It’s kiss, kiss/bang, bang this Valentine’s Day in Eagle
Porchlight Players present "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" dinner theater show
EAGLE – For a decade now, the Porchlight Players have marked Valentine’s Day by giving downvalley couples a unique date night option.
The community theater is back at it for 2020 with their dinner theater production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” For the next two weekends, the company will perform the show at the Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle.
Director Ann Olin notes “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” won four Tony Awards in 2014 including Best Musical.
“This is our 10th anniversary production and one of the most challenging shows we have ever produced,” she said.
According to Olin, the story is set in 1909 England and tells the story of Monty D’YSquith Navarro, the son of a disinherited noblewoman whose heritage is revealed to him upon the death of his mother. He decides to reach out to his mother’s family in hopes of being welcomed back into the fold.
“Instead, he is rebuffed, but in the process realizes he is ninth in line for the earldom. Only eight family members need to die for him to become the ninth Earl of Highhurst,” Olin said.
To further complicate the story, Monty is in love with a beautiful socialite, Sibella, who wants to marry for wealth and position, not just for love.
“To win her and become the earl, Monty sets off down a hilarious path of murder to bump off all eight of those relatives ahead of him,” Olin said.
There is a lot to look forward to with this year’s show, Olin noted.
“We have a talented cast of amazing vocalists, including Jason Steinberg as Monty, Michelle Cohn Levy as Sibella, Kimberly Manahan as Monty’s cousin (and other love interest) Phoebe, and Lance Schober, who plays all eight members of the D’YSquith family,” she said. “That means multiple costume changes for Lance, which our multitalented stage manager, Lora Silagy, will orchestrate.”
Speaking of costumes, Olin said that will be a highlight of this year’s show.
“The costumes were rented from Disguises Costume Superstore in Lakewood and specifically designed for this show,” she said. “We also use scenic projections which allow us to create beautiful scenery for each scene to complement the look of the stage.”
“I’m lucky to have my son, Rudy Olin, who has a degree in show production and touring and who has been a wealth of professional advice as we improve our sound, lighting and special effects,” Olin added.
The production features a six-person ensemble to play a variety of roles, including featured characters, mourners at the funeral, servants at the castle, and even singing ancestral portraits. The ensemble includes Johnette Toye as Miss Shingle, Nicole Abrams as Lady Eugenia D‘Ysquith, Kasey Wood as Miss Evangeline Barley, Paul Witt as Tom Copely, John Tedstrom as Chief Inspector Pinckney of Scotland Yard, and James Guthrie as Mr. Gorby, the butler, who for once didn’t do it.
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” employs many elements of traditional English comedy.
“While the subject of the show is murder, it addresses the topic in a farcical way with unlikely situations and over-the-top series of events,” said Olin. “It is meant to entertain in a Monty Python-esque way.”
What’s for Dinner?
You can’t offer dinner theater without the meal, and caterer Marla McFadden of Second Nature Gourmet is serving a meal that’s representative of the time period and setting of the show. The menu selections include Beef Wellington, Piri Piri Cod and Tikka Masala with Braised Winter Vegetables.
As she looks back on 10 years of dinner theater, Olin said the Porchlight Players’ success is reflective of the talent and dedication cast and crew members and the company’s commitment to constantly upgrading its technology.
Then there is also the fact that it’s a special entertainment option for the valley.
‘We feel the social aspects of sharing a meal and some drinks with friends in addition to enjoying a great show all at a reasonable price has been a magical combination.
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” will be performed Feb. 14-16 and 21-22 at the Brush Creek Pavilion. Most of the tickets have already sold out, but to see the very limited options still available visit porchlightplayers.com.