Happy New Year! 2020 is an important year for us. Five years ago, we started a journey into theatrical mysteries that proved every bit as thrilling, surprising, and rewarding as a great detective novel. Twenty-five shows later, we have traversed across time and space and have performed as starlets, gentry, superheroes, space explorers, Bigfoot hunters, revolutionaries, pirates, authors, opera stars, cowpokes, supermodels, board game meeples, flappers, and taunting birds. It seems like we have explored the entire world in each of our shows. But MMP has only just begun. For our fifth anniversary season, we are pulling out all the stops to create our most fantastical, magical, and mysterious season yet. Ghosts? Wonderland? An 80’s nightclub? Take a look and see what next season has in store!
WOMAN IN THE WALLS
Do you believe in ghosts? In the winter of 1930, four friends—Lucy, Eliza, Grace, and Arthur—have rented a rambling Victorian mansion for the holidays. The house is in need of updates and repairs and the caretaker is a bit of an odd duck, but the price was too good to pass up. But perhaps they should have. For no sooner have they entered the dusty and shrouded drawing room do they hear the tragic story of invalid Claire Forsythe, the Woman in the Walls. Claire’s anguished spirit seems to haunt the empty halls of the old house, filling the barren passages and cobwebbed corners with the notes of half-remembered lullabies, so these intrepid friends, along with their host who claims psychic powers, try their hand at a little table-tipping spiritualism to speak with the dearly departed. The lights go out, a scream pierces the dark, and one of their own lies dead from shock. Or is it something more? As the snow threatens to seal them inside this haunted mansion, strange and dangerous secrets about Claire’s life emerge, and it may not be long before another of the marooned party is spirited away to the afterlife. But could something…or someone more lively be behind these creepy closed doors? Inspired by Gothic classics such as “The Yellow Wallpaper,” step into our circle for a séance full of spirits, surprises, madness, and mystery. So do you believe in ghosts?
Woman in the Walls marks our fourth collaboration with the exquisitely painted Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley. With a reputation as a haunted hotel and opera house, it only seemed fitting that our first ghost story should premiere there. With its world premiere on MMP’s official birthday (March 21st) as well as the opening show of our fifth anniversary season, Woman in the Walls is a very special production for us. Blending a spine-chilling story with haunting lullaby music and a killer cast, this spirited production filled with magical costumes, makeup, and music will perform March 21, March 28, April 4, and April 11 at 2 p.m. at Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction, CA.
THE LAST GARDEN PARTY 2020 REVIVAL
England at the turn of the twentieth century was a period of peace, prosperity, and cloying politeness. In the year 1900, as Victoria’s record-shattering reign eased toward its end, young second wife of “the only wealthy peer left in England,” Phoebe Walliscroft, throws a garden party at their country estate to celebrate midsummer while her husband is abroad. But her party is not going according to plan. First, the village peerage doesn’t respect her since she’s “just an American.” Second, the festivities are dominated by Phoebe’s new and eccentric in-laws. Third, there’s a skeleton under the croquet set…just as they were about play a game! As her troublesome in-laws-turned-suspects trade witticisms, insults, and suspicions, Phoebe and the rest of her guests attempt to piece together this puzzling problem…before this garden party becomes their last. A revival of the 2016 classic, the new production will feature a revised script with new characters and a brand new solution to figure out!
The Last Garden Party, first performed in 2016, was selected by our fans as our Hindsight Is 2020 revival production, the first of its kind for Master Mystery Productions. The show was a big success and launched the acting careers of two of our most dedicated and brilliant performers. Multi-award-winning actress, writer, director, and MMP Hall of Fame Artist Monica Dwyer, fresh from her sold-out success of Close Encounters of the Hairy Kind in September 2019, will helm the revival production, directing a revised script featuring new characters and a new solution from writer Daniel Stallings. The production is scheduled for June 2020 with auditions in mid-March 2020.
MALICE IN WONDERLAND
After an excellent game of chess, Alice is to be promoted to queen as she has successfully maneuvered to the eighth rank on the Looking-Glass chessboard. A mad tea party has been prepared in her honor to celebrate her coronation. Or is it her trial? Accused of high treason for capturing the Red Queen and putting the Red King into checkmate, Alice must stand trial in a wacky courtroom filled with even wackier witnesses from her Wonderland days. With the audience as her jury, Alice must plead her innocence before the judge rules a sentence before the verdict. Is it off with her head, or will she go off her head? In a magical, storybook location where the clock is always at tea time, the rules are better read backwards, and the characters are more than a little mad, Malice in Wonderland will keep you on your toes and constantly guessing as accusations, confessions, and heads fly. With games to play and enchanted places to explore, by the end of the night, you just might believe six impossible things before breakfast.
Malice in Wonderland will be co-written by Daniel Stallings and longtime MMP performer and Hall of Fame Artist, Devanne Fredette and will be our fourth collaboration with Red Rock Books. Styled as a “storybook carnival,” the show will combine games, activities, and classic characters taken from the famous book to create a multi-layered event for families with members of all ages. You can paint the roses red, chase the White Rabbit, or get the testimony from the Cheshire Cat before he disappears. It will also be our second family friendly production after Mutiny on the Sea Witch in November 2018 that will allow actors from ages 9 and up to audition and act in the show. Co-writer Devanne Fredette will serve as the show’s director. Auditions for Malice in Wonderland will be in early May with performances in Late July and early August 2020.
On the American Frontier, a quilt did more than just keep you warm. They carried stories of hardship, happiness, and heartache in their stitches from mother to daughter across a growing nation. And for seven pioneer women trying to make their way in their new homesteads, it will become a diary to record the secrets they learn regarding a shocking murder in their budding frontier town. When the queen of their quilting bee is stung to death, her closest friends realize they each hold a piece of the patchwork of her hard life and the molten core of her marriage. Steps to the Altar? Broken Dishes? Baby Blocks? For these quilting sleuths, it will be a journey into a pioneer woman’s hidden heart to share her secret story. Set during a time when women were often left out of written history, a quilt will become a woman’s cry for help, a sisterhood’s last connection to a lost member, and the puzzle pieces to a mysterious murder. Can these seven sisters gather all the loose threads of their friend’s untimely death?
Patchwork will be our sixth collaboration with Ridge Writers for their Weird Weekend event, which will focus, this year, on unique and unusual forms of storytelling such as quilts, pictographs, and much more. Written and directed by Daniel Stallings, Patchwork will be the first to feature an all-female cast of characters, something he has wanted to do for a long time. Pieced together like a series of quilt blocks, the show will have each woman share their own personal patchwork of their friend’s story, filtered through their own experience as a pioneer woman. Patchwork will perform in late September 2020 with auditions for actors in late June 2020.
CLOSER TO HEAVEN
It’s 1987, and like a totally killer new nightclub has opened up in the City of Angels. Dawn Schuyler helms Closer to Heaven, a neon, new wave night spot staffed with her own specially-selected “angels” to be both the amped-up heart of L.A. nightlife and a safe haven for the women in her employ. But her heaven on Earth may not be so safe anymore. Left scarred by her encounter with the Half Moon Killer, a Los Angeles serial killer known for carving a waning crescent moon on his victims’ faces, Dawn knows her unlikely survival marks her as “the one who got away.” And the Half Moon Killer doesn’t like to leave projects unfinished. Undeterred by the threat and determined to protect her haven, Dawn hosts a “Moonlight Madness” glow-in-the-dark party to coax the killer out of hiding and end his reign of terror. Dawn is ready to face down a monster with a human face and be the ultimate final girl. But is she prepared for any of her angels to fall? It’ll be a neon night of radical risks, legit lunacies, and totally righteous revelations while guests try to find the murderous M.O. at Dawn’s “Moonlight Madness.” Will Dawn bow to the pressure? As if.
Closer to Heaven will be a totally killer 80’s-themed murder mystery party written and directed by Daniel Stallings. We want to throw a neon, glow-in-the-dark party with bright colors and glow sticks that will let you bring out your inner Madonna or Michael Jackson. While dancing during our “Moonlight Madness,” we also want to let mingling turn into a game mechanic where our guests can rub shoulders with suspects and sneak a few clever questions in. Closer to Heaven is planned for November 2020 with auditions for actors in August 2020.
Our fifth anniversary season is a special time for us to reflect on the brilliant performances of our past while pushing toward an even greater future. We’re continuing our mission of creating high-quality entertainment, empowering new and veteran voices in theatre, and bringing more amazing people into our growing family. There’s always room for more, so come join us this 2020 season for an unforgettable journey. Be it as an actor, a crew member, or a member of the audience, everyone is welcome at our shows and in our world. Come have fun with us this year!
Here’s to a fantastic season! Cheers!
–Master Mystery Productions