Was it Ms. Scarlet with the knife in the billiard room? Or perhaps Mr. Green with the candlestick in the ballroom? Maybe Professor Plum in the lounge with the rope?
In the Umpqua Actors Community Theatre’s fall musical “Clue: The Musical” there are 216 alternate endings. The one constant? Mr. Boddy (Dave Bove) is murdered. And its up to the audience to decide who did it, where and with what.
Each patron will receive their own game sheet, just like the classic boardgame. Mr. Boddy is both the victim and the narrator — a role Bove said he enjoys — sharing clues throughout the production to help the audience solve his murder.
Jannie Prawitz, director and 10-year patron of UACT, said Mr. Boddy was the role that changed most depending on the ending.
“All the actors, if they are the murderer, they have an extra set of lines they have to know,” she said.
While the multiple endings add complications, many of the cast say it is the music that has been the most challenging, because there isn’t a soundtrack they can use to help study.
“You can go on YouTube and find some of the songs, but there’s not a soundtrack you can just listen to, like most people in a musical do,” said Christina Jamerson, who plays Mrs. Peacock. “It’s all been just working, working, working with the score. Not having that reference recording has added a number of hours of study.”
Braydon Simmons found further difficulty as Professor Plum, even though it was the character he wanted, because it’s portraying a personality he’s not used to.
“(Professor Plum) is the most believable character for my age that I could play, and something different than what I’ve been playing,” said the 21-year-old Simmons. “He is more quiet and intelligent — and he is British, so he has an accent that has been fun to work on. He is something different and exciting and a challenge, which is what I wanted.”
Each actor has expanded on the classic characters known from the game and movie. Mrs. Peacock is still the glamorous, manipulative socialite and Miss Scarlet is a cunning femme fatale, but in this rendition, Mr. Green is a sleazy “entrepreneur” and Mrs. White is anything but a kindly maid.
Jere Bartley, who plays Mrs. White, considers herself the comedy relief of the show.
“I am the housekeeper, I am very underpaid and under-appreciated and I let it be known at all times. I also have a slight drinking problem,” Bartley said. “I think I am the comedy relief of this comedy. Everyone is zany, but I get those cute little zingers in every so often.”
Every cast member has various acting and musical experience, ranging from Bartley’s 30-plus years and David Jones’ (Mr. Green) years as a local music teacher, to Simmons, who had a couple years onstage during high school and college before joining UACT four years ago.
“This (play) is a labor of love,” Prawitz said. “It is challenging music and a script that is funny, but overall it is just a joy to come everyday and get to be with these people. They just want to put on a good show for the patrons.”
“Come see the show. It is really unique because it has that audience participation basis to it,” Jamerson said. “It’s not required to participate, but because the audience chooses the cards every night, it is literally a different ending every night. We don’t have it planned ahead of time and it changes the show.”