The Mystery of Edwin Drood

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This wildly warm-hearted theatrical experience kicks off when the Music Hall Royale (a hilariously loony Victorian musical troupe) “puts on” its flamboyant rendition of an unfinished Dickens mystery. The story itself deals with John Jasper, a Jekyll-and-Hyde choirmaster who is quite madly in love with his music student, the fair Miss Rosa Bud. Now, Miss Bud is, in turn, engaged to Jasper’s nephew, young Edwin Drood. Our title character disappears mysteriously one stormy Christmas Eve-but has Edwin Drood been murdered? And if so, then whodunnit? Musical numbers include The Wage of Sin, Perfect Strangers, Both Sides of the Coin, Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead and Moonfall. The giddy playfulness of this play-within-a-play draws the audience toward one of the play’s most talked-about features, which allows the audience to vote on the solution as prelude to the most unusual and hilarious finale!

Music samples provided courtesy of Universal Music and Holmes Line of Music.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • Act One opens as the members of the Music Hall Royale circulate among the audience, introducing themselves to the patrons, the Chairman of the proceedings bursts forth with the show’s opening number There You Are. They then introduce John Jasper, the “Jekyll and Hyde” choirmaster who greets his young nephew Edwin Drood. Drood is engaged to the fair Miss Rosa Bud, who is Jasper’s music pupil and the object of his mad obsession-Moonfall. The kindly Reverend Crisparkle and two exotic emigrants from Ceylon, Helena and Neville Landless, arrive. Neville is immediately attracted to Rosa, which makes him a rival to both Edwin and the secretive Jasper.
    Next we travel to London and the sinister opium den of the Princess Puffer who clowns with the audience, and explains her life in the hilarious and entertaining Wages of Sin. A sinewy ballet dance follows. We discover that one of Puffer’s regular clients is none other than Jasper himself, who cries out the name “Rosa Bud” during a hallucination. Puffer shows great interest in this fact, and stores it away in her memory.
    Back in Cloisterham, Neville and Drood meet and come to odds with each other almost immediately. Mayor Sapsea sings of this in the patter song Both Sides of the Coin. We are then introduced to the drunken stone mason Durdles, and his assistant Deputy. In the graveyard, they tell us that Edwin and Rosa have called off their engagement-Perfect Strangers.
    It is Christmas Eve and Jasper has arranged a ‘reconciliating’ dinner for the Landless twins, Crisparkle, Rosa and Drood-No Good Can Come from Bad. Jasper serves a particularly potent wine to his guests. Soon, the party disbands and the guests depart into a violent storm.
    The next day Drood has vanished. Crisparkle’s assistant discovers Edwin’s torn coat by the river. Drood was last seen walking there with Neville the night before. The cast summarizes the situation and launches into the rousing Off to the Races.
    Act Two begins six months later, and still there is no sign of Drood. There is much speculation as to his fate. Two sleuths arrive from out of town. One is Princess Puffer, and the other is a detective-in-disguise named Dick Datchery-A Private Investigation. One by one the characters reenter and build to the rousing kick-line number Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead. The company seems about to reveal the solution to the mystery when…the number and the play stop abruptly. The Chairman reveals that here is where Charles Dickens laid down his pen forever!
    The play is now thrown open to the audience while the Chairman and Company review the various suspects’ motives and plot possibilities. In a series of unique voting events, amid much cheering (and booing and hissing of the villains), the audience determines the conclusion of the show.

  • A Musical by Rupert Holmes

    Original Broadway production produced by The New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, Producer

  • Full Orchestration (Strings Optional):

    3 Violins (six players)
    2 Cello (three players)
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute & Clarinet
    1 Reed II: Oboe, English Horn & Clarinet
    1 Reed III: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Bass Clarinet
    1 Reed IV: Bassoon

    1 Horn I
    1 Horn II
    1 Trumpet I (Bb Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet & Flugelhorn)
    1 Trumpet II (Bb Trumpet & Flugelhorn)
    1 Trombone I (Tenor Trombone)
    1 Trombone II (Bass Trombone & Tuba)

    1 Keyboard I (Piano)
    1 Keyboard II (Synthesizer)

    1 Drums: (Trap Set):

    Snare Drum
    Bass Drum
    Tom Tom(s)
    Roto Toms
    Floor Tom Tom
    Triangle
    Wood Block
    Cow Bell
    Sleigh Bells
    Metal Pipe
    Police Whistle
    Wind Chime
    Gong
    Cymbals:
    Piatti (a2)
    Hi – Hat
    Suspended (Played with Scraper, Sticks, Mallets, Box)
    “Ting,” “Ride,”
    “Choke” & “Crash”
    Chimes (Same instrument used by Mallet Player)
    Timpani (Same instrument used by Mallet Player)

    1 Percussion (Mallet instruments)

    Timpani (2 ped drs)
    Bells
    Xylophone
    Chimes
    Concert Snare Drum
    Concert Bass Drum
    Slap Stick
    Vibraslap
    Lead Pipe
    Ratchet
    Sandpaper Blocks
    Castanets (on Blk)
    Sleigh Bells
    Wind Machine
    Money Shaker
    Gong
    Bell Tree
    Triangle
    Cymbals:
    Piatti (a2)
    Suspended,
    “Crash”
    Finger

    Piano-Conductor’s Score (2 volumes) sent with rehearsal material.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score (Two Volume Set)
    1       Prompt Book
    24     Prompt Books for Dialogue Parts
    33     Chorus-Vocal Parts

    Optional Additional Materials

    4       Optional Additional Numbers:
    “A Man Could Go Quite Mad”
    “Quartet Reprise: Moonfall”
    “Ceylon”
    “Setting Up The Score”

  • Principals

    (4 female; 7 male)

    Mr. William Cartwright — Chairman of the Music Hall Royale; doubles as Mayor Thomas Sapsea
    John Jasper — doubles as Mr. Clive Paget
    Neville Landless — doubles as Mr. Victor Grinstead
    Reverend Chrisparkle — doubles as Mr. Cedric Moncrieffe
    Bazzard — doubles as Mr. Phillip Bax and as Waiter
    Durdles — doubles as Mr.Nick Cricker
    Deputy — doubles as Master Nick Cricker
    Rosa Bud — doubles as Miss Deirdre Peregrine
    Edwin Drood — doubles as Miss Alice Nutting
    Helena Landless — doubles as Miss Janet Conover
    Princess Puffer — doubles as Miss Angela Prysock

    Supporting

    Wendy — non-speaking; doubles as Miss Isabel Yearsley
    Beatrice — non-speaking; doubles as Miss Florence Gill
    Flo — doubles as Miss Florence Gill
    Shade of Drood — dancer; doubles as Mr. Harry Sayle
    Shade of Jasper — dancer; doubles as Mr. Montague Pruitt
    Clients of Puffer — dancers; double as Mr.Alan Eliot and Mr. Christopher Lyon
    Succubae — dancers; double as Gwendolen Pynn, Sarah Cook, Florence Gill and Isabel Yearsley
    Satyr — dancer; doubles as Master Nick Cricker
    Waiter — doubles as Mr. Phillip Bax
    Maids — non-speaking; double as Miss Violet Balfour and Miss Gwendolen Pynn
    Horace — doubles as Mr. Nicholas Michael
    Bazzard — doubles as Mr. Phillip Bax
    Dick Datchery — ????????

    Ensemble

    Citizens of Cloisterham:
    Miss Violet Balfour
    Mr. Phillip Bax
    Miss Sarah Cook
    Mr. Alan Eliot
    Miss Florence Gill
    Mr. Christopher Lyon
    Mr. Medford Moss
    Mr. Nicholas Michael
    Mr. Montague Pruitt
    Miss Gwendolen Pynn
    Mr. Harry Sayle
    Mr. James Throttle
    Miss Isabel Yearsley

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 23 performers, including chorus. Doubling was employed as indicated above.

  • After its inception as part of the New York Shakespeare Festival, headed by Joseph Papp of the Public Theatre, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD moved to Broadway and played for a total of 608 performances at the Imperial Theatre starring Betty Buckley, Cleo Laine and George Rose. It was mounted in London’s West End. THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD was revived on Broadway in 2012, when it played for 136 performances at Studio 54 starring Chita Rivera, Will Chase, Gregg Edelman and Jim Norton, and with Stephanie J. Block in the title role.

    Awards (1986)

    5 Tony Awards for Musical, Book, Score, Director and Actor
    8 Drama Desk Awards for Musical, Music, Book, Orchestration, Director, Costume Design, Actor and Featured Actress
    5 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Broadway Musical, Choreography, Costume Design, Set Design and Lighting Design

    Awards (2013)

    The Drama Desk Award for Sound Design

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

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    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Actors Co-op Theatre Company HOLLYWOOD, CA 09/19/2014 10/26/2014
    Stolen Shakespeare Guild IRVING, TX 10/17/2014 11/02/2014
    Red Deer College RED DEER, AB 10/19/2014 10/29/2014
    Villanova University VILLANOVA, PA 10/21/2014 10/25/2014
    Concordia University ST. PAUL, MN 10/23/2014 10/26/2014
    Elon University ELON, NC 10/23/2014 11/01/2014
    Lakeshore Players Inc. WHITE BEAR LAKE, MN 10/23/2014 11/16/2014
    George Mason University FAIRFAX, VA 10/24/2014 11/01/2014
    County of Porter VALPARAISO, IN 10/30/2014 11/16/2014
    Cutting Edge Productions HAZLETON, PA 10/31/2014 11/16/2014
    Pleasant Valley High School BETTENDORF, IA 11/04/2014 11/08/2014
    University of Mississippi UNIVERSITY, MS 11/13/2014 11/15/2014
    Walton High School MARIETTA, GA 11/13/2014 11/15/2014
    Concord Academy CONCORD, MA 11/14/2014 11/15/2014
    New Mexico State University LAS CRUCES, NM 11/20/2014 12/07/2014
    The Highwood Theatre SILVER SPRING, MD 11/21/2014 11/23/2014
    Downtown Players LAMBERTVILLE, NJ 12/20/2014 12/20/2014
    Blair Academy BLAIRSTOWN, NJ 02/12/2015 02/14/2015
    The Playhouse San Antonio SAN ANTONIO, TX 02/13/2015 03/15/2015
    The Potomac School MCLEAN, VA 02/20/2015 02/21/2015
    University of West Florida PENSACOLA, FL 02/20/2015 03/01/2015
    University School of Milwaukee MILWAUKEE, WI 02/26/2015 02/28/2015
    St. Paul's School BROOKLANDVILLE, MD 02/27/2015 02/28/2015
    Gallery Theater MCMINNVILLE, OR 02/28/2015 03/21/2015
    Victoria Theatre Guild VICTORIA, BC 03/04/2015 03/21/2015
    Bolingbrook High School BOLINGBROOK, IL 03/13/2015 03/15/2015
    Branham High School SAN JOSE, CA 03/19/2015 03/28/2015
    Felix Bloch Erben BERLIN 04/01/2015 07/31/2016
    Stray Dog Theatre ST. LOUIS, MO 04/02/2015 04/18/2015
    Sunnyvale Community Players SANTA CLARA, CA 04/03/2015 04/26/2015
    Salisbury University SALISBURY, MD 04/09/2015 04/19/2015
    Richmond Civic Theatre Inc. RICHMOND, IN 04/10/2015 04/19/2015
    The Hartt School HARTFORD, CT 04/21/2015 04/27/2015
    Footlight Players, Inc. CHARLESTON, SC 04/24/2015 05/10/2015
    Saratoga High School SARATOGA, CA 04/24/2015 05/02/2015
    Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre ANNAPOLIS, MD 05/28/2015 06/20/2015
    Lakewood Playhouse LAKEWOOD, WA 06/12/2015 07/12/2015
    Sol Children Theatre Troupe BOCA RATON, FL 06/12/2015 06/28/2015