, Gloucester, MA

December 12, 2012

Students stage musical murder mystery in Rockport

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — The Rockport High School Drama Llamas will mount a production of “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” by American playwright John Bishop this weekend.

“This farcical ‘who done it’ pokes fun at 1940s movie thrillers and campy musical comedies. It is the story of a creative team brought together again in a lavish Westchester estate for a backer’s audition. The team is reunited after a recent Broadway flop in which three chorus girls were murdered,” according to the Drama Llamas’ press release. “As the actors and creative team attempt to prepare for a performance, shadowy figures loom, weapons appear from thin air, bodies start to drop, fingers start to point, and true identities are revealed.”

The play was first performed at the Circle Repertory Company, later moving to Broadway, opening on April 6, 1987. “The play is said to have been based on several 1940s mystery movies, including ‘The Cat and the Canary,’ one of Bob Hope’s first films,” the Drama Llamas said.

The cast includes Rachel Sternlicht, Freddy Widmer, Nick Endicott, Jennie Yoors, Corey Silver, Jenny Sonia, Renee Waller, Mariella Travis, Jack Brisson and Logan Trupiano. Understudies are Fiona Noring, Alexandra Legendre, Nelson Pike and Henry Meredith.

After acting and directing on Broadway, Bishop began writing for Hollywood, and perhaps is best known for his 1989 thriller “The Package,” starring Gene Hackman.

Show dates are Friday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2:30 p.m. at the high school auditorium at 24 Jerden’s Lane in Rockport. Tickets are $8 and $6 for seniors, student and Drama Llama alumni.

The production staff is director Denise Ferazzi, assistant director Brian Audano, technical director Nancy Bogardus, assistant technical director Zack O’Brien, and stage manager Josie Garfield.

Also, light design and operation, Jeff Cloak; sound design and operation, Courtney Ashwell and Cory Ryan; properties design, Sarah Visnick and Tyler Hurst; costume design, Mary Colussi, Olivia Piraino, Andrea Waldron, Jessica Williams and Aidan Wright; and set construction, Courtney Ashwell, Kelly Biondo, Ben Cook, Jeff Cloak, Alex Demarjian, Josie Garfield, Oliver Herman, Sayles Kasten, Cory Ryan, Rowan Lampert, Liam McCarthy and Cory Wrinn.

Music composition is by Isa Brisson; piano accompaniment by Nelson Pike; and poster artist is Jeff Cloak.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or at

If you go What and who: "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,"produced by the Drama Llamas. When: Friday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2:30 p.m. Where: Lane Auditorium, Rockport High School, 24 Jerden's Lane in Rockport. How much: $8 and $6 for seniors, student and Drama Llama alumni.