Peninsula Players Theatre is thrilled to announce, in collaboration with Chicago Radio Theatre, a dramatic live audio production of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” adapted and directed by Kevin Christopher Fox. The live broadcast will be available on the website of Peninsula Players Theatre Friday, October 23, at 9 p.m.
If you miss the live broadcast, an audio recording of the production will live on the theater’s website for a limited time. The audio production brings the talents of several skilled actors, accompanied by sound effects and atmospheric music, directly to your home or portable device and will be available through Monday, November 30, 2020, on the Peninsula Players Theatre website, www.peninsulaplayers.com.
“This adaptation of ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ is a thank you to our patrons for their steadfast support of Peninsula Players Theatre during these challenging times,” said Artistic Director Greg Vinkler. “Everyone at the Players wholeheartedly misses performing for our patrons. This dramatic recording is a way we can share the Peninsula Players Experience with everyone. And what a better way to enjoy the thrills of Halloween than with a classic thriller from the original fright master himself – Edgar Allan Poe!”
Poe was a 19th-century American writer, literary critic, editor and poet best know for his poetry and short stores, especially those of the macabre. His enduring works include “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado” and many more.
Playwright Kevin Christopher Fox begins his adaptation of Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in England in the late 1880s. Uncle Marshall spins a tale to his niece Charlotte of his exciting times as a young man in 1837 Paris, where he met a stimulating and intriguing woman, Mademoiselle C. Augusta Dupin. Uncle Marshall shares the harrowing adventure the pair embark upon after stumbling onto a very disconcerting and frightful murder scene while on one of their late-night walks.
Published in 1841, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is considered the first modern detective story, long before Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. The word “detective” did not exist at the time Poe wrote his story. Poe wrote this tale of murder and sleuthing while urban cities, such as London, Boston, Chicago and New York City, established police forces and developed scientific police work.
Fox has added a twist to the classic tale and makes Poe’s Dupin a female character. Dupin begins to hunt for the murderer of two women who were brutally attacked in their Paris homes out of personal curiosity. Poe describes Dupin as one who uses reasoning, observations and other problem-solving skills to solve the crime, much like the skills a gambler uses while playing cards.
“I think the radio-style of this collaboration harkens us back to days gone by,” said Managing Director Brian Kelsey. “Audio productions are a way to safely present stories during a pandemic and allows the audience to listen to dramatic performances anytime and anywhere. It is like cozying up with a good book and letting our imaginations create the setting.”
The cast includes Peninsula Players Theatre’s veteran performers Erica Elam (“Now and Then,” “Almost, Maine” and guest on Peninsula Players Presents); Kevin Christopher Fox (“The Actuary” and “Trifles” director); Neil Friedman (“Born Yesterday,” “Over the Tavern”) and Vinkler. They are joined by Allison Selby Cook, an accomplished singer/actor and musician, as the female version of Dupin; and Mike Jimerson, an actor, improviser and writer from St Louis, Missouri. The creative team includes foley artist Ele Matelan with sound designer Christoper Kriz providing the atmospheric music.
“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is part of the Peninsula Players program, The Play’s the Thing. It is funded in part by generous grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, The Shubert Foundation and operating funds from Peninsula Players Theatre. Listening is free, donations are welcome. Donations may be made by calling the Box Office weekdays, visiting www.peninsulaplayers.com, or may be mailed to 4351 Peninsula Players Rd, Fish Creek, WI 54212.
“Listeners can join the live broadcast Friday, October 23 at 9 p.m. or enjoy the recorded audio performance Saturday, October 24 through Monday, November 30 on our website,” Vinkler said. “We kindly ask that if patrons enjoy this dramatic production of ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue,’ that they please consider making a donation to the theater’s Annual Fund. It is through the support and generosity of our patrons we can ensure Peninsula Players continues on its next decade.”
Peninsula Players Theatre is America’s Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theatre. The Play’s the Thing is part of the Players’ community outreach programming, presenting professional play productions for the public. To enjoy the dramatic audio recording of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” visit www.peninsulaplayers.com. Patrons who receive the Peninsula Players Presents e-newsletter will be sent links in the days ahead.