Central Wisconsin Area Community Theater (cwACT) will present performances of “Murdered to Death” over two weekends in February, Friday through Sunday, Feb. 8-10 and 15-17, at Theater@1800 in the Sentry Insurance building, 1800 North Point Drive, Stevens Point.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. for Friday and Saturday shows, and 4 p.m. for Sunday shows.
This comedy is directed by first-time cwACT director Charlie Hoffman. “I’ve worked with cwACT for about six years as an actor,” he said.
When the opportunity came to direct “Murdered to Death” Hoffman said he threw his name in the ring. “I stepped up because I’m a huge fan of comedy, especially British comedy.”
Written by playwright Peter Gordon, the play spoofs the Agatha Christie style.
“It’s a parody of murder mysteries. It’s sort of a cheeky poking of fun at (Agatha Christie) mysteries,” said Hoffman. “It’s hysterical.”
It is set in a country manor house in the 1930s, and features the inept Inspector Pratt who battles against his own incompetence to try to solve the murder of the house’s owner. As his investigation unfolds, it becomes clear the murderer is not yet finished.
The play debuted in England in 1993, the first of the “Inspector Pratt” trilogy, which also includes “Secondary Cause of Death” and “Death by Fatal Murder.” Hoffman said there have not been a lot of U.S. productions of the play. “It hasn’t been done a ton of times, but it’s too bad, because it is a hilarious play,” he said. “In practice we still laugh at the jokes even though we’ve probably heard them a hundred times.”
The 10-person cast includes Anna Fehring as Margaret Craddock, Bruce Balkam as Constable Thompkins, Elizabeth Kawleski as Elizabeth Hartley-Trumpington, Hannah Rahm as Dorothy Foxton, Paula O’Kray as Mildred Bagshot, Ron Lunt as Bunting, Sue Calinski as Joan Maple, Ted Kowalski as Colonel Charles Craddock, Theresa Williams as Pierre Marceau, and Tim Smith as Inspector Pratt.
“I love working with small casts. The smaller the cast, the more intense the rehearsals,” said Hoffman. “It’s been a blast.”
He said he is proud of this group of performers, which includes several first time cwACT actors.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing play,” said Hoffman. “It has been a really cold winter and a pretty bleak year. It’s a good time for people to come and laugh.”
Tickets are available at University Information and Tickets, Dreyfus University Center, 1015 Reserve St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tickets will also be available at the Theater@1800 upper lobby one hour prior to each performance. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for children under 12. Call 715-346-4100 for reservations or visit the website www.cwact.org for more information.
Hoffman said people interested in having fun and honing their acting skills through improvisational comedy should check the cwACT website for updates on cwACT’s new Final Friday Improv Workshops held the last Friday of each month at the cwACT Shack, 2952 Minnesota Ave., Stevens Point.