Playing at Studio 54 located at 254 West 54th Street. It runs two hours twenty minutes with one intermission. The show is schedule to run until February 10, 2013.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood was Charles Dickens final novel (1870).
It was first produced as “Drood” in 1985 by the New York Shakespeare Festival and then transferred to Broadway at the Imperial Theatre where it ran 608 performances (and 24 previews). It closed on May 17, 1987 The show won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, Book of a Musical (Rupert Holmes), Outstanding Costume Design (Linda W. Davis), Director of a Musical (Wilford Leach) and Feature Actress (Jane Schneider). It also won the Drama Desk and Edgar Award.
Chita Rivera won a Tony Award in 1984 for “The Rink” and 1993 for “Kiss of the Spiderwoman”. She was nominated for seven other Tony Awards spanning from 1964-2006. She was nominated for a Tony for “Bye-Bye Birdie” (1964), “Chicago”, “Bring Back Birdie” (1981), “Merlin” (1983), “Jersey Girls” (1986), “Nine” (2003) and “Chits Rivera Dancing Life” (2006).
Jim Norton won a Tony Award in 2008 for “The Seafarer”.
Jessica Mueller was nominated for a Tony Award in 2012 for “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”.
The setting is in London’s Music Hall Royale 1895.
We are told by Mr. William Cartwright (Jim Norton) that Charles Dickens did not finish the story and it will be up to the audience to decide how it should end.
The actors are introduced as actors. The story revolves around John Jasper (Will Chase) and his nephew (Stephanie Block). Stephanie is engaged to Rosa Bud (Betsy Wolfe). John is in love with Rosa too. She lives in a convent.
The Reverend Mr. Chrisparkle (Gregg Edelman) takes under his care Neville Landless (Andy Karl) and his sister Helena Landless (Jessie Mueller). Neville has his eye on Rosa which gets John upset.
John goes to London to The Princess Puffer Place (Chita Rivera) a house of ill repute. He consumes wine and opium.
The story intertwines among the different characters.
Edward Drood disappears and is assumed dead. Who has done him in?
Two new characters appear in the second act. Miss Angela Prysock (Chita) and Clive Paget (Stephanie) both are detectives looking for clues as to where Edwin is.
It is in the second act that the audience gets to vote on who has killed Edwin Drood. Cast members in character come out and have audience members hold number cards in correspondence with the six actors on stage. You are asked to cheer for the character you think did it. The audience gets to vote on two characters love interest.
This is a fun show sometimes campy but in a good way. The audience is encouraged to participate in different scenes
Everyone does a great job. Will Chase, Gregg Edelman, Jim Norton and Chita Rivera do an outstanding job. Each adds a special quality to the show. Will has a strong and delightful voice. Gregg is charming and funny. Jim Norton is powerful and commands the stage when he is on. Chita Rivera is excellent especially as the prostitute. She is better the ever.
Each show has a different ending. No one knows how it will end.
The set is well done. I wonder where they keep all the back drops. The curtain is a London street. It drops each time the set is changed. The set is done by Anna Louizos. Some of the Broadway shows Anna has done are “Ave Q”, Baby It’s You” and “In the Heights”.
This is a good show to see. Where else can you get to cheer or boo on a character you love or hate. I’m sure Charles Dickens wouldn’t mind and neither did the cast.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
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