changer," Langston said. "They have the opportunity to learn more not just from instructors but from other people in the community who are in the show as well.
"The mayor's vision is that children will learn from the teens, the teens learn from the twenty-somethings, and they learn from the older adults," Langston said. "Everybody gets challenged while they are having a lot of fun."
The set is painted to look like the Clue gameboard and the cast many times follows the outlined paths. Physical comedy reigns as the actors move from room to room via stairs, secret passageways and hidden spaces.
While fans of the popular "Clue" movie of 1985 may think they know exactly what makes Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard and the others tick, every production of "Clue" is a new adventure.
"The characters are completely their own," Langston said. "Each has taken their role and really embraced it. There is an element of nostalgia, but we have taken it to a different level."
Starring in "Clue: On Stage" are Krista Williams, as Mrs. Peacock, remembered fondly for her portrayal of the grandmother in last year's production of "The Addams Family." Jennifer McBrayer takes the stage as Miss Scarlet after a turn as the stepmother in Exit Stage Left's production of "Into the Woods" in May.
Diane Irwin returns to the Orange Beach stage as Mrs. White. This former Broadway performer dazzled audiences in local productions of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Fiddler on the Roof."
Justin Gibson, who played the enchanting Gomez Adams last year, returns as Professor Plum.
Rounding out the cast are Gavin Laxton as Wadsworth, Caroline Grimes as Yvette, Bradley Chisenhall as Colonel Mustard, Justin Gibson as Professor Plum, Alex Wright as Mr. Green, Nick Bryant as Mr. Boddy, Elizabeth Rayfield as the telegram girl, Terry Harris as the chief of police, Donna Ricca as a police officer and Carol Senecal as an officer and a cook.
Behind the scenes Caroline Grimes serves as assistant director, Matt Carroll is the technical director, Becky Ray is stage manager, and the massive and delightful two-story set was designed by Benjamin Kramer.
The production is the first in the Expect Excellence 2022 - 2023 theater season. The Expect Excellence Music Department will bring "Visions of Christmas" to the stage on Nov. 17, 18 and 19. The theater program will present "Disney's The Little Mermaid" in early February. Auditions for that show are Friday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 24, from 1 to 5 p.m.
For questions about auditions or shows, email Langston at firstname.lastname@example.org.