Plan ‘C’ takes the stage for season opener

Hardcore actors will audition for just about anything, even murder! When a group of 10 actors auditioned for the opening production of the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s 2017-18 Season opener, little did they know they were there to “Audition for Murder” or at least not these murders.

Originally scheduled to open the season was Agatha Christie’s murder mystery, “Mousetrap,” which called for a cast of five males and three females. True to theater group’s history, they got just about the opposite. Six females and three males showed up for the auditions that were held for two nights.

To director Glen Bjornson’s dismay, he couldn’t wrangle any more males for the scheduled production. Bjornson and the set crew already had the “Mousetrap” set half built and on stage. Scrapping the original production projects was not an ideal situation but true to Bjornson’s history and character, he had a Plan B. Well, Plan B didn’t pan out either. After some research, Bjornson moved on to Plan C, something similar, wonderfully humorous, brilliantly written and possibly a little bit familiar.

“Audition for Murder” brings back the doubly nosey due of Grace Sharp and Doris Brooks you may remember from VVTG’s 2013-14 season opener “Murder Inn;” only they’ve changed a wee bit. The characters once portrayed by Mike Brenner, Grace and Faye Bond, Doris are now being turned over to Teri Nehrenz, who will play the part of Grace, and Miriam Samuels, who’s been cast as Doris. Nehrenz played the part of Martha Talbot, the owner of “Murder Inn” in the 2013 production.

This time Grace and Doris have an accident on a deserted, icy road. Shaken up, but not hurt, they seek help in an isolated building which turns out to be a community theatre. They arrive just in time

for auditions.

Joining them in this race to discover who is taking these theater auditions entirely too seriously and creating some “recently departed” realistic props are cast members: Denis Feehan, Hap Miller; Chad Calmelat, Peter Grogan; Mike Schultz, Officer Rory Toppman; Gary Williams, Jeff Benson; Kimberly Gilbert, Rhonda Benson-Squash; Joan Pelliccio, Bernice Sharp-Squash (Grace’s sister) and newcomers to the VVTG stage, Judy Edgington, Helen Benson-Grogan and Karol McConeghy, Margo Benson-Stevens.

If you think the names are confusing, wait until you see this gang in action when the whole theater becomes their stage and they show up to “Audition for Murder.”

The director and cast will be rehearsing for the next six weeks to bring the work of writers Howard Voland and Keith McGregor to life so they can make their audiences die of laughter.

“Audition for Murder” opens Friday, Oct. 13 with additional performances scheduled on Oct.14, 20, 21, 27 & 28 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 15 & 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets for individual performances and season tickets are available in advance by contacting the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s website www.vvtgnv.com.

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