OBU Theater to present Agatha Christie’s “A Murder is Announced”

By Payton Clark, Social Media Editor

In the fall, “The Addams Family” brought OBU audiences dark humor and catchy tunes to ring in Halloween. In February, “Defying Gravity” broke hearts and inspired viewers simultaneously. What can possibly cap off this incredible season of shows from the OBU Theater department?

For two weekends in April, OBU Theatre will present “A Murder is Announced”, a murder mystery play adapted from the novel by Agatha Christie. The show will be in Craig Dorland Theater on April 19-20 and 26-28 at 7:30 p.m., as well as show times on April 22 and 29 at 2:30. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office in Sarkeys Telecommunications Center and online at okbu.edu/theatre at $12 for adults and $5 for students.

Set in Little Paddox, a boarding house in the fictional town of Clipping Cleghorn, England, the play follows the house’s owner Mrs. Blacklock and town members. A mysterious advertisement in the local paper claims that “a murder is to take place at Little Paddox at 7:30 p.m. today,” causing chaos and sleuthing among the locals.

“It gets crazy and interesting, and it’s definitely a whodunit type murder mystery. You try to figure out who’s who, who’s lying, who’s who they say they are, so it’s a lot of fun,” stage manager Grace Wohlschlegel said. “The location doesn’t change, we’re just in this box house, so everything is contained and integral to that space. There’s a lot of
mystery and intrigue, so you want to pay attention to the details.”

Being the final show of the OBU Theater department’s season, senior theater major Lizzie Grimes, who plays the elderly amateur detective Miss Marple, believes this production is the perfect combination of this season’s shows.

“This show combines the dark humor of The Addams Family Musical with the genuine
love of Defying Gravity and then adds its own flair of British mystery,” senior theater major Lizzie Grimes said.

Grimes told audiences to anticipate lightheartedness and above all, mystery.

“Audiences can expect mystery, intrigue, and suspense with some laughs and love sprinkled in between,” Grimes said.

Of all the aspects of the show, Wohlschlegel is most excited to watch the audience try to figure out the murder mystery themselves.

“Obviously I know the ending and I know all of the things throughout the show that are meant to deceive the audience and make them think about who did it, so it will be really interesting to see if they get it right, to hear the dialogue about their thoughts,” Wohlschlegel said. “It will spark a lot of good conversation among audience members just through the nature of the show, because it’s a bit interactive.”

After starting the season with the fun music and dance-filled “The Addams Family”, followed by the more somber “Defying Gravity”, which discusses the Challenger disaster, Wohlschelgel said that “A Murder is Announced it a good balance between silly and serious.

“It’s a lot of personal dynamics, not as much spectacles that you’d get with musicals, but a lot of really strong characters who are interesting and have depth,” Wohlschlegel said.
“You do have serious moments discussing difficult family dynamics, death and getting old, relatable topics but a lot of the characters are happy people enjoying life so there’s a lot of lightness in the seriousness as the play progresses.”

According to guest director and OBU alumni Connor Gilbert, the last mystery play produced by the department was “A Woman in Black” during the 2007-2008 season.

“While there have been many amazing and stimulating productions for theatre students in the past decade, this specific play challenges our students to explore what makes a murder mystery different from other dramatic or comedic works,” Gilbert said. “As director, I can promise that our audience members will enjoy all the twists and
turns awaiting them.”

With a cast and crew full of current or former OBU students Wohlschlegel has enjoyed the experience of working with creative and hardworking peers.

“Our director is an alum that has come back to direct, and I’ve been his stage manager before so it’s nice to get to work with him again. All of our designers for the show are students, not faculty or guest designers, which is wonderful,” Wohlschlegel said.

“It’s been fun with first-time designers watching them figure out the process and have good insightful ideas and experiences. The cast for the show is a really great group of people that have good attitudes, want to be there and are working very hard so it’s a great environment to be a part of.”

The cast includes freshmen David Goforth, Amber Rodriguez and Garrett Wheeler, sophomores Courtlin Haygarth and Kendra Johnson, juniors Chase Hendrickson and Anna Tyler, and seniors Brenna Bergeron, Lara Gatton, Elizabeth Grimes and Hannah Lounsbery.

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