May 6, 2002
Redwood Theatre closes season with a physical comedy farce
by Deborah Stone
Arts and Entertainment
Currently on stage at Redwood Theatre is John Bishop's entertaining production of "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940."
Directed by Marsha Stueckle, local actor, drama instructor, director and founding board member of Woodinville Repertory Theatre, the show is a nonstop physical comedy farce based on the mystery genre of the 1940s.
The creative team responsible for a Broadway flop (in which three chorus girls were murdered by the mysterious "Stage Door Slasher") comes together at a Westchester estate that is a maze of secret passageways and sliding panels. A blizzard confines the group and the "Stage Door Slasher" reappears.
Bodies begin to drop, knives dart out of nowhere and all of a sudden, there are accusations flying from everyone.
"This is a great production," comments Stueckle, "because it's filled with wonderfully fun moments, one after another. The cast is an amazing group of ten local actors with a wide range of experience and they each have impeccable comedic timing, which is so necessary in a show of this nature. It's been a blast to work with them!"
Stueckle is excited to be working with adults once again, after recently directing a series of children's shows in the community.
She takes a hands-on approach in her craft, but emphasizes a collaborative effort with the actors.
"It's really a team effort," explains Stueckle. "I see myself as the one driving the bus, but the actors are the ones who are helping me steer. I try and challenge the actors and I see my job as the one who helps to elicit the absolute best performances from each of them. This cast brings so much to the table and everyone works well together. They're pumped to have a good time and put on a great show."
This is Stueckle's first time directing for Redwood, although she has appeared in the casts of several of their past shows.
She hopes that the production will draw Eastside audiences, who are looking for reasonably priced quality entertainment without the hassles of city traffic and parking.
Redwood Theatre has been in existence for over 18 years, utilizing the Redmond Senior Center as its venue. It, like other community theatre groups in the area, operates on a shoestring budget, while striving to produce quality shows. "Over the years, the organization has weathered lots of ups and downs," says Stueckle, "but it has managed to continue its pursuit because it has such a dedicated group of volunteers that work incredibly hard. They believe in what they do and enjoy bringing theater to the community." "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" runs through May 18.
Cast members include Christina Buchen, Joe Mangialardi, Boyd Morrison, Tami Dennis, Andrew Smith, Keith Drevecky, Amiee Pellegrini, Melanie Calderwood, Jefferson Fletcher, Meredith Fane
All performances are on the stage at the Redmond Senior Center in downtown Redmond. For ticket information, call (206) 525-3493.