Edmonds Heights presents ‘Edwin Drood’

Audience can choose the ending
By Jesse Blair | May 10, 2018
Photo by: EdmondsHeights “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” will be performed through Saturday in Edmonds.

Splendid music, multilayered characters, audience interaction and loads of improv are just a few reasons to see Edmonds Heights K-12 production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ last novel, of the same name.

“It is a play within a play,” director Dorothy Pierce said.

“As most novels were presented in serial form at that time, people were avidly following the story and were suddenly left with no answers. Is Edwin Drood dead or missing? What happened? Who is this mysterious detective who suddenly showed up? Who is the villain?”

The musical is centered in The Music Hall Royale, where performers prepare for their first staging of “Edwin Drood” and the audience decides the ending.

“At key points, the audience is asked to decide and vote on issues, which change the direction of the show,” Pierce said. With multiple changes happening throughout, the ending is never the same.

Pierce teaches acting, improv, stage makeup and musical theater classes at Edmonds Heights. She also directs Madrona Children’s Theater and Edmonds Driftwood Players’ Teen Troupe.

What is it like directing high schoolers?

“High schoolers are amazing. They are poised on the brink of adulthood, but still big kids. Teaching at a K-12, you really get to see the difference as maturity starts to set in.”

The advanced musical theater students are focused, hardworking, and really care about the shows they are putting on, Pierce explained. But that doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun.

“They tend to be a wacky bunch,” she said, “and are a hoot to hang out with.”

In addition to memorizing scripts, the students have been busy working on dances, hand-sewing costumes, painting scenic drops and costumes and working on piano numbers.

“Theater asks students to look at different worldviews and empathize with people completely unlike them,” she said.

It also teaches concrete skills like public speaking, memorization, analyzing text, teamwork, self-reliance, and confidence. Theater provides a safe place for the students to explore and step outside of themselves.

Actress Patti Cohenour was part of the original Broadway cast of “Edwin Drood.” She was nominated for a Tony award for her role as Rosa Bud.

She came to the school for a day and worked directly with the students in an interactive character workshop, helping with character development, lyrical analysis and understanding of the characters.

She also fielded questions from students about what is was like to be the first person ever to portray a character, the importance of improv and character interactions, and what it was like bringing the show to Broadway.

“It was a true master class and transformative for many of the cast members,” Pierce said. “We are all grateful to her for her time with our cast. We were able to open our workshop to other students from our school who where able to learn from Patti as well.”

 


"The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

 

When: 7 p.m. May 10-12
Where: Edmonds Heights K-12, 23200 100th Ave. W, Edmonds
Tickets: $10, $8 at www.ehshows.com. May 10 is a special fundraiser show, with tickets $13 online and $15 at the door.
Information: 206-293-1166, www.ehshows.com

 

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