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East Lynne Theater Company Presents THE POE MYSTERIES, 7/25-9/1

From the brutal double murder in a locked house, to the disappearance of a beautiful young woman, and the dangerous secrets in a stolen letter, these are Detective Dupin's greatest cases.  

     Running from July 25 through September 1, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 p.m., the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company presents "The Poe Mysteries," a world premiere, adapted by James Rana, based on "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget," and "The Purloined Letter."  

     An American journalist is so eager to interview C. August Dupin that he appears on the doorsteps of the famous Parisian's home, unannounced. Once the journalist engages Dupin in conversation, the stories of the great detective come to life, with four actors taking on fifty roles in these famous tales created by Edgar Allan Poe. The word "detective" was not even used before Poe coined it, and these stories about violent crime and theft are considered the first "detective" stories ever written. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle credits Poe with influencing his own Sherlock Holmes creation.

      Director Gayle Stahlhuth has assembled a talented cast, all who have previously worked with ELTC.

      Fred Velde plays the brilliant Dupin. His ELTC credits include last season's "Dulcy," and he regularly portrays Dr. Watson in ELTC's acclaimed radio-style Holmes productions. Fred has performed in over fifty shows in NYC, including "The Price of Genius" on Broadway, and the revival of Mae West's "Sex" Off-Broadway.

     The journalist, Henry Williams, is played by award-winning musician Thomas Raniszewski. Recently in Philadelphia, he portrayed many roles in the two-hander, "The Twentieth Century Way." ELTC shows include "Berkeley Square" and "The Dictator."

     Portraying the police chief among other roles is Mark Edward Lang. His work with ELTC includes "The New York Idea," as an actor, and "Anna Christie," as a director. His NYC and regional credits include Off-Broadway's "Welcome Home Marian Anderson."

     Shelley McPherson counts Agnes, who has much to lose with her "purloined letter," among her "Poe" portrayals. Her credits include ELTC's "Why Marry?," many episodes of "Guiding Light" and performing regularly at Joe's Pub at The Public Theatre in NYC and The Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

     The mysterious Marie Roget is one of many characters played by Grace Wright. She was in ELTC's last season's production of "He and She" that received a glowing review in "The Wall Street Journal," and was as an artist-in-residence with Gayle Stahlhuth in March, teaching playwriting and acting at Glenwood Avenue Elementary School in Wildwood. 

      Playwright James Rana takes on several roles including a spurned lover of Marie Roget and an evil government official.  For ELTC, he was the featured performer at the November fundraiser and was in "Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Norwood Builder." He works regularly at NYC's Ensemble Studio Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and Pan Asian Rep, and had also appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England and the Globe Neuss in Germany. On August 1, he's reading "The Lighthouse" by Poe, at the lighthouse in Cape May, to help to celebrate "Family Day at the Lighthouse."  

     The after-show opening night party is on Wednesday, July 25 at The Washington Inn, 801 Washington Street. On Friday, August 3, is an after-show Q&A with the cast, director, and playwright, and on Friday, August 24 is a special American Sign Language performance. (From October 24 – 28, ELTC's production moves to the 600-seat Ocean Professional Theatre Company in Barnegat.)

    Ticket prices are $30 for general admission; $25 for seniors; and $15 for full-time students. To encourage whole families to attend, anyone age 12 and under is free. Performances are at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., where the company is in residence.

     Meanwhile, the witty and well received "Ruth Draper's Company of Characters," with SuzAnne Dawson and Karen Case Cook, runs only through July 21.

     East Lynne Theater Company's production season would not be possible without season sponsors Curran Investment Management and Aleathea's Restaurant; Show Sponsors La Mer Beachfront Inn, The Henry Sawyer Inn, and Exit Zero; The NJ Dept. of State, Division of Travel and Tourism; NJ State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the generosity of many patrons.


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