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'Whodunit ... The Musical'

"Whodunit ... The Musical" is up next at Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland. It's a new play with book, music and lyrics by American playwright, actor and composer Ed Dixon, as well as a musical adaptation of Mary Roberts Rinehart's 1908 short story, "The Circular Staircase."

"It's a wonderful blend of good old murder mystery and music," says Artistic Director Jim Giancarlo. "It's funny and goofy, and it's got really nice songs."

Giancarlo, who also is directing the OCT production, says it is always fun and interesting to stage a new show.

"Right now, we're trying to figure out how to deal with all of the dead bodies."

Dixon sets his story in 1931 in a Connecticut summer home. When its matron, Carrie Innes, and her Cockney maid arrive, they discover that the hired help has left in terror of the house ... except Thomas, the butler. That night there's a strange face in a window, then gun shots, a dead body of a stranger on the drawing room floor and a visit from a gypsy Tarot card reader.

It's a tuneful romp that's part mystery, part drawing room farce and all musical comedy.

"One of the show's songs is called 'It's Harder to Move a Body Than You Think,' " Giancarlo says. "The title song also is very good, and there's another funny song called 'Lady's Maid.' "

The rest of the OCT production crew are on board for the show. Set design is by Craig Hudson and Michael Halderman, costume design by Kerri Lea Robbins, lighting design by Hudson, sound design by Tom Freeman and Kathleen Mahoney is production stage manager.

Tamara Marston will play the role of Innes. Marston has appeared in 16 OCT productions, including “Holiday Memories” and “Kickin' the Clouds Away” in 2009. John Stadelman, another long-time OCT actor, will appear as Detective Jarvis in "Whodunit." Stadelman also appeared in “Kickin' the Clouds Away,” “Holiday Memories” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” in 2009.

Kymberli Colbourne will play the comic Cockney maid, Liddy, and three other local performers will be making OCT debuts. Samuel Dinkowitz, a recent graduate of Southern Oregon University, will play Jack. Dinkowitz appeared in SOU's “Urinetown,” “The Philadelphia Story” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” After his graduation, Dinkowitz became an intern at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, appearing in several plays including "A Servant of Two Masters."

Mia Chiaromonte will appear as Innes' niece, Sally. Chiaromonte appeared in "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" and "The Ballad of Dora Hand" at Oregon Stage Works. Jean-Christophe Kay plays Thomas the butler.

"Whodunit ... The Musical" will open Friday, April 9, with previews on Wednesday and Thursday, April 7 and 8, and will run through May 30.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. Sunday brunch matinees are at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $19 for previews, $21 for Sunday evening, $27 for Sunday brunch matinees, $27 and $29 for Thursday and Monday shows and $31 and $33 for Friday and Saturday shows.

Dinner and Sunday brunch are available with advance reservations. Appetizers, desserts, wine, beer and beverages are available without reservations. Ticket prices do not include food or beverages.

Tickets are available at the OCT box office, First and Hargadine streets, Ashland. Tickets also may be purchased by calling 541-488-2902 or online at www.oregoncabaret.com.

John Stadelman (front) plays Detective Jarvis in Oregon Cabaret Theatre's production of 'Whodunit ... The Musical.' Others include (left to right) Samuel Dinkowitz as Jack, Jean-Christophe Kay at Thomas, Mia Chiaromonte as Sally, Kymberli Colbourne as Liddy and Tamara Marston as Carrie Innes. - Photo by Christopher Briscoe