Cottonwood’s regional champion theatre students to perform “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”
Cottonwood High theatre students, who won the regional title, will perform “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in May. (Adam Wilkins/Cottonwood High School)
Cottonwood High School’s recently crowned regional champion theatre department will take the stage in May to present “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”
The Charles Dickens unfinished manuscript was discovered after his death. In the 1970s, it was completed with multiple endings so each performance of the musical could have a different character as the murderer, said Adam Wilkins who is co-directing the Cottonwood production with Madison Howell.
“There’s five endings so the audience can vote every night, ‘whodunit,’” he said about the mysterious circumstances of Drood’s disappearance. “It’s a fun, slapstick British comedy with a play within a play of mistaken identities that is very entertaining and family friendly.”
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” will be performed at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 10 through Saturday, May 13 and again on Monday, May 15. At noon on Saturday, May 13, there will be a matinee performance, where mothers can purchase tickets at the door for half-price. Tickets are $7 online or $8 at the door and the show will be performed in the school’s Black Box Theatre, 5715 S. 1300 East.
The role of Edwin Drood, a female who portrays a male, is played by senior Karin Allred. The Chairman is senior Jeremy Black with John Jasper portrayed by senior Preston Rowland. Junior Anna Anderl is Rosa Bud; senior Emmalee Petrick is Princess Puffer; and junior Seith Howell is Bazzard. The roles of Neville Landless and Helena Landless are played by junior Jared Evans and junior Sophia Morrill, respectively. Sophomore Nami Eskandarian portrays Rev. Crisparkle; sophomore Andrew Sollis is Durdles; junior Aubrey Low is the Deputy and junior Paige Ney plays Horace.
“We’ve had some serious and heavy shows this year with ‘Big Fish’ and ‘Henry V’ dealing with issues of redemption and forgiveness, so this is a lighter piece from the turn of last century that’s a lot of fun. Plus, we’re able to see we aren’t defined by where we’re born or how much money we have, but how you can be the best you. It ties in with these kids who are learning who they are and where they fit in the world,” he said.
It also comes off the hard work students had put in preparing for regional competition where they earned 388 of the 390 points possible to win the overall first-place trophy.
“Our region is really tough, but we qualified every kid to go to state so we couldn’t be happier of the success,” Wilkins said of his 39 students who participated at region. “In theatre, we learn that everyone is important and everyone’s part is vital to the whole of the group’s success. We’ll be going over the judges’ notes and incorporate them in our pieces to learn from them and prepare for state.”
The state contest was slated April 15.
Their one-act competition, “Women of Lockerbie,” had 10 students portray the aftermath of the PanAm flight that crashed near Lockerbie, Scotland, when women who were inspired to obtain and wash the clothing from the victims so they could return the items to the victims’ families.
“It’s a really heart-warming piece where these women are determined to make this an act of love, but it’s a real emotional and hard piece to perform,” Wilkins said.
For judging, their ensemble was required to be under one hour and be judged by three professionals. Cottonwood took first place.
The individual events, ranging from dramatic monologues to musical theatre, was the second day of the regional contest.
“All our students received superior ratings,” Wilkins said. “There’s so much pride they put in their pieces and it has paid off.”