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The Vic is game for ‘Clue’ musical

Thursday, May 18, 2017

By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Victorian Players will present “Clue, the Musical,” and like the board game it’s based on, the ending will be different every time.

Will it be Colonel Mustard in the ballroom with a revolver? Or maybe Mrs. Peacock in the library with a candlestick?

An audience member will draw three cards before the start of each performance, and the actors will prepare for an ending determined by the picks: suspect, room, weapon.

“Clue, the Musical,” which opens a six-performance run Friday, is a comic romp that is even campier than the 1985 movie. “I told the cast that on a scale of 1 to 10, we need to be at 11 in campiness,” said Nick Mulichak, who is co-directing the Vic’s production with Marlene Menaldi Strollo.

The story takes place at an elegant dinner party in a mansion. When a guest turns up dead, the rest try to figure out whodunnit.

The many possible variations of the ending makes for an extra challenge for the cast.

“Each actor has to memorize different endings in case his or her character is the killer,” said Mulichak, who noted that there are 216 possible variations of how the mystery can unfold.

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the show is that it’s only the second time the Vic has done a musical since it was founded in 1992. The first time was “The Fantasticks” in 2013.

“We can’t do a lot of musicals because they are expensive and our stage is too small,” said Strollo. “We can’t do ‘Oklahoma’.”

The Vic’s production will feature live music. A small pit with two keyboards has been set up at the front of the stage.

As the Vic moves away from its Victorian-era drama origins and embraces contemporary fare, local theatergoers can expect more musicals. The theater’s 2017-18 season will be announced this weekend, and it likely will include another musical.

“The Vic strives to offer shows that provide family-friendly entertainment,” said Strollo. “This show was specifically selected to appeal to our loyal customer base and also attract a wider target audience.”

Another benefit of staging a musical is that the theater attracted some new faces to its auditions, said Strollo.

Playing the colorful characters are Kaleb McFarland (Mr. Boddy), John Amer (Colonel Mustard), Stephen Kountz (Mr. Green), Linda McGrath (Mrs. Peacock), Tracie Balentine (Mrs. White), Bob Gerdes (Professor Plum), Adrienne Mackey (Miss Scarlet) and Selena Phillips (Detective).

Chorus members include Breanne Reda, who is making her first stage appearance since she suffered a stroke about a year ago, plus Niki Latsko, Teresa Marie Evans and JoAnne Santagata.

Nick Opritza is the choreographer, and Ed Phillips and Errol Kehrburg are music directors.