BY KELLY DOLEJSI
Los Alamos Little Theatre
Through careful detective work, you’ve marked off five of six names and weapons, and eight of nine rooms. You make your accusation, and then it’s time to open the confidential manila envelope.
You guessed right! It’s Wendy Caldwell Lanchier, with her cast and “crue,” in the Los Alamos Little Theatre.
This month, Director Caldwell Lanchier will present the theatrical version of the venerable board game and movie Clue.
The dark comedy Clue: On Stage will show 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 4-18 at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St., with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, and a special 7 p.m. performance Thursday Nov. 17.
Please note that the Saturday, Nov. 5, show also will be at 7 p.m. to accommodate a double-feature evening with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Tickets are on sale at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/clue-on-stage-tickets-453647210017 or at the door beginning one hour before showtime.
Clue: On Stage features all your favorite characters from the board game, including Miss Scarlet (Kelsey Denissen), Mrs. White (Alex DiBranco), Colonel Mustard (Don Monteith), Mrs. Peacock (Karen McMullen), Professor Plum (Jonathan Guise) and Mr. Green (Michael Dolejsi).
Fans of the movie will be delighted to see Wadsworth (Matt DeSmith), Yvette (Holly Robinson), Mr. Boddy (Thanos Stamatopoulos), “Ze Cook” (Kaity Burke) and the Singing Telegram Girl (Allie Koehn).
“I am constantly amazed at the level of talent in every single member of our cast,” Caldwell Lanchier said. “They make me laugh every time.”
She said several cast members are making their LALT debuts.
“Bringing new talent into the theater is one of the things I love most about directing. It’s also been wonderful to see how this show and cast have welcomed back to the stage some of LALT’s previous stars. We have great energy as a team, and I love the way this cast trusts and supports each other. It’s such a privilege to watch this show progress from table read to opening night.”
Robinson’s role as the French maid Yvette represents her first time back to the stage in several years. She said that “when the opportunity came up to be a part of such a great show I couldn’t pass it up. Wendy [Caldwell Lanchier] is such an amazing and smart director as well as a fabulous person. Getting to work with her is exciting. As for the rest of the cast and crew, there are many old faces as well as new that I have grown very fond of. It has been a while since I was on the stage here at LALT and I am so glad to be back.”
The show’s deliciously conniving Miss Scarlet said that she enjoys the play even more than the classic movie because with live theater, “you never know what hijinks might ensue. I love the way [we] have brought the board game alive,” adding that Clue: On Stage “is the perfect combination of mystery, humor, and social commentary.”
No matter which hijinks audiences are lucky enough to see, “Clue will be a hilarious evening full of surprises whether you’ve never seen the movie or if you’ve already seen it dozens of times,” said Dolejsi, whose performance as Mr. Green marks his first time in a major theatrical role. “I love the dialogue, the recurring themes, and working with the rest of the cast who inject their own personalities into the show.”
Newcomer Matt DeSmith, the show’s witty if somewhat untrustworthy butler, agreed with Denissen and Dolejsi. “To any audience members who are wondering how the show will compare to the film, [I’d say] it’s the story you know, but told with a new voice. Minor details from the film’s plot are changed, of course, but what really makes this show different is the energy that live theater brings to it. We’re able to get away with so much stuff that ordinarily wouldn’t translate well on film, like showing you the physical comedy of the cast, the hilarity of an improvised line, and the real brilliance of our set and light designers.”
Because there’s no screen to separate those onstage with those watching the show, “when the audience feels a particular emotion, whether that’s laughter, joy, or sorrow, all of that energy goes right back to the cast,” DeSmith said. “They use that feedback and put it into their performance, and it creates this really dynamic call and response between audience and actor. It really allows the audience and the characters to go on this crazy journey together.”
DeSmith said that he loves the show never “forgets” that it’s a murder mystery as well as a comedy. “It’s this sort of grounded absurdity that I think the audience will really love,” he said. “It’s certainly been a delightful treat to watch unfold from behind the scenes.”
At the helm of the Clue “crue” are first-time Producer Jessica Cowan, Stage Manager Megan Pimental, and Set and Lighting Designer Brad Gregory.
The play includes numerous scene changes and a complicated set, as anyone who has played the board game can imagine. From those keeping track of the dozens of required props to those who enter the stage bursting with song only to be killed seconds later, the production team relies on the talents of many crew and cast members to make Clue a success.
Clue: On Stage is adapted from the Paramount Pictures film written by Jonathan Lynn and the board game from Hasbro, Inc., written by Sandy Rustin. For more information, visit lalt.org.