Audience chooses ending to Andover High’s ‘Drood’

For those attending Andover High School’s spring musical more than once, it’s unlikely they’ll see the same production.

Joe Picardi is John Jasper and Signe Mundfrom is Edwin Drood in Andover High School’s musical production “Drood.” Both students are seniors. Photo submitted

Joe Picardi is John Jasper and Signe Mundfrom is Edwin Drood in Andover High School’s musical production “Drood.” Both students are seniors. Photo submitted

The high school’s theater department’s spring musical “Drood” opens this weekend.

The show, penned by Rupert Holmes, is based on Charles Dickens’ last and unfinished novel, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Holmes also wrote the music and lyrics.

Each night of the performance, the audience determines the show’s ending. Audience members get to vote on who killed Drood, if indeed he was really murdered at all. Was it the detective? The lovers?

“There are hundreds of possible combinations, so it’s very unlikely to see the same show twice,” said director Ann Johnson.

The year is 1892. Set at London’s Music Hall Royale, in a play-within-a-play fashion, a musical version of Dickens’ unfinished novel is being produced. The characters are Dickens-esque.

Suspense, intrigue, sprinkled with a bit of humor and lots of lively music make for an entertaining evening.

“Drood” won the Tony award for Best Musical in 1986. It was later staged as a Broadway revival last year and closed last month.

Because of the complexity the show demands, the play is seldom staged by high schools, Johnson said.

The audience becomes part of the production, with sing-alongs, booing and hissing, with hints of a melodrama.

Melanie Kjellberg is music director, Nancy Stutzman directs the pit orchestra, Kristen Bury is choreographer, Brittany Eastburn is technical director and Hope Murry is costume designer.

Now’s your chance to see a seldom-produced Broadway show, right in our own backyard.

Andover High School Theatre Department presents “Drood.” Ann Johnson directs. May 3, 4, 5, 10 (ASL interpreted), 11, 12. Friday and Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Adults $8, students and seniors, $6. Mature situations and language. Not recommended for children ages 12 and under. 2115 Andover Blvd. Tickets available at door. Visit www.andovertheatre.org or call 763-506-8491.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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