THE GAME'S AFOOT Set for Peninsula Players, Now thru 9/1
"The Game's Afoot," a hilarious new whodunit from the master of comedy Ken Ludwig, begins performances tonight, August 14, 2013 at Peninsula Players Theatre, America's oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County, Wisconsin's theatrical icon. "The Game's Afoot," has a three- week run with performances Tuesday through Sunday through Sept. 1, 2013.
The world famous actor William Gillette, the first actor to write and star in a play featuring Sherlock Holmes, has invited his eclectic cast members to his opulent home for a Christmas dinner party and séance. The festivities are hampered by murder, mayhem and madcap adventures when one of the guests is stabbed to death. Gillette must don his stage persona, sidestep danger and unmask the culprit's murderous romp.
"The Game's Afoot" is the winner of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Play. Ludwig's body of work also includes the comedies "Lend Me a Tenor," "Moon Over Buffalo," "The Fox on the Fairway" and the Tony Award-winning musical comedy "Crazy for You."
"Set in 1936 'The Game's Afoot' is a thriller, mystery and comedy," said Greg Vinkler the Peninsula Players Artistic Director. "The danger and hilarity are non-stop and patrons are sure to be swept on a wild ride. The characters in the mystery are all theater people with very large personalities. Ludwig has written them to be larger than life, bombastic and very, very funny."
Kimberly Senior, who directed Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Nile" at The Players last season, is at the helm for this whodunit. Senior was named the 2012 Best Director in Chicago by Chicago Magazine and directed "Disgraced" by Ayad Akhtar at Lincoln Center Theater in New York, the play won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Each season Vinkler strives to bring the best talent to Players audiences, which is evident in all the accolades and awards company members have received for their work.
Senior finds directing a comedy more challenging. "It has to be so specifically choreographed," she said. "The more madcap something seems on the stage the more tightly choreographed it is. The Inspector in 'The Game's Afoot' has a line 'Order from chaos,' and I feel that's what I do all day long."
"The Game's Afoot" is set in the 1930s, and Senior, the cast and designers researched the opulence of the era as well as the life of the real actor-writer-director William Gillette and his 24-room home-castle in Connecticut.
"There is a ton of physical comedy," Senior said. "It took scenic designer Jack Magaw and me so many tries to get the set right. So much of the action is predicated on the physical space. I love learning about new eras, new people, new history. I love to create a new world with the design team, share it with the actors, help them inhabit it and then discover new details of the world through their inhabitance."
Senior is working with a cast of Players veterans including Paul Slade Smith ("Chicago," "Once a Ponzi Time") as William Gillette who hosts the deadly Christmas party with his dotty mother played by Peggy Roeder ("Cabaret," "Over the Tavern," "Chicago"). Party guests include sharp-witted theater critic Daria Chase played by Molly Glynn ("Once a Ponzi Time"); a rising starlet Aggie Wheeler played by Rachel Klippel ("Sunday in the Park with George"); Gillette's co-stars Simon Bright played by Joe Foust ("Making God Laugh," "Is He Dead?"); a seasoned character actor and Vinkler ("Heroes," "Opus") and his actress wife McKinley Carter ("Panic," "Sunday in the Park with George"). Called in to investigate is Inspector Goring, Erin Noel Grennan ("Making God Laugh," "Murder on the Nile")