Have a ‘Clue’ and figure it out at ERCT’s musical

The cast: Earl Milton, Kevin Hunter, Paul Olson, Laura Kauffman, Catherine Glommen (seated), Mickey Capps, Katie Wolf, Dee Dee Buckley. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by  Bruce Strand, Arts editor

“Clue the Musical” is basically eight cartoon characters pulled out of a board game box and placed on a stage where they act out a murder mystery spiced by humor and  music, with the crowd encouraged to figure out who done it. In fact the patrons get cards to fill out when the lights come on periodically so they can write down their picks.

A veteran cast at Elk River Community Theatre is presenting this adaptation of the Parker Brothers creation in seven performances starting Friday evening, 7:30 p.m. at ERHS’s Little Theatre.

Linda Kauffman as the detective grills maid Mrs. White, played by Dee Dee Buckley. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

“I think it’s for everyone (to enjoy), although maybe not for smaller kids, it might be a little scary for them,” said director Michael Conrad. “it’s Clue’ the game, and it’s a lot of fun, and most people might be trying to figure it out.”
Paul Olson plays Mr. Boddy, who gets offed in the first act and sticks around to narrate.

The various suspects — all colorful and distinctly different – are Earl Milton as conniving and frisky Prof. Plum; Mickey Capps as Mr. Green, the thwarted business partner; Kevin Hunter as Col. Mustard, delusional step-father of Boddy’s who fancied himself a war hero;  Catherine Glommen as Mrs. Peacock, the socialite widow; Katie Wolf as Miss Scarlet, femme fatale entertainer; and Dee Dee Buckley as Mrs. White the longtime domestic of Boddy Manor.

Laura Kauffman is the detective mulling all the clues and fending off Plum’s advances. Florian Keller is the Piano Player who carries the show musically.

Buckley, Milton and Glommen are all from the east metro area. Buckley has had key roles in previous plays here, and Milton and Glommen followed her here after they did a Christmas play together in St. Paul.

Socialite Mrs. Peacock, widow of the murder victim, played by Catherine Glommen, laughs with Col. Mustard, step-father of the deceased, played by Kevin Hunter. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Hunter, a recent arrival in Elk River, spent some years in movies and TV on the west coast, and landed one role as a cop arresting Teri Hatcher in “Desperate Housewives.” He currently hosts the radio show “The Homework Guy” on KTIS. Kauffman is a new teacher at Salk and 2010 St. Olaf graduate.

“This is a very veteran cast, or we would not be able to pull this off,” said Conrad, who’s in just his third directing role and the first two were with church and high school productions.

Conrad has been production manager in Youth Theatre Workshop plays and  has turned in some strong comic roles including The Grinch.

Especially valuable is Keller, who is ever present on the piano, executing a complex score he describes as “fast-paced, challenging, very jazzy, written in the late 90’s by three different composers.” A local resident and native of Austria, Keller has directed Broadway style shows for 25 years in the metro area, North Carolina and in Europe.

“We are so lucky to have Florian,” said Conrad.

Keller, who was music director for ERCT’s “Joseph” and “The Secret Garden,” commented that it’s a lot trickier to direct music from the piano instead of standing  in front of an orchestra. “But I’m about 95 percent there,” he smiled.

The playbill trumpets that there are “216 possible endings — who did it?” The detective finds six possible weapons, found in six rooms, each with all the suspects’ fingerprints. And who knows, there could  be some kind of twist ending too.

If you’d like to join the fun, tickets (($13) are available at the door or in advance on the web site www.erct.org or by calling 763-441-1251.

Elk River Community production  at ERHS Liittle Theatre, Door H
Friday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m
Saturday, Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 19, 2 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday. Feb. 26, 2 p.m.
Tickets $13 at door or call 441-1251  or see www.erct.org