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George Mason University’s School of Theater and School of Music Present “THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD” Musical by Rupert Holmes Based on the unfinished mystery novel by Charles Dickens Directed by Ken Elston Musical Direction by Dennis M. Layendecker With performances in George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax, Oct. 24-26 and the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Merchant Hall in Manassas, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1

October 6, 2014
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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George Mason University’s School of Theater and School of Music

Present

“THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD”

Musical by Rupert Holmes

Based on the unfinished mystery novel by Charles Dickens

Directed by Ken Elston

Musical Direction by Dennis M. Layendecker

With performances in George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax, Oct. 24-26 and the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Merchant Hall in Manassas, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1

 

 

FAIRFAX and MANASSAS, Va., Oct. 6, 2014 – Everyone's a suspect in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and you get to decide whodunit! George Mason University’s School of Theater and School of Music will collaborate on a major Musical Theater production as part of the 2014-2015 performance season when the schools present the Tony Award-winning musical based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished mystery novel. One of the work’s most talked-about features of the musical is that the outcome of each performance is determined by audience vote. “Drood” will open at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on the Fairfax Campus and then will be transported to the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Merchant Hall on the Prince William Campus for three final performances. The production will provide continuing support for Mason’s expanding Musical Theater program.

In this “play within a play,” the actors portray Victorian thespians of the Music Hall Royale theater troupe who are presenting a flamboyant rendition of Dickens’ novel; the celebrated author died before he could complete this final work of his prolific career. Singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes wrote the book, music, lyrics and orchestrations for the musical, which opened on Broadway in 1985 starring Betty Buckley in the title role. “Drood” won the 1986 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Score, Book, Direction and Leading Actor. In 2012, the Roundabout Theatre Company presented the Broadway revival starring Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase and Chita Rivera.

Audiences may be thrilled to hear, “Ladies and gentlemen, please turn on your mobile devices,”  at the start of “Drood,” directed by Ken Elston, director of the School of Theater, with musical direction by Dennis M. Layendecker, director of the School of Music. “In keeping with our theme of Innovation this season, we are planning a lively evening that explores and tests dramatic invention,” Elston said. “When we use new technologies to promote audience interaction, each performance will be truly unique. During the musical, our audience’s active contributions will shape the performance and determine the climax, as at each performance the audience votes for whodunit using social media and mobile devices.”

Dennis M. Layendecker will conduct a 35-member orchestra, featuring some of the best musicians from Mason’s School of Music. “What a terrific orchestral team we have in the pit to support our talented cast on stage for ‘Drood,’” Layendecker said. “The show’s challenging score will no doubt prove to be an awesome musical experience for everyone in attendance!”  

Tickets can be purchased by calling 888-945-2468, by visiting drood.gmu.edu or at the ticket office of either venue, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The Hylton Center ticket office is also open Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) Visit drood.gmu.edu and connect with @MasonMusical on Twitter and Instagram and www.facebook.com/MasonMusicalDrood on Facebook. For more information about Theater at Mason, please visit theater.gmu.edu or call (703) 993-1120. For more information about Mason’s School of Music, please visit music.gmu.edu or call (703) 993-1380.

 

Performance Schedule

 

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” (Mainstage Series)

George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Oct. 24-25 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 25 at 2 p.m.; Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.

Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall

Oct. 31, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.                                                     

Tickets: $25 adults; $15 students, faculty, staff, seniors and groups

 

George Mason University’s Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the main stage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. For more information, please visit cfa.gmu.edu.

The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center. For more information, please visit HyltonCenter.org.

 

About the School of Theater

Mason’s School of Theater provides a rigorous, creative and nurturing environment where we encourage conceptual and cultural diversity. Students establish a professional work ethic, collaborate with others and take responsibility for individual as well as group efforts as they prepare for a life and career beyond graduation. We challenge our students to think critically, write clearly and persuasively and express themselves through a course of study combining a liberal arts education with practical training and production experience. Theater is a universal expression of the human spirit. Our school embraces and ensures this expression through the study of historical, contemporary and cultural traditions; training in the craft; and the presentation of plays.

 

About the School of Music

The Mason School of Music is part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Students study with nationally and internationally recognized faculty who are active performers, conductors, composers, music theoreticians, historians and music teachers. The music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

 

About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance, Art and Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

 

 

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia schools with the highest annual salaries.