Master Mystery Productions is teaming up with the legendary Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction to bring to life a brand-new interactive mystery on the most epic scale yet. For our Spring 2018 season and our eventual eighteenth Master Mystery Production, we’ll be traveling back to the canals of Venice in 1899 to put on an opera unlike any other. Passion, obsession, loyalty, love, jealousy, revenge, and the power of memory all take center stage in this murderous, musical adventure we call Exit Prima Donna. But to put on an opera, we need performers, and we’re preparing for our auditions now!
EXIT PRIMA DONNA
Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16, 2017
5 to 7 p.m. at Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church
633 W. Las Flores Ave.
Exit Prima Donna is a murder mystery masquerade opera spanning four Saturdays next spring: March 24, March 31, April 7, and April 14, 2018. We will be performing at the legendary Amargosa Opera House started by Marta Becket. Its richly detailed murals, remote location, and even the rumors of ghosts haunting the venue will be the perfect site for this unique show celebrating the history of opera. The show is structured more like a traditional stage musical with English spoken dialogue and interspersed songs from all kinds of opera integrated into the plot. The songs will be sung in their original language with the staging used to tell the story of the song’s lyrics. The main bulk of the show is in English to allow the audiences to solve the mystery.
Those wishing to audition for Exit Prima Donna must be at least 18 or older. Those under 18 will need a parent/guardian signature on a permission slip AND a parent/guardian MUST attend any and all rehearsals their child attends. Minimum age for Master Mystery Productions is 15 years old.
During auditions, everyone will fill out an audition form which will ask for basics such as name, email, experience, availability, etc. These are just basics to give us an understanding on who the performer is as well as contact information. Then the performer will sing their prepared 1 1/2 to 2 minute operatic (or similar) piece. We’re not looking for whether it’s specifically opera or not. We’re looking for performance, for how a singer acts while they sing. We’ll then assess your vocal range, followed by pairing up performers for cold readings of selected scenes from the original script by Daniel Stallings.
Rehearsal schedule will be finalized after auditions. Tentative schedule reads as such: Mondays and Tuesdays at 7 p.m. for staging rehearsals (blocking, line reading, characterizations, scene work, etc.). Fridays at 7 p.m. for music-intensive rehearsals (learning the music, practicing the songs, staging the songs, etc.). Schedule may be subject to change based on actor availability. First rehearsal will not be until after the holidays. After auditions, casting emails will be sent out to actors containing their music for them to listen to and start learning over the holiday break.
Venice, 1899. The company of a grand opera house plans to throw a masquerade ball to celebrate the end of another successful season. However, before the masks are donned and the festivities begin, Leonora, dresser at the opera house, bursts onstage in a panic as Donatella Violetta, the prima donna, has been kidnapped. With her cries ignored and mocked, Leonora vows to take a solo vigil throughout the night until news of Donatella reaches her. But the players return to find Leonora as a sleeping beauty, murdered from pricking her finger on a needle tainted with belladonna. Was Leonora the intended victim? Or did someone want to make the prima donna exit the stage forever? Before the masks fall, a killer will take the spotlight and demand the ultimate price: a human life. Enter the gilded glamour of the opera at the end of the 19th century for a magical, musical, and murderous journey into the secret, shadowy corners of the human heart. Passion. Loyalty. Obsession. Revenge. They all have a front row seat at what could be the prima donna’s last exit.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
DONATELLA VIOLETTA– The prima donna. The current star at the Teatro Venezia. Donatella is a reserved diva who is friendly with the others but doesn’t encourage much intimacy with her co-workers. She prefers solitude and the comfort of her own thoughts, which she says “are the only things that won’t betray me.” Her loner status makes her a mystery and somewhat of a pariah in the company as she doesn’t share the same jocular sense of companionship. Shielding deeper pain than many realize, Donatella had been the victim of heartbreak and, it is implied, emotional abuse at the hands of her mother. She is kidnapped at the beginning of the play, although most of the company believe she is just pulling an attention-seeking stunt. Voice type: Coloratura soprano.
LEONORA– The devoted dresser. Leonora worked with Signora for many years, serving not as only as dresser at the Teatro Venezia, but also as a companion, confidante, and even a nanny to Donatella when she was a child. She taught Donatella needlecraft, a pastime Donatella enjoys when she isn’t performing. Leonora is a longtime fixture at the opera house, claiming to know all its secrets. She intimidates the younger generation, and she is a dear friend to Pablo, the baritone, who is the only one left who remembers the old days. A modest, practical woman, her greatest dream is to buy herself a new coat. Voice type: Soprano/Mezzo soprano.
GIUSEPPE RODOLFO– The leading man. The male star of the opera house, Giuseppe is a popular performer often paired with Donatella for shows and very musically gifted, despite his immodest opinion of himself. However, it becomes clear that Giuseppe’s “conquests”–romantic or otherwise–have more or less been arranged, fabricated, or facilitated by Leonardo, his dresser, using a blend of boasting, bribery, even blackmail. Primed with these mostly imaginary stories of his prowess, Giuseppe is largely in his own fantasy world where he is the dashing, suave heartthrob, unaware of the reality of his exploits. Voice type: Tenor.
LEONARDO– Dresser to Giuseppe, the leading man. Similarly devoted to Giuseppe as Leonora is to Donatella, Leonardo acts as a “facilitator” (in his words) to his gentleman’s “conquests”: namely securing his numerous affairs with women. He says his main job is to keep his gentleman, even if the Don Juan is more like a Don Quixote. A manipulative mastermind of mischief, Leonardo enjoys pulling the puppet strings behind the scenes to create maximum drama and scandal. Voice type: Baritone.
PABLO ORLANDO– The father figure. One of the old hands at Teatro Venezia, Pablo is a seasoned performer who has been part of more operas than any other in the company. His long memory, experience, and stories of the past has him acting as a sort of father figure to Donatella. He has been present at most of the key moments of Donatella’s life, and she has grown to love and respect him as a member of her family. He is a lonely man as most of the younger generation cannot identify with his era. His closest confidante is Leonora, Donatella’s dresser, who is the only one who recalls his youth and time in the sun. Voice type: Baritone.
MARTA ROMA– The rival. A contemporary of Donatella, Marta has been competing with the prima donna for major roles for years, often losing. She feels disenchanted with the Teatro Venezia and often speaks about leaving the company to pursue other opportunities for her chance in the sun. But one thing always holds her back: her passionate love for Leonardo, Giuseppe’s dresser. They have a long-standing secret affair, and she cannot bear the thought of leaving and never seeing him again. While never cruel to Donatella, most of the company blame Marta for the kidnapping due to their professional rivalry. Voice type: Soprano.
SIGNORA– Donatella’s mother, the previous prima donna of the opera house, she was a legendary performer still revered by the company and only mentioned by the polite form of address “Signora.” Often described as “commanding” and “a force beyond nature,” Signora was a powerful personality at the opera house who often intimidated her fellow performers and crew. She died when Donatella was a child. She appears in Exit Prima Donna as a sort of memory/personification of Donatella’s intense feelings of fury or heartbreak, dressed as The Queen of the Night from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which was a signature Signora role. Voice type: Soprano.
THE SHADOW– A silent, shadowy figure cloaked in solid black with a flowing black cloak, black full-face mask, and a black hat. This “living shadow” is responsible for the kidnapping of Donatella and secretly torments her while she is in captivity. The Shadow says nothing to her, but interacts with her through body language and the occasional sparse written message. The true identity of the Shadow is the mystery the audience must solve. Voice type: Silent.
Cast and crew at the Teatro Venezia Opera House. A chorus who will often feature members with individual acting scenes. One chorus member will perform a solo requiem during the show. Voice types: Various.
We need a large pool of wonderful talent to create this marvel of musical mystery! We welcome everyone who would like to try out to do so. You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further inquiries or message us through Master Mystery Productions on Facebook. And you can always follow our page to learn more about this phenomenal show.
Come join us on this unforgettable journey. We hope to see you at auditions for Exit Prima Donna!
–Master Mystery Productions