Adapted for the stage by D. D. Brooke
From the television play by Richard Levinson and William Link
Directed by Reuben Albaugh
September 29, 30, October 6, 7, 13, 14, 2017
This is a thrilling "theatrical" mystery in which the theatre becomes the set for the play. The playwright turns on the stage work light and prepares for the first reading of his new play. The actors, producer, director and others connected with the show come onto the stage, and under their humorous (and utterly real) theatrical talk, tension grows. We discover that everyone connected with this play was involved with another play by the same playwright. At its opening night, exactly a year ago and in this same theatre, the beautiful leading lady, who was also the playwright's fiancee, was murdered! As these people start with the new play, startling connections to the murder begin to unfold. The growing tension reaches the boiling point with surprising revelations, countered by others even more surprising. The dazzling, yet basically logical twists build to a climax and solution that are theatrically stunning! The authors of this thriller have all had direct Broadway experience, and their dialogue has a special sting of wit and reality.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Apple Waldorf Salad
Stuffed Pork Loin
Fresh Sweet Potatoes
Peas & Onions
Assorted Breads with Butter
(Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options Available.
Request Must Be Made At Time Of Ticket Purchase.)
SLOAN AMBURGEY-THOMAS (Karen Daniels) is honored to be returning to the Arena stage having previously acted in A Funny Little Thing Called Love as Carlene and Deena. Sloan has actively been a part of many Fort Wayne Youtheatre productions for the past five years such as: Sleeping Beauty (Lady Petula) and Remembering Anne (Hitler youth). Sloan would like to thank her best friend, Catie, for laughing at her unfunny jokes and teaching her that Nutella crepes are healthy as long as you order them with fruit. She would also like to thank her mom and brother for continuing to put up with her. Finally, she should like to thank all of her directors in hopes that they will cast her if she thanks them!
SEAN ARATA (Leo Gibbs) is pleased to make his return to Fort Wayne and Arena Dinner Theatre. After a few years of accumulating massive debt at law school out west, he decided acting back home would be a better use of his time. He has appeared as Jack in Laughing Stock, and as a high school drug dealer and a high school enlistee in 9 to 5, and The Veterans Spouse Project, respectively. He is excited to play an adult again as an adult. He would like to thank his brother-in-law, Joel Grillo, for not murdering his sister yet, and reminding him how to act. He would also like to thank his sister, Emily, for pushing him to audition, and for not murdering Joel, because he has the most lines in the play. Oh, and his mom, because you should always thank your mom in these things, duh.
JOEL GRILLO (Alex Dennison) is thrilled to return to the Arena stage. He was last seen acting a little over a year ago in the First Presbyterian Theatre production of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest as McMurphy. He made his directing debut here at Arena last year with Wait Until Dark, where he had the privilege of directing his now-wife Emily Grillo. Joel is also a board member here at Arena. He is a master builder and helps design and build most of the sets you see here throughout the year. He recently spent a month in Italy where he ate his body weight in pasta. Joel would like to thank the cast and crew of this production, his family and friends for their continued support, his beautiful wife Emily for being beautiful, and last but not least, Reuben for giving him the opportunity to play this wonderful part.
TYLER HANFORD (Man in the Auditorium) is happy to be back on the Arena stage. He has previously performed as Stewpot in Arena's South Pacific and as Giles in The Mousetrap, and as part of the ensemble in the Civic Theatre productions of The Little Mermaid, Memphis, A Christmas Carol, Young Frankenstein, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and in the ensemble in Three Rivers Music Theater's production of Hair. Come see him in the Civic Theatre production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas next! He would like to thank Reuben for another great chance on the stage.
RICH HEISER (Male Police Officer/Mr. Santoro) is relatively new to Fort Wayne and new to the theater as well. He has been involved in the visual arts working as a pastel artist and has had solo and group shows as well as gallery representation in his home state of Pennsylvania. He has always been interested in acting and the theater. Up to now, he has only lived vicariously through his three children who are active in theater and the arts. Rich has appeared in the web series, Lizzie Shea. "I feel honored to have been given a role in this production. It is both scary and exhilarating at the same time. There is so much talent in Fort Wayne and I feel very fortunate to be able to work with some of the best."
GLORIA MINNICH (Monica Welles) is so excited to be a part of this amazingly talented cast! Last year she earned a Best Director award for directing Failure: A Love Story at Arena and appeared onstage in Getting Sara Married. She has also appeared in Always A Bridesmaid, Exit Laughing, The Smell of the Kill, Barefoot in the Park, The Mousetrap, Blithe Spirit, Laughing Stock, Same Time, Next Year, Stepping Out, Plaza Suite, Almost, Maine, Any Wednesday, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Vanities, Crimes of the Heart, and Death By Chocolate at Arena. She appeared in The Road to Mecca, Durang: 5 Comedies in 1, Private Lives and Proof at the Civic Theatre and You Can’t Take It With You, Henry IV, and Eleemosynary at First Pres. Theatre. When not onstage, she teaches drama and dance classes at area schools. She loves to travel abroad and has studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Drama Resource, and the National Theatre in England. This summer she took a course in shadow puppetry at Little Angel Theatre in London. She would like to thank Greg and all her loved ones for their continued support and encouragement. She would also like to thank Reuben, for being a wonderful director, and the cast and crew for making “rehearsing for murder” so much fun!
TIM MILES (Lloyd Andrews) love of acting began in high school drama class, where he began competing in radio and extemporaneous speaking. In college, Tim was involved with numerous productions, and recent highlights include performing in the Fort Wayne Civic Theatres’ A Christmas Carol and The Little Mermaid. Tim works at Simplx Security - a local home security company, and enjoys spending time with his wife and dog at home and along the many trails of Fort Wayne.
ELLIOTT MITCHEL (Ernie and 2nd Man in Auditorium) most recently appeared in Arena Dinner Theater's production of Blood Brothers. He has appeared in A Christmas Carol with Civic and worked crew for Civic's The Little Mermaid. Elliott's love for theater has been a lifelong passion. He credits his musical influences and favorite actors for his artistic passion. He has been recognized for his cosplay for the show The Magicians and is delighted to continue his career with the theater community here. "Onward to Glory!"
KATHY PELTER (Bella Lamb) is no stranger to Fort Wayne theatre, with over 38 years of involvement. Kathy has been in over 25 Fort Wayne Youtheatre productions, as well as several here at Arena, but if you have seen Kathy on stage in the last 10 years, it was probably a mistake! She was last seen as Sr. Hubert in Nunsensations in 2007! Kathy is much more accustomed to backstage life. She has worked backstage in over 100 productions, including Stage Managing dozens of shows. In fact, Kathy Stage Managed three productions here at Arena (earning her the Marlene Niccum Service to the Theatre Award for the second time) last year! Kathy would like to thank Reuben for this wonderful opportunity, and the AMAZING cast and crew for their constant support and patience with an old lady!
DUKE ROTH (David Matthews) is very happy to be back at Arena Dinner Theatre. Duke was just in the previous production here at Arena as Sammy in Blood Brothers. Other notable productions at Arena have seen Duke as Noogie Malloy in Getting Sara Married, Commander Harbison in South Pacific and Orville in Daddy’s Dyin Who’s Got The Will? Duke has been in multiple productions at First Presbyterian Theatre as well. Duke went to Vincennes University and Leo High School where he was active in the theatre. When not on stage he is shipping and receiving manager at Aegis Sales. He also enjoys playing bass and cello. Enjoy the show!
JENNIFER ROTHENBUSH (Loretta/Female Police Officer) is thrilled to have the opportunity to be onstage with this brilliant cast and crew! Most recently, you may have seen her in Arena's production of Funny Little Thing Called Love. She's also assistant stage managed Getting Sara Married (Arena), performed as a tree and an Ozian in USF's Wizard of Oz, and also as Nurse McGregor in South Pacific at Arena. She loves to travel and Snapchat her escapades. She would like to thank her husband Jonathan for always being her greatest supporter, and Reuben for liking her enough to cast her once again.
ERIN SMITH (Sally Bean) is excited to be making her theater debut at Arena Dinner Theatre! Originally a band nerd, she decided to try theatre as a new creative endeavor after relocating to Fort Wayne. In 2015, Erin graduated from IU with an education degree and currently teaches history at Northrop High School. When she is not teaching, she enjoys being the roadie for her husband's band and coaching Northrop's academic team. She would like to send thanks and love to her family, friends, and the cast and crew of Rehearsal for Murder for their support of this theater newbie.
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR:
Directed by Reuben Albaugh
Rehearsal for Murder tells the story of a playwright, Alex Dennison, who a year after the death of his fiancée and leading lady, Monica Welles, is reuniting the cast and production team to read through his new play. As everyone arrives, we learn Alex believes that one of them is responsible for Monica’s death and that the play is just a trap to try to identify the killer. Rehearsal for Murder is a tightly written play that borrows its theme and style from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
In this play, Alex is driven by his obsession to find the truth about Monica’s death. This obsession threatens to ruin all of his relationships and his ability to move on with his life. Much like the title character from Shakespeare’s classic Hamlet who struggles to find out the truth and ultimately seeks revenge on his father’s killer but not until he has destroyed his relationships and himself. Unlike Hamlet, Alex has friends to help to pull him back before it is too late.
Rehearsal for Murder also borrows from Hamlet, as well as many other plays, the device of a play within a play. Alex is a playwright, after all, and it seems only fitting that he would use all of his talents to capture the killer and bring them to justice. His carefully crafted scenes are presented almost as “flashbacks” to try to shed light on the motives of his suspect. Alex hopes that this will be just the thing to “catch the conscience of the king.”
Rehearsal for Murder was originally written as a made for TV movie in 1982. It featured Robert Preston and Lynn Redgrave, and was directed by David Greene. The script, written by Richard Levinson and William Link, won a 1983 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. In 1983, it was adapted for the stage by D. D. Brooke and has been a mainstay of the community theatre stage. It has been a great deal of fun to create this show with this dedicated group of artists and I hope that enjoy our efforts.