Clue, the “Classic Detective Game,” on Stage

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March 17th, 2017

Omaha, NE—Books, films, and history are all likely inspirations for musicals. Not often board games, but the formula for making one is the same as any other according to Kerri Watts, publicity and marketing chair at the Bellevue Little Theatre.

“There’s just a little bit of dancing, a lot of really beautiful music, a lot of catchy music, and really great harmonies—and we have a very strong cast of singers, so it’s beautiful to listen to,” Watts said.

The Bellevue Little Theatre will be presenting Clue the Musical, directed by Daena Schweiger, later this month, opening March 24. Based on the classic murder mystery board game, Clue tells the story several unlikely house guests, one of whom has murdered the host.

“There are monologues explaining the characters, and the characters come out and explain themselves, so that game you’re playing as a kid is coming to life before you,” Watts explained. “Mrs. Peacock comes out and tells her history, and Colonel Mustard comes out and tells his history, and then you start to see relationships develop between them.”

Keep in mind that Clue does not lose its element of surprise by being turned into a script, because there isn’t just one script. Just like the game, player participation is key, and the outcome of the show is determined by some help from the audience. Mr. Boddy, the host and murder victim played by Jesse Black, addresses the audience at times to invite them to play the game.

“Mr. Boddy acts a bit as a narrator, especially in the second half after his murder, and in the process of solving the murder, and so he speaks directly to the audience on several occasions,” Watts said. “He tells them, ‘now it’s time to mark your note of who you think the killer is. Please pass those down the aisle,’ and the cast members actually come down and pick up the slips. I don’t want to give too much away, but they have to learn, as cast members, whatever ending the audience has selected, so they have to be on their toes for that.”

There might be a few musicals out there aside from Clue play with audience participation, but it’s certainly not common. Watts explained the challenges of producing a show like this.

“I’ve been on the board at the Bellevue for three years,” Watts explained, “and I’ve been doing shows at the Bellevue for about 28 years since I was in high school. So this is a first for me, in that aspect of a musical. There are other musicals that have audience participation, but this one is unique—the fact that the audience is playing along is very unique, and that’s probably going to be one of our challenges. You don’t have anybody playing along during rehearsal, so the first time they have a full house live audience is going to be a fun challenge for our cast.”

Clue the Musical will be playing at the Bellevue Little Theatre the weekends of March 24, 31, and April 7. To make reservations, call the theatre at 402-291-1554. For more information, visit bellevuelittletheatre.com.

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