Happy New Year! 2017 is over, and it closes the book on one of our most successful seasons to date. With 2018, we aim to go bigger and better than ever before. As per tradition at Master Mystery Productions, we ring in the new year with a preview of our upcoming season with synopses, dates, audition info, and so much to get our audiences and actors pumped for the latest shows coming their way. Master Mystery Productions continues to grow with each year, and, in 2018, the results are more shows, new venues, new and returning clients, new writers, and training the next generation of MMP directors. So here’s a look at the 2018 season! Radio, opera, pirates…oh my!
THE LAST CHAPTER
It’s the annual afterlife gathering of the greatest ghost writers in the world. And we mean ghost. Some of the most famous (and infamous) literary legends have come together for a yearly post-mortem writers retreat. William Shakespeare discusses poetry with Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe. Ernest Hemingway and Dorothy Parker enjoy a little tête-à-tête when not arguing about their tastes in literature. And Agatha Christie prefers the tea over the debates. But as the day wears on, the plot thickens. Charles Dickens has issued a tantalizing challenge: Can any of the guests surmise the intended last chapter of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, his famous unfinished novel? It’ll be an evening of lively debate and scandalous secrets as the world’s greatest talents take on the world’s most unsolvable mystery. But what will happen when one of their own seeks a more…creative finish?
In an ode to literature and the great tradition of writers’ retreats, our first show of the 2018 season will test our guests’ wits against some of the greatest literary minds ever. Working through escape-room-like challenges with colorful names such as The Bard’s Challenge, The Wit’s Challenge, The Adventurer’s Challenge, and the Queen’s Challenge, the audience will try to collect a series of disparate clues and tantalizing messages, all puzzle pieces that assemble one shocking truth. Because an afterlife is at stake. The Last Chapter premieres Saturday, February 10, 2018 in Garden Grove, California.
EXIT PRIMA DONNA
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.
In a striking departure for MMP, we’re presenting our first ever musical mystery filled with singing and suspicions. Master Mystery Productions is presenting a kind of love letter to 19th century opera along with one of our most powerful storylines yet. Bringing to life a tale of passion, obsession, and vengeance is a cast of superstar returners and brilliant newcomers, all with sparkling talent to share. We are very excited to bring this musical murder mystery to life for Spring 2018! Exit Prima Donna performs all Saturdays–March 24, March 31, April 7, and April 14–at the famous Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction. Details will be made available as we get closer to opening night.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS TOUR
To celebrate the launch of MMP founder Daniel Stallings’ debut mystery novel, Sunny Side Up, we’re designing a special sort of show that will bridge the gap between out popular trunk and ensemble shows. Famous Last Words will be an interactive mystery based on the secrets of a working writer adapted to work both with or without actors. We’re designing it to be a show for the road, a traveling mystery that can be taken anywhere to help promote the book and give readers and audiences a fun and creative mystery game to solve. For special events, such as book signings, an actor version will exist, where the story’s characters will come to life to act out their mystery.
One such event is already planned with an interactive mystery book signing of Famous Last Words to be held at Red Rock Books in Ridgecrest on Saturday, July 21, 2017. That one will be an ensemble show with actors playing the characters as you search the bookstore for clues and hidden scenes. And all it will cost is the purchase of a book. If your group or organization is interested in hosting or playing Famous Last Words, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on the MMP Facebook. More information about Sunny Side Up can be found at danielstallings.com.
THE SHEILA MONTGOMERY RADIO MYSTERIES
She’s bold and brassy. Sassy, yet classy. She’s feisty. She’s sharp. And she’s never afraid to speak her mind. In a blossoming era of journalism, Sheila Montgomery is a tart-tongued, truth-seeking columnist for Veritas magazine whose features on the world at home and abroad grab national attention. Navigating the 1930’s has gotten this determined dame into all sorts of adventures and encounters with the cream of crime. Dastardly doings, perilous pastimes, and murderous mysteries are all in a day’s work for Sheila. What happened to the vanishing newspaper mogul whose necktie is found folded up in the morning paper…and Sheila is the prime suspect? When an heiress is killed during a crowded party and her diamonds have disappeared, how did the thief get away with it? With her keen brain, sharp eyes, and always listening ears, Sheila Montgomery has the best chance to solve these complex and dangerous puzzles…if she plays wisely. After all, who know what will happen when you tune in next week? Echoing the excitement of the Golden Age of Radio and the mystery quiz shows like The Adventures of Ellery Queen, join Sheila as an “armchair detective” in one of her mysterious adventures during The Sheila Montgomery Radio Mysteries podcast!
The world premiere is on Saturday, July 7, 2018. The first season will contain ten episodes starring our sassy sleuth in a new perilous adventure each week. In our continuing mission to introduce, foster, and encourage the growth of local and new talent, the Sheila Montgomery Radio Mysteries will feature episodes written by guest writers making their MMP storytelling debut, including multi-award winning performer and columnist Monica Lorenz, Skeleton Key winner Leslie Blake, popular local novelist Chautona Havig, and many others. Each episode will also feature guest detectives who will appear on the show to cast their vote for whodunit before the solution is revealed. If you are interested in writing an episode, being a voice actor, or being a guest detective on the radio show, you are welcome to email us at email@example.com or message us on the MMP Facebook page!
WHAT HAPPENS AT SUNDOWN
“Daylight is rumored to be the most reassuring. It brings light, warmth, and life to the world. But as sure as anything could be in this universe, Earth will rotate, causing daylight to shrink and lingering shadows to grow and stretch to the distant horizon. When the sun sinks into slumber, that last fiery burst of light is our final glimpse of serenity before night and the horrors that wait within feed upon our tensions, our insecurities, and our fears. And sometimes…the hungry horrors rise from within our very souls. Take this scenario: Two actresses in the twilight of their careers will learn what happens at sundown when the golden light of glamour fades and the deepening darkness begins to ooze out on this very unique episode of Sundown…”
The opening narration leaves a chill running down your spine as you prepare to travel through time and space to the 1960’s and a television program telling tales of dread and terror called Sundown. But this is a unique episode. The actors and production team have traveled to the Mojave Desert to film on location a story about two sisters, both actresses of a bygone era, whose antagonism escalates beyond control in their isolated surroundings. But when a cameraman is murdered on set, fantasy becomes reality in all-too frightening ways as evidence points to the two lead actresses, former studio darlings themselves. And the story they were going to tell seems to seep into their souls when the minds of the characters start to worm their way into their own. Inspired by 1960’s classics What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Twilight Zone, this original tale of twists, turns, secrets, scandals, murder, and malice will push sanity to the brink and challenge audiences to discover a truth stranger than fiction. What happens at sundown? Only the brave know for sure.
Returning to Ridge Writers’ Weird Weekend for a record fourth collaboration, What Happens at Sundown celebrates the stranger side of the Mojave Desert with a look at the Hollywood film history in the area. With a recent wrapping of the Westworld filming and the local lore about Planet of the Apes (Who wasn’t an extra in that?), Master Mystery Productions will return the Ridgecrest area to the backlot of a Hollywood production for the first time since our groundbreaking production Goodbye Hollywood in 2015. But things have changed for the silver screen goddesses as the rise of television threatens to uproot all that they know about their world. With odes to 1960’s classics, this show promises to be one of our favorite productions ever. What Happens at Sundown will perform Saturday, September 22, 2018 as the closing act of Weird Weekend 2018, presented by Ridge Writers. Auditions for the cast will be May 8th and 9th at Red Rock Books.
MUTINY ON THE SEA WITCH
What starts as a journey into a child’s boundless imagination soon transforms into a swashbuckling sea voyage of mystery, mutiny, and buried treasure. Precocious and creative Suzie Stein gathers her friends together for a game of pirates that whisks all of us to the shores of Charleston, South Carolina in the 1700’s. Suzie tells a tale of her ancestor, the fearsome female pirate captain Cutlass Kate, the saber-swishing scourge of the Colonies and the Caribbean. But it’s not all sword fights and talking parrots in this yarn. When an act of mercy leads to an accusation of cowardice from an unknown source, a mutiny threatens Kate’s control of her ship. Just as she was about to undertake the greatest coup of her seafaring career: the hunt for The Loot of a Thousand Ports. As rivals on sea, on land, and on her own ship breathe down her neck, Kate must discover the instigator of the mutiny, secure her captaincy, and find this legendary treasure…or else it’s a one-way trip to Davy Jones’ locker.
Mutiny on the Sea Witch is planned to be the final show of the 2018 season. It will be our first collaboration with the Ridgecrest Community Theater Troupe (RCTT) and will be presented in a more classical play style. In the spirit of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, we’re creating a more fanciful, family-friendly adventure for our closing show of the season complete with peg legs and parrots and more. Mutiny on the Sea Witch is scheduled for early November 2018. Auditions for the cast of pirates is planned for August.
There are lots more surprises in store during the 2018 season that we are keeping secret just for now. After all, it can’t be a mystery without a few secrets. 2018 is allowing our talent to grow even more as we bring in and train new writers and directors. More and more people are joining the Master Mystery Productions family, and we are proud to welcome them all. If you would like to be a part of our growing MMP family, don’t be shy. Everyone is welcome at Master Mystery Productions. We hope to see you at our 2018 shows!
Read, set, SOLVE!
–Master Mystery Productions