Open Forum

Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

  • 1.  Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-14-2015 12:01
    Thinking about doing a murder mystery for our Fall Play next year.  Please share with me your favorite ones that you have directed/produced with high school students.

    ------------------------------
    Robin Hunt
    Theatre Director
    Peoria IL
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE:Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-14-2015 20:22
    We had a lot of fun and success with 13 Past Midnight and also Any Number can Die. Both were spooky and had fun characters. Audiences loved them!

    -------------------------------------------
    Lorie Baldwin
    High School Theater Teacher and Director
    Richboro PA
    -------------------------------------------



    Sent via Higher Logic Mobile





  • 3.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-15-2015 00:21
    I've seen Angel Street/Gaslight done with high school and it was great.  Musical Comedy Murders is always fun.

    ------------------------------
    Laura Steenson
    Theatre Director
    Reynolds High School
    Troutdale OR
    ------------------------------




  • 4.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-25-2015 07:39
    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 02-15-2015 00:21
    From: Laura Steenson
    Subject: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    I've seen Angel Street/Gaslight done with high school and it was great.  Musical Comedy Murders is always fun.

    ------------------------------
    Laura Steenson
    Theatre Director
    Reynolds High School
    Troutdale OR
    ------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 02-14-2015 20:22
    From: Lorie Baldwin
    Subject: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    We had a lot of fun and success with 13 Past Midnight and also Any Number can Die. Both were spooky and had fun characters. Audiences loved them!

    -------------------------------------------
    Lorie Baldwin
    High School Theater Teacher and Director
    Richboro PA
    -------------------------------------------



    Sent via Higher Logic Mobile















  • 5.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-15-2015 10:12
    We had a lot of fun this past fall with the comedy murder mystery DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. Instead of keeping it contemporary, we set it in 1950 and did it all in black and white as a kind of film noir spoof.  The transition of time period not only works without any script modifications, but also enhances the melodramatic and zany quality of the piece and really helped my students "go big!"

    ------------------------------
    Susan Speidel
    Chairman of the Performing Arts Department
    Morristown-Beard School
    Springfield NJ
    ------------------------------




  • 6.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-15-2015 11:13
    I have done a number of pieces from Mysteries by Moushey, and they're great! A Wedding from Hell (you can change the name to A Wedding to Die For), Trouble at the Talent Show, The Great High School Whodunit....she has a great catalogue. ------------------------------ Stacy Castiglione Drama Director Los Alamitos CA ------------------------------


  • 7.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-15-2015 13:38
    We did Til Death do us Part by Craig Sodaro and handled by Eldridge Plays. It was a lot of fun, and the actors and audience really enjoyed it. We staged it in our cafeteria and had wedding cake and punch for the actors and audience. The blocking took the actors in and around the cafeteria tables sometimes sitting down next to audience members. Some of the audience also got up and danced with them in the wedding dance scene. Great fun!! ------------------------------ Helen Anderson El Paso TX ------------------------------


  • 8.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-16-2015 10:09
    We are currently rehearsing AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie, and it is proving to be great fun for the cast and crew. Cast of twelve (which includes a walk-on at the beginning and an offstage voice) and a very manageable one-room set. Available through Samuel French,

    ------------------------------
    Josh Kauffman
    Teacher
    Winfield City Schools
    Winfield AL
    ------------------------------




  • 9.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-16-2015 12:06
    You might look at Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.  It has a cast of about 10, as I recall.  This one set show provides the wonderful challenge of several secret entrances and a variety of characters.

    ------------------------------
    Gail Howard
    Past Theatre Director
    Poolesville MD
    ------------------------------




  • 10.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-17-2015 09:06
    I will echo Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. Hilarious script with fun characters. Nice possibilities for musical underscore as well. I would also recommend Done to Death. Large cast, good opportunity for cast and crew to research who the characters are based on from literature and film. Also fun music for this one. Much Ado About Murder has a nice audience participation element to it. The audience gets to ask the cast questions to decide who they think did it. Also, you set up the murder scene in the lobby so the audience can look at the clues. We sold it out for the full run. 13 Past Midnight is also a decent one.

    ------------------------------
    Steve Skelcey
    Colorado Springs CO
    ------------------------------




  • 11.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-17-2015 14:14
    We had a lot of fun with "Design for Murder" by George Batson.  It was evidently written as a touring vehicle for Tallulah Bankhead in the late 1920s or early 1930s, and it really is a period piece.  Living room set.  And it doesn't require a gun.  

    ------------------------------
    C. J. Breland
    Asheville NC
    ------------------------------




  • 12.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-17-2015 15:23

    Count me in on Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. The kids and audiences loved it and my current batch keeps asking if enough time has passed so we can do it again.

     

    If you're looking for something a little more dramatic(ish) Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror was a favorite with our audience and the kids loved it. It has a lot of bit characters that everyone recognizes (Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, ect). 

    ------------------------------
    Shira Schwartz
    Chandler Unified School District
    Chandler AZ
    ------------------------------




  • 13.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-18-2015 08:31

    Mysteries by Moushey are cheesy fun, audience participation pieces that can be a bit "saucy."  But who doesn't like a good cheese sauce?

    Just cast Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 for the 3rd time in 20 years at the same high school.  Fun script!

    ------------------------------
    [William] [Myatt] [Drama Director]

    [Pleasant Valley High School]

    [myattw@pleasval.k12.ia.us][563-332-5151][Bettendorf][IA][USA]
    ------------------------------




  • 14.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-17-2020 10:25
    One of my all time favorites--a lot of fun and an audience pleaser!!

    ------------------------------
    Karen Maupin
    Mountain Home High School Career Academies
    Mountain Home AR
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-22-2020 18:27
    There is another George Batson murder mystery play, entitled HANGMAN'S NOOSE. It features a number of strong female characters, but it also requires a fireplace that opens to a secret passage. It is a lot of fun and keeps the audience guessing. The final fight between the male hero and the villain is weak, however. We solved it by prolonging the fight and adding a couple of dramatic pauses in the final conversation.





  • 16.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-22-2015 14:24

    I once did "Class of Valley High" with a group.  We did it as a dinner theatre murder mystery.  We put clues under tables and audience members were allowed to ask questions of the cast.  It made the students put a lot of work into learning their characters and being prepared for anything.  The play also allows you to have a lot of extras to move around the audience.  Our extras created characters for themselves and dressed accordingly and discussed their character with the people they met.  It was a lot of fun.

     Another year, we did "Death Aboard the Duchess" where a murder takes place on a cruise ship.  It has a cast of very colorful characters and some fun plot twists.  The cast is smaller for this one, but it's easy to produce.  It's available on pioneerdrama.com.

    ------------------------------
    Chelsea Petty
    Columbus MS
    ------------------------------




  • 17.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-22-2015 15:53
    Murder in the Heir by Billy St John at Pioneer 8 great. The audience votes at intermission who they think the murderer is. The cast has to learn several endings to fit with audience decision. It is reallyreally fun. ------------------------------ Nancy Gibson Theatre Director Garland ISD Garland TX ------------------------------


  • 18.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-27-2015 18:42

    Take a look at Ken Ludwig's THE GAME'S AFOOT OR, HOLMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  It's a great send-up to the genre and Christie but the BEST part is it's written for 5 females and 3 males, whereas almost all small-cast shows in the genre are the opposite.

     

    Also the musical SOMETHING'S AFOOT. About 10 in the cast.

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Stuart
    Middle School Theatre Arts Teacher
    Seattle Public Schools
    Seattle WA
    ------------------------------




  • 19.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 02-27-2015 19:55

    Something's Afoot, Samuel French was a blast.  The ending is wonderful.  Arsenic and Old Lace was a great as well-- not sure that counts as a "mystery", though.  Also, one of my favorites for a one act--- Sorry, Wrong Number.

     Have fun.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Johnson
    Trinity NC
    ------------------------------




  • 20.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-21-2015 11:00

    We did an audience participation murder mystery, You Have the Right to Remain Dead.  Fun.  We are currently doing Web of Murder.  It keeps you guessing until the very end and there are a lot of twists and turns.

    ------------------------------
    Angela Tomaselli
    Dayton Board of Education

    ------------------------------




  • 21.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-27-2015 02:09

    I produce a murder mystery interactive dinner theater every year and I use MC2 entertainment.  They have lots of great scripts and are very helpful and reasonably priced royalties.

    Try them out...the ulterior motivator is Charlie Corritorre

     at http://www.mc2entertainment.com/murder_mysteries/murder_mysteries.htm

    ------------------------------
    Kathy Cannarozzi-Harris
    Chairperson Of Visual And Performing Arts
    Laguna Hills CA
    ------------------------------




  • 22.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 04-11-2015 17:36
    "But, Why Bump Off Barnaby?" by Rick Abbott is by far the funniest murder mystery I've ever read. I have produced it twice. The set is a bit complicated, and there is a set piece that needs to be constructed very specifically (it allows for nearly instantaneous appearances and disappearances). But it is a genuine mystery, and as I said, hilarious. First read-through will have students unable to speak, they will be laughing so hard.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Corliss
    Livonia MI
    ------------------------------




  • 23.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 04-12-2015 11:02

    We did The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens and had huge success with it. We loved the fact that there's an entire section of improv in it where the audience gets to question the suspects.

     

    Audiences loved it.
    ------------------------------
    Glenn Morehouse Olson
    Theater Teacher, Director
    St. Francis MN
    ------------------------------




  • 24.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 04-13-2015 08:37
    Hi!  We just did The Game's Afoot by Ken Ludwig.  I love his shows and this was not disappointment.  The audiences loved it and many of our students came each night, which has never happened before.  As mentioned before, the set can be a bit complicated with a hidden room being revealed, but I would be more than happy to share how we did it.  It is a great show with lots of room for actors to stretch their interpretations of the characters.  Every had a blast from first reading to the closing night!

    ------------------------------
    Georgann Lanich
    Lakemont GA
    ------------------------------




  • 25.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-18-2020 09:58
    Mousetrap by Agatha Christie!

    ------------------------------
    Susan Nieten
    Theatre Teacher, Spring Play Director,
    & Thespian Troupe Director
    at Noblesville High School (Noblesville, IN)

    Twitter: @mrsnieten
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-19-2020 07:18
    Good morning,

    I have two. I have done The Mousetrap in four different schools. Fun over the top characters and beefy roles. It can be done big or intimate. Another guilty pleasure show it The Real Inspector Hound. We had so much fun with this one.

    ------------------------------
    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-19-2020 11:10
    I have a couple of favorite Murder Mysteries:
    • Wait Until Dark - an intense drama, with a very tense cat and mouse fight scene. Great role for a strong female actress. This is not a show for the faint of heart.
    • Exit the Body - a fun murder farce, good roles for females


    ------------------------------
    Jeannie Brzovic
    Lake Forest Park WA
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-20-2020 19:15
    I echo Jeannie with "Wait Until Dark".  Another of my favorites is "Corpse!" By Gerald Moon. It's a British comedy murder mystery. The only downside is that it has a small cast.  Concord Theatricals hold the USA rights.

    ------------------------------
    Stewart Hawk
    Washington State Thespian Co-Chapter Director
    206-252-2408
    stewart.hawk@gmail.com
    http://washingtonstatethespians.com/
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-20-2020 19:42
    These are all great suggestions and have given me several ideas of scripts to read. 

    Thanks, everyone!!

    Karen





  • 30.  RE: Favorite Murder Mystery Play?

    Posted 03-20-2020 14:56
    We did And Then There Were None this year at my all-boys high school, and it turned out to be one of the most popular plays we've ever done.  Samuel French gives you the choice of two endings--the one that's true to the novel and the one used in the original production.  We did the one from the novel--although we did have Vera hang herself out of sight of the audience because we thought a hanging on stage might prove too difficult for some of our audience members.  (I too had been searching for years for a good mystery that can be performed plausibly by a teenage cast.)

    ------------------------------
    Rebecca Reisert
    St. Xavier High School
    Louisville KY
    ------------------------------