Just Who is Who?: The Making of Who’s Who? (Part 2)

Who is who in our crazy little production? Well, we’re saving some of those secrets for the show itself but, one thing is certain, these characters are unforgettable. Red Ridinghoods of Wall Street. Wolves with Hello Kitty stickers. A Cruciverbalist of the Opera. The cast of Who’s Who? went all out to make their characterizations as deep and nuanced as they could while still maintaining a lightness and off-the-cuff energy. We wanted them to do two things: think big and think cartoon. But don’t take our word for it. Let’s have our larger-than-life cast of Who’s Who? hooligans tell you all about their views and process to create these characters.

JUST WHO IS WHO?: THE MAKING OF WHO’S WHO? (PART 2)

Bernard St. Bernard is a fast-talking, sharp-eyed businessman who is hovering like a vulture over Aunt Honeypot’s interests and holdings in her grandmother’s lucrative candy company, Honeypot Sweets. At least, that’s what people assume since he talks so fast and slick that no one knows really what he’s saying. Until their signature is already on the bottom line. But now he might have bitten off more than he can chew. Calvin Johnson is an acclaimed voice and stage actor who has won the Diamond Mask Award for Excellence in Performance a record-breaking four times for Henri in Eat Cake, Rusty Clementine in Foul Play, Dr. John Forsythe in Woman in the Walls, and Basil Bremerton in Mum’s the Word respectively, the Skeleton Key Award for Ex Luna, and the Carol Venturi Volunteer of the Year Award for the Community Light Opera and Theatre Association’s 2020 season. He has also been a featured guest voice artist on our YouTube paranormal mystery series, Regions Beyond. Here are Calvin’s thoughts about Mr. Bonehead…I mean, Mr. St. Bernard:

“Bernard St. Bernard can best be described as ambitious to a fault. He wants nothing more than to elevate his status in wealth and society (though mostly in wealth), and will do just about anything to achieve his goals. The problem is, he doesn’t usually think things all the way through, often relying on his charm to get him out of trouble, or for those around him to take the rap if charm isn’t enough (to varying degrees of success). Upon hearing that Gladys Honeypot, one of the richest people in the world, is hosting a grand party, Bernard just can’t help himself, and will do all he can to get his hands on her shares, no matter how much red tape, or sticky taffy he’ll have to chew his way through to get them!”

Mercedes Van Chrysler is Bernard St. Bernard’s “loyal” and “efficient” assistant who is usually found vigorously taking notes in her notepad, mysterious notes that don’t seem to follow any form of shorthand. An obsessed word puzzle fan, it seems like Mercedes is more interested in crosswords and anagrams than in business negotiations. And her employer doesn’t seem to mind all that much. Olivia Holm is a recently inducted member of the Master Mystery Productions Hall of Fame, an acclaimed makeup artist, and a two-time Diamond Mask Award winning performer for Honey Boudin in Close Encounters of the Hairy Kind and Eliza in Woman in the Walls. She won the Skeleton Key Award for her work on What Happens at Sundown, where her SFX makeup earned rave reviews, and was responsible for designing the legendary statue makeup in Lenore Nevermore. Additional credits include Regions Beyond, Hamlet, The Laramie Project, Trojan Women, You Can’t Take It With You, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. Olivia shares her views on Mercedes and how she brought this character to life:

“Mercedes is one of my favorite characters that I have ever played. She is a quick witted and hilarious character that never misses a beat. In the process of creating her I tried to find specific songs that would tell her story and would match that humor and wit. I actually found her “theme song” of sorts, “Aurora Borealis” by Lemon Demon, on accident while listening to a random playlist on YouTube. I ended up loving it so much that I listened to it on repeat and integrated it into my characterization of Mercedes. It’s got that funky beat mixed with flowing lyrics that perfectly matches the overall vibe of Mercedes. The more that I think about it, I actually have a lot of Lemon Demon songs in my “Mercedes/ Who’s Who Playlist”- “The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny” and “Bill Waterson” to name a few. Simply because of how silly and fun the songs are which perfectly matches the tone of this awesome show. The best part of this show in my opinion, aside from the fun costumes and makeup, is the fact that I get to work alongside an actor that I have long since looked up to and admired. That person being Calvin Johnson. Despite how long we’ve been doing MMP shows, we have never acted across from each other, which I find totally bizarre, but I am excited nonetheless. I can’t wait to bring Mercedes Van Chrysler and her crazy adventure to the stage!”

Evelynne Mattfeldt serves as Mercedes’ understudy and here are her thoughts on the character:

“I see Mercedes as almost cat-like in her personality and overall actions. Mercedes is seen both as strong and sassy. If I had to compare her to any character, it would be Louise Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. Both Mercedes and Louise are independent and don’t take sass from anyone else. Mercedes is annoying, but in an entertaining way for the audience. She likes to spend her time annoying her family and shopping at Claire’s. Overall, I think she is a fun character, and I am over the moon to be understanding her.”

Georgia and Georgina Georgson are two of a set of fraternal triplets—their brother, George, unable to attend for a variety of outlandish reasons—these silly sisters and good-time gals who even mix themselves up are on a whirlwind trip across the country to see all the sights and whose relationship to Aunt Honeypot seems as confused as their itinerary. They even seem unable to agree on why they are at the party in the first place. Certainly has nothing to do with the treasure they’ve heard so much about. Certainly not. Beth Sparks-Jacques, playing the commanding Georgia Georgson, debuted in 2018 in our murder mystery opera, Exit Prima Donna, as a Chorus member, winning the Skeleton Key Award for her exemplary work on the show. Since then she has performed in shows such as The 39 Steps, Newsies, Lenore Nevermore, Woman in the Walls, our digital series, Regions Beyond, and Mum’s the Word. She won both the Founder’s Award from Master Mystery Productions and the Firecracker Award from CLOTA for the 2020 season. Here’s her take on the runaway parade float that is Georgia:

“Georgia Georgson is a force of nature. A hurricane with a side of tornado. She is first and foremost out for herself. Other people and things are beneath her notice unless they are of use to her. An absolute narcissist and as greedy as they come. At her core, underneath her hard lacquered exoskeleton lurks a seed of doubt. Is she as good as she thinks she is? Unable to face this she covers up with even more bravado and spurious joviality. Don’t feel sorry for her though, she would as soon stab you in the back as to deal fairly with you.”

Janis Kunz, playing Georgina Georgson, is a multiple award-winning Master Mystery Productions’ Hall of Fame Artist who has won the Skeleton Key Award for Service Above and Beyond for Eat Cake, two Diamond Masks for Polly the Parrot in Mutiny on the Sea Witch and Captain Wallis in Close Encounters of the Hairy Kind, and the Founder’s Award from MMP for 2019. She also stars as Emma Emerson, the lead in Regions Beyond, MMP’s paranormal found footage radio mysteries on YouTube. Additional accolades include the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Award from Ridgecrest Community Theatre Troupe for Mutiny on the Sea Witch. Janis gives us her interpretation on the less…melodramatic Georgina:

“I was drawn to Who Who’s because it is a comedy full of wit and physical humor, including the character of Georgina. I look forward to playing the physical side as I haven’t gotten to do a lot of that but I’ve always enjoyed watching it onstage. Something else that’s fun is the characters have their costume party persona and who they really are behind it that gets revealed along the way. It’s been fun to build up who Georgina is in either instance and her backstory. She loves to go to fancy functions, which Georgia is good at getting them into, even ones they aren’t invited to. She enjoys vacationing in Paris and money, jewels, and glitter are things she can’t live without. She reads a lot of novels and her two favorite authors are Michael Crichton and Jane Austen. She likes to watch heist and crime movies. She started three different degrees but never finished any of them. She is divorced from a marriage that she got into really young but has no children. She listens to gossip but only repeats what’s true, of course. One of her pet peeves is seeing rich people waste their money when there’s such better places it could go. Like her, for instance.”

Libby Mitchell understudies as the gentler Georgina, and here is her take on the character:

“Georgina is nicer, more sarcastic shadow of her sister. She enjoys watching heist movies and fantasizing about a better life after her sister gives her a taste of that life with fancy outfits and jewelry. After her sister begins to behave more unpredictable than she expects she wonders how she got dragged into this. I enjoy bringing her to life…while making fun of her sister.”

Messrs. Bubble and Squeak are two seemingly stodgy, stiff-upper-lip British solicitors with the uncanny habit of completing each other’s sentences who seemingly represent the dentistry school Aunt Honeypot is leaving her money to. But something isn’t quite tea-and-crumpets about this strange duo. Maybe it’s the fact they don’t know what a solicitor does. Martin joins us for his first Master Mystery Production as Mr. Bubble in Who’s Who?, but has been seen onstage in the past as Don Issachar in Candide, Thing 2 in Seussical, Tom Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and an Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka. He has been a judge for the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California’s acting festival and has worked as crew on several short films. Martin shares his view on what makes Mr. Bubble pop onstage:

“Mr. Bubble is an English lawyer that lets nothing get in the way of serving his client, but he tries to keep a sense of sophistication in his encounters. Being British he sees his visit to The United States as rustic and uncivilized, like traveling to the Old West. His only solace is that he has his partner, Ms. Squeak on his side. Their sibling-like relationship allows them to act, speak, and move almost as if they are the same person, even finishing each other’s sentences. As the team of Bubble and Squeak they will try to keep a calm, cool, collected attitude in this topsy-turvy world.”

Leslie Blake, playing Ms. Squeak, is an accomplished Master Mystery Productions veteran who made her stage and MMP debut in the sold-out performance of Anonymous in August 2017 with her hard work and dedication recognized with the Skeleton Key Award. In September 2018, she won the Diamond Mask Award for Excellence in Performance for her standout role as damaged movie star Kim Hyatt in What Happens at Sundown. In 2019, she performed as Heather Violette in Foul Play. Additional credits include The Silent City, Eat Cake, Lenore Nevermore, and Woman in the Walls. Leslie provides her views on the sly, sarcastic Squeak:

“Squeak is a rather intelligent woman. She works closely with her partner, Bubble. Proper, yet finds her ways to be sarcastic and humorous. She tends to go with the flow but can carry quite the verbal bite. She’s got big dreams. The biggest question for her is will her long suffering patience be enough?”

Ms. Meddler is a quiet, background character with a pleasant face and pleasant attitude, who just seems to always be in the right place and the right time to hear something absolutely awkward. With this perfect timing, it’s no wonder they seem to know everything about the guests at this party, even things the guests would rather keep hidden. Perhaps the most dangerous player in this wacky game. Allison Mitchell is a newcomer at Master Mystery Productions, making her theatrical debut in Who’s Who? as Ms. Meddler. Outside of MMP, Allison performs in orchestra, with the Immanuel Kids Chorus, Calvary VBS Drama, and in improv at homeschool conferences. Here is what Allison had to say about the mysterious Ms. Meddler:

“Ms. Meddler is quite the book nerd and I am sure that she has dressed as many of her favorite characters before. I think this is the most interesting time that she has since there’s a lot of stuff happening. She’s unique because she’s only one that doesn’t have that one special person to have the majority of her arguments with and she is somewhat mysterious. Playing her has been quite a fun experience and I’ve working with a lot of different and interesting people.”

These are the people, but how did we decide, out of the thousands of costumes anyone can wear, the actual final looks for each character? Find out how we selected our costumes and the details we added that make MMP costumes famous in Come-as-You’re-NOT: The Making of Who’s Who? (Part 3)!

Can’t wait to see you at the show! Tickets are on sale now at Red Rock Books!

–Master Mystery Productions

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