The Playhouse at McConnellstown
July 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 PM
July 21 and 28 at 2:00 PM
By Howard Voland, Keith McGregor
By Meghan Whitesel
The Playhouse at McConnellstown Presents Spirited Whodunit
Ghost hunting takes a dangerously amusing turn this July as “Murder Inn” opens on July 19th at The Playhouse at McConnellstown. A solid combination of thriller and comedic timing, this play is sure to keep you on your toes and leave you in stitches.
The eighteenth century Barnsley Inn, located in New England, is supposedly haunted by a knife-throwing poltergeist named Marco. A group of tourists from the Ghosts and Ghouls of New England tour are forced to make an unscheduled stop at the Barnsley in order to escape an impending storm.
What looks to be an unpleasant and uncomfortable detour soon turns into a night of mayhem and madness as knives begin to pop up…in the most unexpected places. As the storm builds and the body count rises, the survivors try to figure out who done it. And even more important- who’s likely to have it done to them next?
Written by Howard Voland and Keith McGregor, this delightful production features a cast of zany characters including a near-sighted knife-throwing poltergeist, a Ouija board of doubtful veracity, thunder and lightning, screams in the dark, and a satisfying body count.
Jenn Cantanese is Martha Talbot, the owner of the Barnsley Inn. Her son Jake is played by Hunter McVey. Deb Shank is the meddlesome Agnes Tate, and her niece Carolyn Pickett is played by Mikayla Harrington. Jason Solomon is Alan Halsey, the tour guide.
Anita Bowers plays ethereal Muriel Lampmann, and Liv Mitchell is Patricia Simpson. Todd Currier is played by newcomer Neal Smith. Joe Soloski is Professor Lawrence Currier, and Stephanie Swan Is Grace Sharp. Doris Brooks is played by Karen Kuntz, and Donald Shultz is played by Clay Glenny.
“This show is full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing ‘whodunit’ right up to the end. I’m thrilled to be on stage with such a large cast of talent—some returning and some new—all bringing life to the colorful characters who are trapped together as mayhem ensues,” commented Swan.
“With an amazing set and fully-loaded cast, this show is such a joy. I think the audience will enjoy figuring out what happens next,” commented McVey.
Don Dietz directs this production, and George Baumer is the assistant director. Kyle Williams is the stage manager. Lighting is designed by Keith Sutton with costumes by Bradley Renninger. Set design is by Don Dietz with sound design by Rick Brown and technical assistance by Barb Hughes. The production’s acting coach is Jeanne Allen.
“The set has perfectly captured the spirit of a run-down inn, one that would be inhabited by a ghost…or two. You won’t want to miss this enjoyable murder mystery comedy!” Swan added.
“Murder Inn” will continue on July 20th, 25th, 26th, and 27th at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinee showings are July 21st and 28th at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 for regular admission and $13 for seniors (age 60 and older) and students (age 6 and older). For reservations call 814-627.0311.
The Playhouse at McConnellstown Opens its 2019 Season with “Love, Lies, and the Doctor’s Dilemma”
A white lie is a simple mistruth told to save face, but what happens when one little white lie leads to further deceit? Find out when “Love, Lies, and the Doctor’s Dilemma” opens at The Playhouse at McConnellstown on May 24th.
Written by Michael Parker and Susan Parker, this farce is sure to leave you in stitches. Joan Scheller lives with the love of her life, Sandy. To hide their relationship from her overbearing sister-in-law, the former movie star Olivia St. Claire, Joan introduces Sandy as her psychiatrist.
One small deception leads to another. Before long, Vinny the Enforcer, a quintessential Italian mobster, masquerades as her security guard while her son Chris is forced to wear a dress and become her daughter Christina. Further complications occur as Joan’s neighbor Rachael, whose life appears to be a series of catastrophes, creates chaos and confusion wherever she goes.
“The Doctor” is in, and everyone wants a session. Olivia wants to discuss her love life, Rachael wants to know why she’s such a disaster, and Vinny wants to discuss his work as an “Enforcer.” Sandy is forced to listen and give misguided advice, which, to everyone’s surprise, seems to work.
But what about love? Of course, there’s Joan and Sandy if they can survive Joan’s white lies; then there’s Rachael, who is strongly attracted to Chris if he can survive her mayhem. Finally, there’s Olivia, who hires Vinny away from the mob to be her personal security guard (perhaps with benefits?).
The free-spirited and resourceful Joan Scheller is played by Barb Hughes. Bradley Renninger plays Sandy, the love of Joan’s life. The overbearing Olivia St. Claire is played by Shelby Metz, and George Baumer is Vinny the Enforcer. Liv Mitchell is Joan’s neighbor Rachel, and Will Renninger plays Joan’s son Chris. This is Mitchell’s first show with The Playhouse at McConnellstown.
“I am loving my experience at The Playhouse,” she said. “It’s so awesome to get back into theatre knowing I’m in good hands. This play is truly a hilarious show for all. We laugh at every rehearsal because it’s such a fun show.”
Hunter McVey and Dan Weston direct this production. Lighting is designed by Keith Sutton with costumes by Jeanne Nagurny. Set design is by Don Dietz, and sound design by Rick Brown. The copper sculpture work is designed by Michael Dietz.
“Sometimes the world needs a little silliness, a lot of laughs, an escape into the hilarious machinations of mistaken identities, and a good bit of running around,” commented Weston. “‘Love, Lies, and the Doctors Dilemma’” may not owe much to [George Bernard] Shaw’s drama that the latter part of the play’s name pays homage — but it will make you laugh.”
“Love, Lies, and the Doctor’s Dilemma” will continue on May 24th, 25th, 30th, and 31st and June 1st at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinee showings are May 26th and June 2nd at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 for regular admission and $13 for seniors (age 60 and older) and students (age 6 and older). For reservations call 814-627.0311.
Up Next In September!
Venture down south this September with Nathan Sanders’ oddball comedy “The Sugar Bean Sisters.” In this Southern Gothic comedy of romance, murder, and alien abduction, the Nettle sisters are determined to escape spinsterhood—Willie Mae by going to Salt Lake and finding a good Mormon husband and Faye by hopping on the spaceship when the “space people” return for another visit.
We meet Faye and Willie Mae as they return home to their ramshackle swamp dwelling in Sugar Bean, Florida. They had a disastrous daytrip to Disney World where Willie lost her prized Eva Gabor wig on Space Mountain. That isn’t even the worst of it. Having witnessed the landing of an alien space craft some 25 years ago in her daddy’s sugarcane field, Faye prepares for the return of her celestial visitors on this night, the very anniversary of that fateful day.
A disturbance in the sugarcane field lures the sisters outside to investigate, and Faye recalls how their infamous daddy claimed to have witnessed dead folk walking through Sugar Bean on a similar night many years before. A strange bird-like woman suddenly appears out of the darkness of Buster Swamp, setting in motion a chain of extraordinary events. Lies begin to unravel, and the truth is revealed as the Sugar Bean Sisters hatch a diabolical plot to ensure the space people’s return.
The casting requirements are as follows:
FAYE CLEMENTINE NETTLES (40s-60s): Earthy, inappropriate, and unconventional. Faye is the “enfant terrible” of Sugar Bean.
WILLIE MAE NETTLES (40s-60s): Faye’s exacting older sister. A deeply devout, bald-headed Mormon woman, she’s severe, humorless and dictatorial.
MISS VIDELLIA SPARKS (40s-50s): Freakish, eccentric and bizarre; the mysterious stranger who comes to town.
THE BISHOP CRUMLEY (30s-40s): A Mormon Bishop from Salt Lake City, Utah; a gentle, strikingly handsome man.
THE REPTILE WOMAN (40s-70s): the eccentric swamp mystic.
“The Sugar Bean Sisters” runs September 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, and 21st at 7:30 PM, and Sunday matinees are September 15th and 22nd at 2:00 PM.
The Playhouse kicks off the holiday season with two comical one-acts by Ken Ludwig. “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol” (written by Ken and Jack Ludwig) and “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” are sure to make everyone laugh—including old man Scrooge.
In “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol,” Bob Cratchitt’s son hatches a plan to get his father home for Christmas day. With the help of some kindly sellers at the market and his friend Charlotte, Tiny Tim stages a spectacle filled with ghosts and Christmas cheer to convince Scrooge to give his father the day off. It all seems to be going according to plan until a little bit of real Christmas magic catches everyone by surprise.
“’Twas The Night Before Christmas” is all about the mice—who are actually stirring despite the poem’s lines. A mouse is stirring because Santa missed his house last year. Before you can throw open the shutters, we’re off on the wild adventures of a mouse, an elf, and a spunky little girl who just won’t take no for an answer.
The play begins with Uncle Brierly and Emily attempting to read the traditional version only to be interrupted by Amos the mouse. It soon becomes clear that Santa left both Emily and Amos off the ‘Naughty’ and ‘Nice’ lists, and he skipped their house all together. An elf named Calliope comes to investigate and whisks Emily and a reluctant Amos Mouse off to the North Pole to save Christmas.
The ensuing adventure is a hilarious and chaotic mix that includes rogue elves, airplane rides, a case of mistaken identity, a confused Santa, an elf cheer, sword fighting, and characters rapping out songs. There is no shortage of enthusiasm, exhilaration, and elation during this holiday adventure.
“Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol” will consist of adult actors and actresses (18+ unless otherwise specified). The casting requirements are as follows:
TINY TIM (15-25): a thoughtful, fresh-faced, optimistic young man.
CHARLOTTE (15-25): resilient, tom-boyish, full of mischief female.
PUPPET SELLER (20s+): female townsperson
PIE SELLER (20s+): male townsperson
BOOK SELLER (20s+) male townsperson
SCROOGE (50s+): A greedy miser
BOB CRATCHIT (40s): Tiny Tim’s overworked father
MRS. CRATCHIT (40s+): Tiny Tim’s mother
STEVENS (40s+): male townsperson
HOLLYFOOT (40s+): male townsperson
FRED (30s-40s): Scrooge’s carefree nephew
“’Twas The Night Before Christmas” will consist of children (8-17). The casting requirements are as follows:
UNCLE BRIERLY: A loving and festive man.
EMILY: Uncle Brierly’s niece who has a zest for life.
AMOS THE MOUSE: He is cool and calm on the surface but the embodiment of a nervous mouse underneath.
CALLIOPE: An elf who is loving, sweet, and nurturing. The embodiment of Christmas magic.
SIR GUY OF GISBOURNE: An ex-elf who wants to ruin Christmas for everyone.
MULCH: Sir Guy of Gisbourne’s sidekick; clueless and dorky which leads to some madcapped adventures.
WENDALL SNEAD: Uncle Brierly’s friend. Married to Britannia. Will need to use different regional dialects.
BRITANNIA SNEAD: Uncle Brierly’s friend. Married to Wendall. Will need to use different regional dialects.
SANTA CLAUS: The jolly man in red.
AMOS OF KANSAS: The western twin of Amos the Mouse. Philosophical and relaxed. A good guy to have in a tight spot.
The Ludwig Holiday Special opens November 22nd and continues November 23rd, 29th, 30th and December 6th and 7th at 7:30 PM with Sunday matinees on November 24th and December 1st and 8th at 2:00 PM.
All casting decisions are at the discretion of the show’s director. In addition to actors and actresses for the production, we are also looking for production assistants, stage managers, and stage crew. We also encourage anyone who would like to work with lights, sound, costumes, properties, and set design to contact Artistic Director Daniel Weston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evening shows on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are at 7:30 PM. Sunday matinees are at 2:00 PM. Ticket prices are $15 for regular admission, $13 for seniors (age 60 and older) and students (age 6 and older). For reservations call 814-627-0311. The Playhouse is located at 11680 Raystown Rd, Huntingdon, PA, six miles South of Huntingdon Borough right on Rt. 26 in the Village of McConnellstown. For more information, please check the website at www.littletheater.com, like us on Facebook (The Playhouse at McConnellstown), or follow us on Twitter @LittleTheater.