Murder, mystery and mayhem. “Clue – The Musical” has it all, bringing the beloved boardgame to life in riveting fashion. Tyler Civic Theatre Company’s ensemble cast sings, dances and plots their way through a nearly limitless number of scenarios in this interactive show.
“Clue” takes full advantage of Braithwaite’s theatre-in-the-round style seating. The setting is surreal, with the players standing frozen as the victim, Mr. Boddy, played by Stan King, narrates and lays out the rules of the game for the audience.
“If you can’t stage it, you can’t sell this play,” said director Mike Hargrove. “As people walk into the theatre, they’re going to be struck by how cool the stage looks as a board game.”
After Boddy’s narration, three audience members will be chosen at random to select the evening’s clues, which will lay out the entire direction of the play. The players will then proceed accordingly, moving from room to room. Each area sports a different theme and boardgame-style aesthetic.
“There are 666 different clues pertaining to different characters, different endings, different weapons, different rooms,” said TCT veteran Stephen Rainwater, who plays Professor Plum. “It’s going to be a little bit different every night, so our dialogue has to be adjusted. We’re really going to have to be on our toes as actors.”
To kick off the show, TCT is hosting a murder mystery dinner show at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 30. Tickets to this exclusive event are limited, and catering will be provided by Italian Slice of Tyler. Each night, the audience members will have game sheets beneath their seats, allowing them to play along.
“It’s all the fun of the game, except it’s live and the characters come to life,” Rainwater said. “They’re not just imaginary characters.”
Jack Ragland, last seen as the ferocious Father Wolf in TCT’s “The Jungle Book,” is perhaps the highlight of the show as he dons pumps and an apron to play the frenzied, Scottish housekeeper Mrs. White. Ragland absolutely tears his way through the scenes, demanding the audience’s attention — even when he’s just repeating a single line for comic value.
Ragland’s energetic rendition of Mrs. White’s “Life is a Bowl of Pits” is one of the strongest songs in the show. Be sure to keep an eye out for Mr. Boddy lurking in the background as Ragland turns a manic episode into song and dance.
The show will play out differently each night, so returning viewers will never see the same ending twice. The hectic nature of the random clues determining the player’s fate means the actors have to be ready for a curve ball at any moment. Even director Mike Hargove won’t know what’s going to happen before the fateful shuffling of the cards.
“Clue – The Musical” runs from Oct. 30 through Nov. 9, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday with a matinee on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or at TylerCivicTheatre.com
Next up for TCT is the world-premiere of author and playwright Dr. Andrew R. Heinze’s “The Invention of the Living Room.” The play is the winning entry of the Texas NonProfit Theatres 2014 New Play Project and will see a four night limited run at TCT.
“Invention,” directed by DeAnna Hargrove, tells the story of a family attempting to build a community for G.I.’s returning from WWII, and is loosely based on the history of Levittown, New York.
“Invention” runs Nov. 15-18, kicking off with a dinner theatre showing at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15. For more information, visit TylerCivicTheatre.com