The Mystery of Edwin Drood


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 in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. 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 “Perfect Strangers,” “Both Sides of the Coin,” “The Wages of Sin,” “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

    Such credits for all purposes shall be in a type size equal to that of any other credits except for those of the star(s) above the title. The credit for Rupert Holmes shall be in a type size at least 50 percent of the size of the title of the play, and the credit for the New York Shakespeare Festival shall appear below all other credits. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    is presented by arrangement with
    560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022

  • Full Orchestration:

    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
    Wood Block
    Cow Bell
    Sleigh Bells
    Metal Pipe
    Police Whistle
    Wind Chime
    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)
    Concert Snare Drum
    Concert Bass Drum
    Slap Stick
    Lead Pipe
    Sandpaper Blocks
    Castanets (on Blk)
    Sleigh Bells
    Wind Machine
    Money Shaker
    Bell Tree
    Piatti (a2)

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

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

    Optional Additional Materials

    Four Optional Additional Numbers:
    “A Man Could Go Quite Mad”
    “Quartet Reprise: Moonfall”
    “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


    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 — ????????


    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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    Obsidian Theater HOUSTON, TX 09/21/2017 10/14/2017
    The Alley Theater LOUISVILLE, KY 10/05/2017 10/28/2017
    Elm Street Cultural Arts Village WOODSTOCK, GA 10/13/2017 10/29/2017
    Coronado High School CORONADO, CA 10/20/2017 10/28/2017
    Diablo Valley College PLEASANT HILL, CA 10/20/2017 11/05/2017
    Narberth Community Theatre PHILADELPHIA, PA 11/03/2017 11/18/2017
    Manhasset High School MANHASSET, NY 11/16/2017 11/19/2017
    Merrimack College NORTH ANDOVER, MA 11/16/2017 11/18/2017
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    Orange County School of the Arts SANTA ANA, CA 03/01/2018 03/04/2018
    Bergen County Academies HACKENSACK, NJ 03/01/2018 03/03/2018
    Dwight-Englewood School ENGLEWOOD, NJ 03/02/2018 03/03/2018
    Edmond North High School EDMOND, OK 03/08/2018 03/10/2018
    Union Catholic Regional High School SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ 03/16/2018 03/24/2018
    Actors Theatre of Indiana CARMEL, IN 04/27/2018 05/13/2018
    Council Rock High School North NEWTOWN, PA 05/03/2018 05/05/2018
    The Players PROVIDENCE, RI 05/10/2018 05/20/2018