Q. Why did you choose "Rehearsal for Murder" as your fall play?
Cheryl Loy. We begin the selection process early in the summer, and always look for age-appropriate material that will challenge the actors and crew. We try to balance the roles between the boys and the girls -- and I'm always drawn to ensemble casts. I read several scripts every year that sound promising, but just don't fit the bill. "Rehearsal for Murder" has it all -- a strong ensemble cast, compelling plotline and technical elements that will challenge our student crew. It is a beautifully written murder mystery, and the student actors haven't tackled this genre before.
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Q. Briefly summarize the plot -- what is the play about?
Loy. Playwright Alex Dennison (played by senior Austin Lee) is on the eve of marrying glamorous film star Monica Welles (senior Pam Atadero). Within hours after her Broadway debut, Welles is found dead from an apparent suicide. Convinced that Welles was murdered, Dennison contacts the most likely suspects and assembles them in an empty theater, under the guise of reading through his latest play. But Dennison locks the doors and uses his play as a means to, in the words of Hamlet, "catch the conscience" of the killer.
Q. About how many people are involved with the production?
Loy. There are approximately 40 students and assistants involved, onstage and behind the scenes.
Q. Is there anything that has surprised you about putting on this production?
Loy. I was very surprised at auditions this year -- we had so many freshmen audition who were so talented. I also love seeing upperclassmen try out who had never tried theater before. I love it when students take that type of leap of faith.
Q. What do you think the audience will like best about the show?
Loy. They will be immediately impressed with the talent in our theater program, and how they make it look effortless. It's a great evening of theater for less than the price of a movie ticket. There are so many plot twists, and it keeps you guessing.
If you go: "Rehearsal for Murder" performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 at Marian Central Catholic High School, 1001 McHenry Ave., Woodstock. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. Call (815) 338-4220 or visit www.marian.com.