ELKINS – A whodunit with a comedic twist is set to open as the Davis & Elkins College Theatre Department performs its spring mainstage show, “Murdered to Death” by Peter Gordon. Evening shows, as well as a Sunday matinee, will all take place in Halliehurst on the College campus.
The production opens Wednesday, April 3 with a student only preview at 8 p.m., and for the general public at 8 p.m. April 4-6 and at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on April 7.
This hilarious spoof of the best of Agatha Christie tradition is set in a country manor house in the 1930s, with an assembled cast of characters guaranteed to delight – the butler, a colonel with the prerequisite stiff upper lip, a shady art dealer and his moll, a bumbling police inspector and a well-meaning local sleuth who seems to attract murder wherever he goes. They’re all caught up in the side-splitting antics which follow the mysterious death of the home owner. It soon becomes clear that the murderer isn’t finished yet, but will he or she be unmasked before everyone else has met their doom?
Historic Halliehurst will serve as the location for “Murdered to Death” for both practical and traditional reasons, Director and Instructor of Theatre and Film Lonnie Martin said.
“We’re having some long overdue lighting upgrades at the Boiler House Theatre this semester that are really exciting for our students. However, the timing of the work made our rehearsal and performance schedule tricky,” Martin explained. “Halliehurst is a fantastic space to work in, a perfect fit for a comedy set in the 1930s.”
Martin added that with some exciting and bold changes coming to D&E theatre, performing in Halliehurst is a way of tying back to the College’s rich theatrical history.
“Claire Fiorentino, the ‘mother’ of theatre at Davis & Elkins College, staged many performances in Hallie. With the endowed theatre chair in her name, I like the symmetry of respecting what’s come before as we move forward,” Martin said.
Enthusiasm for the production and its location is high among the cast.
“Hallie is a unique working environment,” said freshman Sierra Petry of Charleston, West Virginia. “It’s one of the most immersive sets I’ve gotten to act on. I’m very excited to be working in such a cool space.”
Matt Nethken, an Elkins resident planning to attend D&E, adds, “Being part of this show in this space makes me feel like I'm at home, with family. It has really given me hope that this really is a place that I belong.”
Tickets are available by calling the D&E Box Office at 304-637-1255 or stopping by the Augusta Heritage Center Office in Jennings Randolph Hall between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. D&E students and all full-time D&E employees are eligible for one complimentary ticket and should reserve it in advance. Due to limited seating, advanced purchases are highly recommended.
Preparing to open the Davis & Elkins College Theatre Department mainstage spring production, “Murdered to Death,” are cast members, from left, Isaac Cleavenger, Sierra Petry, Megan Huffnagel, Shannen McClure, Trevor Gauckler, Matthew Nethken, Hope Roy, Rachel Bennett, Maxwell Ginsberg and Tobias Sears. The public performances will take place in Halliehurst April 4-7.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.