LANSING, Mich. — Starlight Dinner Theatre’s 15th season opens with Something’s Afoot: a madcap, charming musical set in 1935. The show spoofs the murder mystery genre in general, but mainly Agatha Christie’s novels — especially the famous And Then There Were None. Ten strangers are stranded in Lord Dudley Rancour’s isolated English estate during a raging thunderstorm. One by one they’re picked off by cleverly fiendish (and hilarious) traps. As the bodies pile up in the library, the survivors frantically race to uncover the identity and motivation of the cunning culprit. The only thing they know for sure: the butler didn’t do it!
The show is directed by Kelly Stuible-Clark, with musical direction by Nicole Martin. Kait Wilson lends her talent on piano, and Abbie Tykocki serves as stage manager. "I am thrilled to work with such talent from the Lansing area on a truly hilarious show,” says Stuible-Clark. “We will keep you guessing — and laughing — right until the very end.”
Lansing theatre veteran Jane Zussman plays amateur sleuth “Miss Tweed”. The cast also boasts many familiar area performers: Colleen Bethea as the saucy maid, “Lettie”; Ty Schalter as “Flint”, the caretaker; Ben Holzhausen as “Nigel Rancour” the black sheep nephew; Matt Ottinger as “Dr. Grayburn”; John Roche as old army man “Colonel Gillweather”; Carin McEvoy as grande dame “Lady Grace”; Kelly Sandula-Gruner as ingénue “Hope Langdon”; Anthony Mandalari as “Geoffrey” the college student; and Dan Templin as “Clive”, the fussy butler.
This is Zussman’s fifth experience with Afoot: three appearances on stage and two working behind the scenes. She played “Lettie” in 1978 at the Stage Door in Port Huron, and “Lady Grace” in 1989 with Lansing Civic Players. She says, “I am now proud to dedicate my Starlight ‘Miss Tweed’ performance to the late, great Winifred Olds, who was my ‘Miss Tweed’ in 1989.”
Starlight’s 15th anniversary season is a tribute to two women who enthusiastically supported community theater and especially Starlight in their later years: Winifred Olds and Judie Town. “It is no coincidence that we have selected Something’s Afoot and Guys and Dolls for this anniversary season,” says Linda Granger, Starlight’s president and artistic director. Judie directed Something’s Afoot and Guys and Dolls 30 years ago, both for Lansing Civic Players. Winifred delivered an award-winning “Miss Tweed” in Afoot — the only time she performed a lead in a musical. Granger continued, “these two women left a great void in the local theater community and in my life. I dearly miss them, and am so pleased that we can dedicate this season to them.”
Town’s family will be attending the show on October 25, which would have been Judie's 82nd birthday. The Olds family will be attending the matinee show on October 27; Winifred’s grandson, Dan MacLachlan, will be performing songs during the dessert hour that afternoon. Memory cards will be available on the tables at all performances for patrons to share favorite memories of Judie and Winifred. These will be collected and given to their families. The show is RATED G.
Show dates: October 18–19; 25–27, 2019. (Sunday matinée performance offers dessert only)
Dinner: Lasagna dinner with cheesecake dessert
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