Someone will be murdered at summer stock rehearsals in Ivytown, USA. Everyone in the cast has a motive but only one villain will actually commit the crime. Can you guess whodunit? You’ll have an opportunity to select your suspect at the Douglaston Community Theatre’s “Murder Takes the Stage.”
During Saturday evening’s show, several variations on the murder mystery theme emerged. There’s a clever amateur crime solver, still in her teens, who has an exceptionally strong grasp of the criminal mind. Capably played by Jane Bella Kharkover, she parries distasteful advances from lecherous males, helps her aunt (Annette Daiell) with theatrical logistics and concocts a plan to trap the murderer. Not bad for a newcomer!
Other delightful stereotypes include a pot bellied, shrewd police officer with a southern drawl and a name that fits his persona — Sheriff Wiley (Tom Williams). Community performers portray wonderfully wicked persons of interest. They include a theatre owner with a bloody past (Armand Catenaro), a blackmailing playwright (Marty Edelstein) and a dazzling diva (Jennifer DiMatteo). The director (Robert Gold) holds an unexpected grudge. The diva’s personal assistants (Keith Junas, Michelle Elea Belio) also have dark secrets. Let’s face it, everyone (Sharon Levine, Eric Leeb) has a motive.
You might recognize Kevin C. Vincent and his real life wife Judy onstage. Both have extensive theatrical credentials, especially in Queens. This time Kevin is both director and actor. Judy, a last minute replacement, plays a vindictive lover.
The play itself is performed on a bare stage. Just a few folding chairs and tables represent the rehearsal room. There are some melodramatic sound effects and a few other surprises. Well, who did the dastardly deed? Was it all a melodrama or a clever parody? Are you a good enough detective to decide?
The Douglaston Community Theater is housed at the Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall located at 44th Avenue off Douglaston Parkway. Call 718-482-3332 for reservations.
Many Queens troupes will be performing all summer long. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.