Park Square Theatre Presents BASKERVILLE
Park Square Theatre cherishes its summertime tradition of cozying up audiences with a good mystery. This year's edition for the company's 43rd season - Ken Ludwig's BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY - offers a fresh take for Holmes devotees AND a special invitation for those who've never spent an evening with the iconic sleuth. McKenna Kelly-Eiding (closing a spectacular run in THE WOLVES at The Jungle) stars as Sherlock Holmes and Sara Richardson* (last seen at Park Square in THE LIAR) as Dr. Watson. The remaining 40 characters in this smart send-up of The Hound of the Baskervilles are played by just three actors: Eric "Pogi" Sumangil*; Ricardo Beaird; and Marika Proctor*. Cue the lightning-fast costume changes as wealthy Henry Baskerville is threatened by the fable of a bloodthirsty hound on the moors and the dynamic duo sniff out the culprit.
Women have been winning over Holmes fans in recent years, from Lucy Liu as Watson in the CBS series ELEMENTARY, to Christopher Walsh's new play Miss Holmes, to Carole Nelson Douglas' eight acclaimed Irene Adler suspense novels - the first to reinvent a woman from the Holmes "canon" as the protagonist. Director Theo Langason, in his Park Square directing debut, admits that "some Sherlockians will be skeptical of a woman in the role. But, all the things we love about the character - intuition, ingenuity, intelligence - aren't tied to gender. And when I saw McKenna's audition, her performance was so grounded - which this script needs since the other actors jump from character to character."
In many ways, Watson takes center stage as the cataloguer and helpmate. Like the character of Archie Goodwin in the two Nero Wolfe mysteries Park Square has commissioned, Watson serves as the "investigator on the ground" while the great detective muses in solitude. "Sara Richardson is so wonderful," says Langston, "and I'm glad we get to spend so much time with her as Watson in this play."
Langason relishes the challenges of tweaking audience expectations while staying true to the core of the Holmes story that keeps winning fans generation after generation. "Sherlock is a fascinating character," he says. "He deserves a role in the pantheon of super heroes. I mean, without Sherlock Holmes, is it possible to have Batman? This show clips along with a very atmospheric, cinematic quality that I think will be really satisfying to both the artists and the audience. Peter Morrow (the sound designer) and I are working hard on where the sound comes from in the auditorium, trying to achieve the sensation you get in a surround-sound movie theatre. I want those 'howls off the moors' to give us all the heebee jeebees!"
The creative team for the production includes Ashawnti Ford (Assistant Director), Eli Sherlock Schlatter (Set Designer), Mandi Johnson (Costume Designer), Peter Morrow(Sound Designer), Michael Kittel (Light Designer), Sadie Ward, Properties Designer, Annie Enneking (Fight Choreographer), and Keely Wolter (Dialect Coach). Laura Topham* will serve as Stage Manager and Sam Diekman* is the Assistant Stage Manager.
Ken Ludwig's BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY Performance Schedule: Previews begin Friday, June 15, and continue through Thursday, June 20. June 21 is Opening Night, and the run continues through August 5. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. except for Saturday and Sunday matinees, which begin at 2 p.m. All performances are on the company's Proscenium Stage in Saint Paul's historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place.
Ticket prices: Previews: $20/$27/$37. Regular Run: $25/$40/$60. Discounts are available for seniors 62+, members of the military, those age 30 and under, groups, and ASL/AD patrons. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square ticket box office, 20 W. Seventh Place, and by phone, 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.
2018-2019 SEASON TICKETS are on sale now. Season packages range in size from all nine plays in the season to a choose-your-own series of three or more. Subscription package prices begin at $75. SINGLE TICKETS will go on sale this summer.
*Member, Actors Equity Association
Photo by Petronella J Ytsma