THE LILAC PLAYERS PROUDLY PRESENT...

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: A musical by Rupert Holmes

Director's Note

My first introduction to The Mystery of Edwin Drood was ten years ago, when I played Bazzard in a college production. At the time, I fell in love with the show's lively score and glorious melodrama. Now here I am, a decade later, putting it on with my very own theater company! 

 

Shortly after The Lilac Players were formed, a beloved theater group that I and many other Lilac members were a part of was disbanded. That group, the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players, had selected The Mystery of Edwin Drood as their summer production. That show never came to fruition, but The Lilac Players decided that we would take up that mantle and make Drood our first fully staged production. 

 

The more I re-explored Drood, the more perfect it seemed for The Lilac Players. With its choose-your-own-ending format, it has been easy to incorporate queer pairings and gender play. It is set in a small music hall, and is a show-within-a show in which the company has been working hard with little money but a lot of heart to get themselves to opening night. The world of the music hall fits in with our mission to promote visibility of LGBTQIA+ persons, since cross-casting and exploring gender was always a part of music hall and vaudeville culture. Producing Drood is not only an homage to the Gilbert & Sullivan Players, but the perfect introduction to what will hopefully be many years of Lilac Players shows. 

 

The Mystery of Edwin Drood also raised discussions of a few timely issues. The sexual harassment Rosa suffers at Jasper's hands is a struggle to watch at times, and the script makes you feel as uncomfortable as it should. The Landless twins, however, are not as gracefully handled in the original script. While they were English missionaries in Charles Dickens' novel, in Drood they are presented as foreign stereotypes due to the music hall's misinterpretation of the source material. I felt that in today's world, that portrayal read as tone-deaf and offensive. We decided to rely more on Dickens' book for the twins while highlighting the fact that the town still treats the Landlesses as others, just as they themselves treated the residents of Ceylon. Helena and Neville in our show have appropriated the culture of Ceylon, working it into their clothing and patterns of speech. In our Drood, neither the Landlesses nor the townspeople are blameless. 

 

All in all, directing The Mystery of Edwin Drood has been a tremendously positive experience. I could write pages and pages about all the talented people who helped bring this show together, and I hope that I will have opportunities to work with all of them again. I love every member of the cast, crew, and orchestra and deeply appreciate all the hard work they put in. 

 

For the sake of time, I'd just like to thank two people here. First: Meghan Jolliffe, our vocal director and one of my close friends. The skill and care she put into this project inspired me, and it shows in the beautiful singing you're about to hear. She has moved across the country for grad school and couldn't see the final result, but she still made sure to pour her heart and soul into this show. And second: Anna-Constantia Richardson, the co-founder of The Lilac Players. Without her, this group truly would not exist, and this show never would have made it to the stage. As set designer, de facto technical director, partial producer, poster designer, and a lead actress, she has worn her many hats with endless grace. I hope I never stop making theater with either one of them. 

 

Many thanks to all of you who came out to see The Lilac Players' first fully staged production. I can't wait to share this life-changing experience you beautiful people, and hope to see you all soon at future shows! 

 

- Emma Brown, Director and President of The Lilac Players

Cast

Elyssa Bjorkman

Alice Nutting / Edwin Drood / Dick Datchery

Tyler Crosby

Chairman of the Board / Mayor Thomas Sapsea

Anna-Constantia Richardson

Clive Paget / John Jasper

Elizabeth "Liz" Clutts

Deirdre Peregrine / Rosa Bud

Amelia Smith

Angela Prysock / Princess Puffer

Hubert Hwang

Cedric Moncrieffe / Reverend Crisparkle

Kelvyn Koning

Janet Conover / Helena Landless

Zoe Sheinkopf

Victor Grinstead / Neville Landless

Lauren Campbell

Phillip Bax / Bazzard

Émile Lewis

Nick Cricker, Sr. / Durdles

Kimberly Dauber

Nick Cricker, Jr. / Deputy

Andrea Humez

Ensemble

Deborah Gaz

Ensemble

J. C. Pankratz

Ensemble

John Hanley

Ensemble

Kris Kim

Ensemble

Laura Gould

Ensemble

Laura Honeywood

Ensemble

Lorraine Fryer

Ensemble

Steph Wooler

Ensemble

Theresa Griffin

Ensemble

Crew

Emma Brown

Director, Producer

Wyn Brown

Stage Manager, Producer

Meghan Jolliffe

Vocal Director, Producer

Tyler Crosby

Ombudsman, Producer

Anna-Constantia Richardson

Set Designer, Producer

E. Rosser

Costume Designer

Luis Orrego

Lighting Designer

Julie Richardson

Sound Designer

Alex Schaffner

Props Designer, Publicity Director

Lindsey Wang

Rehearsal Pianist

Tim Ayers-Kerr

Dialect Coach / Assistant Vocal Director

Sue Swalley

Rehearsal Pianist

Orchestra

Colton Carter

Orchestra Director

Sue Swalley

Piano

Sasha Barish

Clarinet

Mikaela Ritchie

Trumpet

Hugh Barrigan

Trumpet

Mike Jacobs

Bass Clarinet

Robert Morrison

Bass

Anthony Defalco

Percussion

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Cast

Elyssa Bjorkman

Alice Nutting / Edwin Drood / Dick Datchery

Elyssa Bjorkman (Edwin Drood/Alice Nutting) is ecstatic to be participating in The Lilac Players debut musical! Elyssa received her degree in Theatre and Voice from Salem State University. Throughout her career, Elyssa has been in numerous productions including Kiss Me Kate (Fred Graham/Petruchio), The Pirates of Penzance (The Pirate Queen), The Mikado (Pitti Sing), Twelfth Night (Feste), HMS Pinafore (Cousin Hebe), and Into The Woods (Rapunzel) to name a few. She would, of course, love to thank her friends, family, and husband for their love and support, as well as the wonderful cast whose friendships make it all worth it. Elyssa would also like to dedicate her performances to her loved ones who have passed.

Tyler Crosby

Chairman of the Board / Mayor Thomas Sapsea

Anna-Constantia Richardson

Clive Paget / John Jasper

Anna-Constantia Richardson (Clive Paget/John Jasper, Producer, Set Designer, Publicity Designer) is thrilled to be a part of the Lilac Players’ first full production, with so many talented and lovely people. Past theatrical highlights include Buttercup, HMS Pinnafore; Ruth, Pirates of Penzance; John Adams, 1776 (MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players); Sonny, Grease (MIT Musical Theater Guild); Frederick, Pirates of Penzance (Smith College); Leading Player, Pippin; Dr. Parker, Bat Boy: The Musical (Duct Tape Productions, née Leading Ladies). She has also directed, TD’d, set-designed, costume-designed, etc offstage with MITG&SP (RIP), MTG, DTP, and the AFD. She is Vice President of The Lilac Players, as well as a co-founder with Emma Brown. Toi toi toi!

Elizabeth "Liz" Clutts

Deirdre Peregrine / Rosa Bud

Amelia Smith

Angela Prysock / Princess Puffer

Amelia Smith (Angela Prysock/Princess Puffer) has had so much fun with this preposterous role. She’s grateful to the incredibly welcoming and supportive company and to her family for coming all this way to see the show. God love you, I’m sure!

Hubert Hwang

Cedric Moncrieffe / Reverend Crisparkle

Hubert Hwang (Reverend Crisparkle) has certainly killed people on stage before, and has frequently been killed as well, but has never before been in such a superposition of quantum murder states. Curious.

Kelvyn Koning

Janet Conover / Helena Landless

Kelvyn Koning specializes in composing for choir and theatre and in performing as a countertenor and pianist. He recently completed his Master of Music in Composition from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and has been commissioned to write pieces for Zeeland High School, Batesville High School, and the Da Camera Singers. He is currently the Director of Music at First Baptist Church of Melrose and sings soprano with The Oriana Consort and Boston Quorum, where he also serves as interim director and accompanist. Kelvyn is a founding member of the Nightingale vocal ensemble and also accompanies voice lessons and directs musical theater at the Boston Conservatory. "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" is the first musical he has acted in since high school and he is thrilled to be cast as Helena Landless and fulfill his dreams of pursuing acting professionally.

Zoe Sheinkopf

Victor Grinstead / Neville Landless

Zoe Sheinkopf has been hoping for a chance to be in DROOD since 2009. It’s now been a full two years since her last time onstage, and she’s so happy to be doing theater again, as a grownup person, and especially with this wonderful cast and prod staff. It’s truly been a treat to work with a group of people so professional and yet so chill.

Lauren Campbell

Phillip Bax / Bazzard

Émile Lewis

Nick Cricker, Sr. / Durdles

Émile Lewis is a noted wastrel, professional foreigner, and impoverished rake who has spent over two decades trying his best. A born-again theatre kid, he has performed sketch comedy at Improv Boston and standup at whatever venues still allow him access to a mic since The Incident. His first musical performance was playing Sir Joseph Porter, KCB in the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players’ Spring 2018 production of HMS Pinafore. He is currently developing a comedy webseries entitled ‘Not Even’ with his friend Kristen Hale, and ultimately aspires to become a voice actor... if he can ever put together a demo reel. His parents are very proud of him. He has performed at two of the Lilac Players’ fundraiser shows, and was delighted to take part in their first full play. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram as @EmilePleaseStop.

Kimberly Dauber

Nick Cricker, Jr. / Deputy

Kim Dauber is happy to be onstage again! She lives for community theater and original content. She will gladly recommend a podcast for you to listen to, should you require one.

Andrea Humez

Ensemble

Andrea Humez was last seen on stage in the Lilac Players' Scared Queer: Get Out The Vote cabaret, and in Kiss Me, Kate with the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players. Favorite roles include Margaret Fuller in The Margaret Ghost(Theatre@First) and Mme. Armfeldt in A Little Night Music (MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players). She can more often be found behind the scenes as a director, most recently taking the helm of Theatre@First's 2019 productions of Burningand What They Think We Are.

Deborah Gaz

Ensemble

Deborah Gaz is so happy to be a part of the Lilac Players' production of the Mystery of Edwin Drood playing the role of Jenny/James Throttle. Previously she performed with the former MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players, participating as a chorus member for almost all of the G&S canon. She also appeared as Charles Thomson in the MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players' production of 1776. Professionally, Deborah is a software engineer.

J. C. Pankratz

Ensemble

J.C. is a writer and educator currently working in reproductive rights. They proudly sing bass with Quorum, podcast at The Immortals, and write plays that you can find at the New Play Exchange.

John Hanley

Ensemble

John Hanley is very excited to perform with this amazing group. He has previously performed with MIT G&SP in Kiss Me Kate (Lucentio/Bill Calhoun), The Flowers of Progress, The Peer and the Peri, The Town of Titipu, The Merryman and His Maid, The Slave of Duty, Bunthorne's Bride and The Sorcerer. He would like to thank his friends, family, and wife Elyssa for being totally awesome! Enjoy the show.

Kris Kim

Ensemble

Kris Kim (Ensemble/Harry Sayle) is excited to be in one of their favorite musicals ever and over the moon to be a part of the Lilac Player's first musical. He's had a blast dancing and singing with the cast and crew and can't wait for the next show! She would also like to remind you not to fall back on your assumptions when voting - hasty presumptions may very well do you in... for an evening of surprises!

Laura Gould

Ensemble

A musical theatre lover for many years, Laura is so excited to be joining the cast of the Lilac Players to act in her very first musical! She has been singing for the past several years in Voices Rising, a Boston-area women's chorus, as well as taking voice lessons and acting classes; additionally, she volunteers at Girls' Rock Campaign Boston, an organization that aims to instill self-confidence in youth through musical collaboration and expression. When she's not singing or acting, she teaches high school math and special education outside of Boston. Laura would like to thank her partner, her family and friends, and all of her teachers who have supported her to accomplish things she hadn't even thought possible.

Laura Honeywood

Ensemble

Honeywood is honored and humbled to escape from the circus (if only for a moment) and share the stage with the likes of Msr. Piaget (and everyone else). She believes in Compassion, Social Justice, and the power of Spec Fic. She also wants you to check out her bad @$$ social justice a cappella group if you: are nerdy and want to sing at protests/rallies/concerts/living rooms/etc; like awesome music; have a protest, rally, or event that could use beautiful, participatory, inspirational sangin'; are alive, undead, or otherwise capable of using the interwebs. https://www.trebleallianceboston.com/

Lorraine Fryer

Ensemble

Lorraine Fryer is intended for entertainment and/or informational purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical conditions.

Steph Wooler

Ensemble

Steph Wooler was convinced by her middle and high school experiences that she hated theatre and was not cut out for it. Twenty years later, in 2016, she retired from a cappella and needed a new musical outlet. Since then she has appeared in Yeoman of the Guard and Chess with the MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players, Spamalot with the MIT Musical Theatre Guild, and Le Comte Ory and Cosi Fan Tutt(I) with Lowell House Opera. She is delighted to be performing in Drood with a group that is not only talented but inclusive and supportive.

Theresa Griffin

Ensemble

Theresa is pleased to be appearing in the premier performance of the Lilac Players. Past performances include Debra (Animal Cursing), Miss Campbell (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Cabaret Performer (Turning Points and Revelations), Harry Trevor/Bapista Minola (Kiss me Kate), Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Elaine Harper (Arsenic and Old Lace), Belinda Blair/Flavia Brent (Noises Off), Hope Harcourt (Anything Goes), and Guenevere (Camelot). Offstage, Theresa is a Medical Writer and full time crazy cat lady. She would like to thank her friends and family for their support, the insanely talented cast of Drood for their hard work, the Lilac Players for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful production, and her husband, Matt, for his ongoing encouragement and love.

MIT's Musical Theater Guild presents: A Chorus Line

Crew

Emma Brown

Director, Producer

Wyn Brown

Stage Manager, Producer

This is Wyn’s second time being involved with Drood, and they’re excited to be taking a turn behind the scenes! They’ve been involved with every previous Lilac Players production, either MC-ing or reading their poetry, and they’re incredibly proud and delighted to be part of the first full-length musical. Wyn is also the Lilac Players treasurer.

Meghan Jolliffe

Vocal Director, Producer

Tyler Crosby

Ombudsman, Producer

Anna-Constantia Richardson

Set Designer, Producer

Anna-Constantia Richardson (Clive Paget/John Jasper, Producer, Set Designer, Publicity Designer) is thrilled to be a part of the Lilac Players’ first full production, with so many talented and lovely people. Past theatrical highlights include Buttercup, HMS Pinnafore; Ruth, Pirates of Penzance; John Adams, 1776 (MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players); Sonny, Grease (MIT Musical Theater Guild); Frederick, Pirates of Penzance (Smith College); Leading Player, Pippin; Dr. Parker, Bat Boy: The Musical (Duct Tape Productions, née Leading Ladies). She has also directed, TD’d, set-designed, costume-designed, etc offstage with MITG&SP (RIP), MTG, DTP, and the AFD. She is Vice President of The Lilac Players, as well as a co-founder with Emma Brown. Toi toi toi!

E. Rosser

Costume Designer

E. Rosser (Costume Designer) moonlights as a backstage ninja and a freelance designer in the Boston theater scene, saving daytime for mundane things like engineering and science writing. Among her favorite creations are 8-foot giraffe puppets, hospital gowns (think "evening," not "surgical"), rococo zombies, drag queen metamorphoses, and all flavors of gender-bending Victorians. See more of her work online at machinationsbyrosser.weebly.com/!

Luis Orrego

Lighting Designer

Julie Richardson

Sound Designer

Julie Richardson is thrilled to be involved with the inaugural production of The Lilac Players as the sound designer! She can typically be found behind the soundboard, a conductors baton, or a viola in the pit orchestra. Selected credits include "Sweeney Todd", "Spring Awakening" and "Hack, Punt, Tool" with the MIT Musical Theater Guild, "Utopia, Limited", "1776", and "Kiss Me Kate" with the MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players, and "9 to 5", "Violet", and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with the Arlington Friends of the Drama.

Alex Schaffner

Props Designer, Publicity Director

Alex is excited to be involved in the family business! They last touched a prop in 2011, producing a production of Two Noble Kinsmen that was not nearly as gay as it should have been.

Lindsey Wang

Rehearsal Pianist

Tim Ayers-Kerr

Dialect Coach / Assistant Vocal Director

Timothy Ayres-Kerr MM (dialect coach, deputy vocal director) is a voice teacher, singer, and composer. Though originally from Virginia, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music, earning degrees in vocal performance and pedagogy. While studying at the Conservatory he performed as a soloist in Opera, Oratorio, and discovered a particular love of English Operetta, often portraying lead tenor roles in the works of Gilbert & Sullivan—most notably Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance. Of a recent performance of his, the Boston Musical Intelligencer noted that "He sang with purity and conviction, enunciating perfectly, and acting without a touch of guile." Tim has been writing vocal music almost as long as he has been singing, working primarily on short comic operas and songs. A Game of Werewolf, his second completed work for the stage, earned him a place in One Ounce Opera’s fresh Squeezed Ounce of Opera showcase. You can see him in it this October! Tim’s scholarship and performance of the British Music Hall song “Alonzo the Brave” earned him grand prize in the Lester Levy “Save Our Songs,” competition. He continues to be an active performer and founded the The Parlour Opera Players to present short operas in non-traditional venues throughout Boston. Given his very British interests, he thrilled to working with the Lilac Players as a diction coach and deputy vocal director! for more fun stuff about Tim visit: www.timsingsthings.com.

Sue Swalley

Rehearsal Pianist

Sue Swalley enjoys playing the piano, when not acting as a chauffeur for her two children (both of whom rejected the piano and play other instruments). Previously, she has played with various MIT groups, including the Musical Theater Guild, the Gilbert & Sullivan Players and the Women's Chorus. In real life she leads a chemical biology group at Biogen.

Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club

Supported by the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club

For more information about our upcoming productions, visit www.hrdctheater.org

Orchestra

Colton Carter

Orchestra Director

Sue Swalley

Piano

Sasha Barish

Clarinet

Mikaela Ritchie

Trumpet

Hugh Barrigan

Trumpet

Mike Jacobs

Bass Clarinet

Robert Morrison

Bass

Anthony Defalco

Percussion

Anthony DeFalco is currently a freshman at Harvard University enrolled in a dual degree program with the Berklee College of Music, and is looking to pursue a BA in applied Physics and a masters in Music Composition and Production at the respective institutions. Anthony has played drum set and other instruments for several theatrical productions put on by his high school, including Guys and Dolls, Titanic the Musical, The Secret Garden, and has participated in various in school and extra-curricular music groups. Anthony is eager to play an electric drum kit for the first time during a performance, and aspires to continue participating in various musical and theatrical orchestras.

Special Thanks To:

The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts

 

Good Vibrations

 

Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club

 

Jennifer Jolliffe

 

The Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center

 

Lorraine Fitzmaurice

 

Margot Leonard

 

The MIT Musical Theater Guild

 

Renée Richardson

All of you! Our friends and supporters!

About the Lilac Players

The purpose of The Lilac Players is to foster theatrical opportunities for women and LGBTQIA+ members of the community by producing and promoting staged shows. We focus on showcasing new productions and re-framing existing works through nontraditional casting, or performing works which challenge outmoded norms, celebrate our diverse lifestyles, and entertain audiences throughout.

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The Lilac Players, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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