ATP Almni, Kalika Rose and Andy Ricci are in the cast of Wait Until Dark at the Dunes Summer Theatre in Michigan City.
Check out the article below from the Chicago Tribune.
Director Leigh Selting is a stage sage about the differences between producing a thriller and a murder mystery for theater audiences.
“So many people categorize these two genres as being the same and they are not,” said Selting, who is guiding a cast of five for the Aug. 17-Sept. 2 new run of “Wait Until Dark” at Dunes Summer Theatre in Michigan City.
“A stage thriller, such as ‘Wait Until Dark,’ is more of a suspense melodrama with the audiences wondering what will happen next, in contrast to wondering who is behind a crime such as in a mystery thread. For a thriller, it’s usually the case that the audience knows who the antagonist is and so then, it becomes a matter of what will the final outcome be for all.”
Written by Frederick Knott, it’s Andy Ricci and Kalika Rose, talents familiar to Dunes Theatre audiences, as the leads in “Wait Until Dark,” playing husband and wife Sam and Susan, a couple living in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Susan is blind, but knows her way around the apartment to live independently, while her husband is away for business travels.
The play’s thriller twist and turns begin after Susan discovers that a doll, gifted to her after Sam’s most recent trip, has secretly been stuffed with a valuable bag of drugs, unbeknownst to her husband. When three murderous thugs attempt to reclaim the contraband from Susan, a nightmarish scenario unfolds during the two-hour stage story.
The play premiered on Broadway in 1966 starring Lee Remick as Susy Hendrix, James Congdon as Sam and Robert Duvall as Harry Roat Jr., the tormenting ringleader of the relentless thugs. The following year, the story was brought to movie screens in 1967 by Warner Bros. and backed by a score by Henry Mancini and starring Audrey Hepburn as Susan, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Sam and Alan Arkin as Roat.
“I’ve previously directed a number of stage mysteries, but not many thrillers,” Selting said.
“And I wasn’t very familiar with this title. In fact, I’d never even seen the film. This is a play that gets very intense as the scenes unfold.”
In addition to the challenges of working with the cast to fine-tune performances during the two and half week rehearsal span, Selting said the set construction was also a “tricky process for details.”
“Because the story is set in the 1960s, many people might think that this doesn’t qualify as a period piece, making it easy for set design elements because it’s thought of as being a modern setting,” Selting said.
“But modern and contemporary are not the right words to describe the time period. It’s more than 50 years ago, and there so much that has changed in decor and device. The furniture and the furnishings have to reflect the time. I call this decade ‘mid-century contemporary.’ It means you have to be concerned with how a door bell chime sounds and make sure you know where to get your hands on a rotary dial phone for our recreation of this apartment.”
Derek Ryan Brummet of Chicago, playing the role of Roat, is making his debut at Dunes Summer Theatre.
An instructor at Chicago’s famed Second City and also a veteran cast member of Chicago’s long-running Irish comedy “Flanagan’s Wake” at Chicago Theater Works, Brummet is originally from Lowell, Ind.
“I wanted to be part of this production for a couple reasons,” Brummet said.
“I did the open audition in Chicago for ‘Wait Until Dark’ because I wanted the summer stage experience of working at Dunes Summer Theatre since it has this great half-century of history for doing all of these wonderful show performances. I was also inspired to do a different kind of role that would be a new experience for me. I’m not usually cast as the bad guy. My character Roat is quite nefarious.”
Brummet describes Roat as a “rich and complicated character with a very specific agenda.”
“There’s so much intrigue and unexpected moments in ‘Wait Until Dark’ to keep audiences drawn to the dynamics between these characters. A good thriller is something unmatched.”
‘Wait Until Dark’
When: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 17-Sept. 2
Where: Dunes Summer Theatre, 288 Shady Oak Drive, Michigan City
Cost: $18 for adults and $15 for students
Information: 219-879-7509; www.dunesartsfoundation.org
Philip Potempa is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.
Original article from the Chicago Tribune