By SCOTT WEISSER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Enter the Bristol Opera House and step into the past.
“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” is a throwback to screwball movie comedies like the Bob Hope “Road” pictures, according to director David Dufour.
“It’s a murder mystery, and it actually blends in aspects of Agatha Christie in particular,” Dufour said of the Elkhart Civic Theatre production. “But it also involves aspects of farce as well.” The show also includes some Abbott and Costello-esque elements.
“It’s essentially taking that kind of comedy and putting it on stage,” Dufour said. “...It’s just a lot of fun, basically.”
“Musical Comedy Murders” will be on stage for its second-weekend stint starting Friday at the opera house, located at 210 E. Vistula St., Bristol.
The Agatha Christie influence is apparent in the “Musical Comedy Murders” plot, which involves 10 people brought together at a house.
“And then they get snowed in and the phone’s dead,” Dufour said. “There you go. There’s the ‘Mousetrap,’ right there.” There are echoes, too, of “And Then There Were None.”
“Musical Comedy Murders” deals with a group brought together presumably to do a backer’s audition, a non-fully produced presentation of a new musical to someone who may back it for a full production. However, Dufour said, the creative team was involved in a previous production in which several chorus girls were murdered during the run of the show.
An undercover officer is part of the snowbound group, on hand to look over the creative team and see if one of its members is the “Stage Door Slasher.”
Dufour at the helm of a whodunit makes sense. An Elkhart Civic release tags him as the Theatre’s resident mystery buff/director.
“I’ve directed a lot of Agatha Christie murder mysteries and I’ve directed some other mystery-oriented types of shows,” he said. “This one is quite different because it is flat-out designed to be funny.”
Looking ahead to the second weekend of the “Musical Comedy Murders” run, Dufour is anticipating a packed house.
“The word of mouth will be pretty good on it,” he said of the show. “We’ve had a very positive response.”
“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” cast includes Dan Cotton, Geneele Crump, Elise Davis, Annette Kaczanowski, Dave Kempher, Valerie Ong, Josh Padgett, Corinne Reed, Geoff Trowbridge and Tony Venable. Dufour is being assisted by Randy Zonker. Dawn Blessing is handling costume design, Kasey Roske is on properties and John Shoup is providing the scenery.