The murder mystery is said to be the most difficult genre to turn into a musical - in part because a mystery has so much plot, it doesn't leave much room for songs. The few successful examples almost always have a gimmick.
Rupert Holmes' 1986 Tony Award-winning musicalization of xTC Charles Dickens' "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" has not one gimmick, but two.
First, Holmes lets the audience solve Dickens' unfinished mystery. Second, he turns the story into a music-hall presentation. It's a big order for a little theater, but director/choreographer Todd Pearthree has a knack for this sort of miniaturization. He and his talented cast clearly had a ball fitting Dickens' large ship into Theatre Hopkins' small bottle, and the result is a Dickens of a good time.
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" continues at Theatre Hopkins, in the Merrick Barn on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University, through May 17. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:15 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $10 and $12. Call 410-516-7159.
Pub Date: 5/03/98