‘Something’s Afoot’ at the Orpheum

Mix a little comedy with a little murder mystery, add some music and you’ve got yourself a show for the whole family with this “whodunit” titled “Something’s Afoot.”

Based on the works of Agatha Chrisite and her mystery book “And Then There Were None” (also known as “Ten Little Indians”), the musical was written by James McDonald, David Vos and Robert Gerlach and first appeared in a regional theater on the west coast in the 1970s and later expanded to theaters around the United States.

The musical, set in the 1930s, takes place in the English lake district at the estate of Lord Dudley Rancour. Six guests arrive at the estate to find Rancour dead and three servants, a butler, maid and handyman, at the home.

It’s then a race to see who can figure out who killed Rancour, but more people end up dead as the musical goes on, with the promise that “it’s not the butler.” Throughout the production, characters start to mysteriously, but humorously, be killed by odd happenings around the house.

The six guests to the estate include Hope Langdon (Madeline Achen), Dr. Grayburn (Dean Messerly), black sheep nephew Nigel Rancour (Mike Hunter), Lady Manley-Prowe (Kat Smith), Colonel Gillweather (Michael Oxley) and artist-detective Miss Tweed (Monica Kruse). One uninvited guest, Geoffery (Sam Card), shows up to the estate as well.

Clive the Butler (Will Cook), Handyman Flint (Jordan Makinster) and maid Lettie (Allison Bollinger) are also a part of the musical and serve as Rancour’s servants.

Pip Gordon, executive director of the Orpheum Center, said this is a fun and entertaining musical for the whole family to enjoy and includes great visual effects.

“‘Something’s Afoot’ is a very funny musical with a lot of visual effects,” Gordon said. “A lot of theater companies don’t do it because of lack of equipment.”

The show features 11 musical numbers throughout and is sure to make people laugh with its tactics that go on for the whole duration of the show.

Gordon said she chose this musical because it not only was an interesting production, but because of the lighting and visual effects it has to offer.

With the grants from the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation, the Union Pacific Foundation and the Theisen’s Foundation, the Orpheum was able to put the show on and hire 12 summer interns to work with professionals on stage lighting and techniques.

“We had the opportunity to bring in professionals to train our students,” Gordon said.

Performances are set for June 21-23 and June 27-30. All performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will take place at 8 p.m. and both Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.

Seating is limited in the black box theater at the Orpheum, so Gordon suggests ordering tickets sooner rather than waiting. Call 641-844-5919 to reserve tickets.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students and children.

Jay Edelnant, a theater professor at the University of Northern Iowa, served as director and MHS choir instructor Amy Ose served as the musical director.