MAPS production of ‘Rehearsal for Murder’ opens Friday

MANISTEE — Nothing gets the attention of an audience more at a theatrical production than a good murder mystery.

In one of the tense scenes from the Manistee Middle/High School production of the play 'Rehearsal for A Murder" Liam Quinn's character pulls a gun on the rest of the cast.

In one of the tense scenes from the Manistee Middle/High School production of the play ‘Rehearsal for A Murder” Liam Quinn’s character pulls a gun on the rest of the cast.

People seeking that type of a drama shouldn’t look beyond the Manistee Middle/High School production of William Levinson and Richard Link’s “Rehearsal for Murder” that will be taking place this weekend at the school auditorium. Show times will be Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door starting one hour before each show. There is one flat fee for admission for students and adults.

Drama program director Amanda Feyen said this show is one that will have people sitting on the edge of their seats wondering right to the end who is the murderer.

“It’s a murder mystery and in the story a death actually happened a year ago,” said Feyen. “The main character Alex Dennison’s fiance dies the opening night of their play as she was the star and he was the playwright. The play opened to mixed reviews and her death was ruled as a suicide, but he doesn’t believe that is true.”

Feyen said the play’s storyline reviews some of the things that happened, but then moves forward to where Dennison brings everyone back one year later.

“Dennison wrote a new murder mystery and is having them read new scenes for the play, but it really puts motive on each of these characters and how they may have wanted to get rid of her,” said Feyen. “He says by the end they will find who did it. The play is fun kind of thriller as it takes the audience along on the way.”

The play is something she feels will test the talents of the students.

“We have done a lot of fantasy and lighter stuff in our past productions and felt this would be something to challenge them and be different for them to do,” said Feyen.

She added that drama at MAPS is really starting to take off.

“We had 40 kids audition and there really is only 15 parts in the show,” said Feyen. “So we are doing a double cast and one group is performing Friday night and Saturday’s matinee and then another one that will do Saturday night and the Sunday matinee. It is an amazing problem to have, but I was overwhelmed by it. Last year we had only 17 kids in the entire cast.”

She said the double cast adds an interesting concept to the play as different people bring different things to the role.

Feyen said in the spring they hope to do a play just for middle school students and musical one for high school because there is a lot of middle school students in this cast. Feyen said she is finding students are sticking with the program every year.

“About 25 percent have been in all three years that I have been here and about 50 percent were in last year,” said Feyen. “It is wonderful to see some of those same faces and the new ones coming in.”

Cast members in the show are Bay Anderson, Gracey Anderson, Bishop Davis, Madison Dennis-Heckman, Anthony Erlandson, Emma Floyd, Destini Gardner, Charlotte Goodspeed, Lauren Hanna, Mackenzie King, Dylan Madsen, Brynn O’Donnell, Jack O’Donnell, Liam Quinn, Kiera Raymond, Brooke Rinck, Angelina Sam, Kaleb Shoemate, Tug Thuemmel, Hannah Tyron-Mueller and Nadine Underwood.

Working behind the scenes as crew members are Hilda Anthun, Joey Banicki, Ava Bladzik, Camilla Blohm, Katerina Docekalova, McKenna Grant, Aurora Johnson, Drake Reed, Aiden Prince, Boe-Lillie Schafer, Arda Thaita and Ava Thuemmel.

Stage manager is Ryan Biller and assistant stage manager is Sarah Huber.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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