Holy tiddlywinks! It's a murder-mystery and a comedy surrounding musical theater - all at once. And it's pretty darn good fare that the Pioneer Playhouse offers in "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940."
Directed by David Hilder, the play is set in a mansion in December 1940 in Chappaqua, N.Y. A group of theater-types are gathered to work on a new musical offering, but the pall of goings-on from a previous musical hangs over the proceedings. Before, a few of the chorus girls were killed. In tutus.
We meet the ensemble: Helsa Wenzel (Melissa Arleth), the austere, grim maid; Elsa von Grossenknueten (Patricia Hammond), the mansion's owner and gracious, if sly, hostess, who is a well-known theater supporter; Michael Kelly (Michael Muldoon), the chauffeur - and a bit more; Patrick O'Reilly (Paul Angelo), a charming Irish - maybe - actor who has a number of tricks up his tweedy sleeve; Ken de la Maize (Bruce Nicholls), the impatient director who might have something to hide; Nikki Crandall (Diana Cherkas), a charming, girl-next-door-type dancer who could hoof circles around the others - in more ways than one; Eddie McCuen (Matt Franta), a young, eager, wanna-be comedian who would do anything to impress the major players around him; Marjorie Baverstock (Elisa Abatsis), the slightly edgy producer who wants the fallout from the previous show to disappear; Roger Hopewell (Robert G. Hess), the flamboyant composer for the musical; and Bernice Roth (Marjorie Tatum), the drunken, buxom, waddling lyricist for the musical.