Rupert Holmes Joins Int'l Mystery Writers' Festival

Writer Rupert Holmes has agreed to join the International Mystery Writers' Festival Executive Committee. In addition, Holmes will also be bringing his Tony, Grammy, Emmy and Edgar Award talents of writing for the festival through the production of unique and special events.

"I look forward to seeing these scripts brought to life by David Ossman and Judith Walcutt's amazing troupe," Holmes said. "And I look forward to greeting one of American theatre's living legends, impresario Zev Buffman, whose Broadway credits are certainly no mystery to me."  

Zev Buffman, co-chairman of the festival, said: "Rupert will bring a new dimension to the festival that will propel us into a new era left behind by books on tape. His new art form will hit the senses and capture the hearts of all who attend. We are discovering this re-emerging art form under the guiding hands of the leading authority on the planet."

Holmes' critically hailed, Emmy Award-winning dramedy "Remember WENN" television series will be used for an endless source of musical mystery special events to be presented at the festival from year to year.  

The setting of the series is Pittsburgh in 1941 during the struggling radio industry of the day. With characters set against the backdrop of a small radio station, WENN was poised to bring back memories for those who were there and serve as a doorway to the past for those who were not. WENN is a blend of comedy and drama that replicates a savory taste of the long-gone days of radio. The series ran on AMC for nearly five seasons, but still left several unresolved cliffhangers hanging. Two of the episodes from the series will be combined to create a unique style of musical mystery during the two week festival. "The Armchair Detective" and "The Ghost of WENN" will be the two episodes that will be adapted as musicals and renamed "Armchair Detective – A Remember WENN Musical Mystery."

"The Armchair Detective" occurs on a stormy night, flickering lights and a mysterious telephone call that would normally be the stuff found on one of WENN's radio dramas. But when an escaped convict shows up at the station, demanding that "Armchair Detectives" re-enact the crime to find out who really killed his boss and prove his innocence, the situation becomes all too real.

The mysterious drama, "The Ghost of WENN" is a ghost story beginning at midnight on Friday the 13th and turns spooky for real when one of the characters starts hearing voices, and the power goes off.

Producer Judith Walcott and Director David Ossman, longtime friends and colleagues of Holmes will continue as the team that will guide this integral part of the festival.

"Rupert Holmes has sort of made a mark for himself with doing productions of many levels, shows within shows… multilayers and multidimensional stage work, Walcutt said. "Remember WENN" really has kind of a cult following. People love the romance of old radio."

Holmes' credits include the current broadway musical "Curtains," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (Tony Awards to Holmes for book, music and lyrics, Tony to "Edwin Drood" for Best Musical; "Identical Honors," New York Drama Desk; Outer Critics Circle, Best Musical); "Accomplice" (Edgar Award, Mystery Writers of America), "Solitary Confinement;" and "Say Goodnight Gracie" (National Broadway Theatre Award, Best Play; Tony nomination, Best Play). Off-Broadway credits include: "Twelfth Night" (NYSF, original music); regional credits are "Marty" (score by Strouse and Adams, Huntington Theatre, Boston) and "Solitary Confinement" (Kennedy Center).  His novels for Random House include "Where the Truth Lies" (Booklist Top Ten Debut Crime Novel,Best American Mystery Novel 2004, Nero Wolfe nomination); and "Swing" (San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Fiction.)    

This year, the mystery festival's screenplays will be performed at the 299-seat Goldie's Best Little Opryhouse, which is the oldest operating theatre in the United States.

"The Opryhouse's age will lend itself beautifully in evoking the emotions live screenplay readings are designed to do," Buffman said. "Walking in those theatre doors will be like walking into a time machine, to a time when radio reigned as the king of entertainment. It is the perfect venue for the wide screen audio to be presented. People will be able to sit back in comfy theatre seats and enjoy masterpieces coming to life on that legendary stage."

Buffman said the venue was selected to present and record the audio screenplays for a number of reasons, including the superb natural acoustics, superior state-of-the-art sound capabilities, ability to record audience participation as well as stage occurrences, stage size that is large enough to accommodate all cast and crew, increased seating capacity, superb lighting and most importantly a nostalgic atmosphere that is conducive to the setting of the audio screen plays for the audience.

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