The Cat and the Canary
March 23 - April 7, 2012
The Cat and the Canary
by John Willard
March 23 - April 7, 2012
Directed by Michael Serrecchia
A Mystery Thriller
Irving Arts Center
3333 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Irving, TX 75062
Fridays & Saturdays, March 23, 24, 30, 31, April 6, 7, 2012 at 8pm.
Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 8pm.
Sundays, March 25 & April 1, 2012 at 2:30pm.
The family of rich eccentric, Ambrose West, goes to his looming old house on the Hudson to attend a reading of his will at midnight 20 years after his death. His will designates that Annabelle West is his sole heir if there is no indication that she suffers from insanity. However, should she be unsound of mind, a second will is to be opened naming a different heir. The family endeavors to unbalance Annabelle with tales of lunatics, murders, and death strikes. In this old-fashioned thriller, everyone among the possible heirs is suspected, but not until the final fall of the curtain is the extraordinary mystery solved. “They have watched my wealth as if they were cats, and I -- a canary.”
Production ImagesPhoto by Mike Morgan
Happy Heiress: From l to r: Michael Speck, Scott Higgins, Ashlie Kirkpatrick, Aaron WhitePhoto by Mike Morgan
From l to r: Scott Higgins, Ashlie Kirkpatrck, Michael Speck, Aaron WhitePhoto by Mike Morgan
From l to r: Scott Higgins, Ashlie Kirkpatrck, Michael Speck, Aaron White
|SCOTT HIGGINS (Paul Jones) is grateful to return to the stage at ICT. He was last seen at ICT as Tim Allgood/ NOISES OFF. Other performances include: Stanley Jerome /BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS and Bobby van Husen /THE BOY FRIEND. Roles in the following films: Hold Your Peace and the forthcoming The Tribe. He is represented by the Clutts Agency. Special thanks to everyone at ICT, Michael Serrecchia, and Brent.
|ASHLIE KIRKPATRICK (Annabelle West) returns to ICT MainStage under the direction of the fabulous Michael Serrecchia. Some of Ashlie's favorite roles are Maudie/TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Maria/LEND ME A TENOR (Column Award Winner), Miss Adelaide/GUYS AND DOLLS, and Baker's Wife/INTO THE WOODS (Column Award Nominee). Thanks to Michael for putting together such a stellar cast and crew, to Charissa for being eternally supportive, and to her son Corbin for always being the sunshine in her day.
|WILLIAM KLEDAS (Dr. Patterson) is honored to be making his debut with ICT. Recent work includes the role of George Bailey in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE at Theatre Arlington and a part in the thriller WAIT UNTIL DARK. Also doing voice-over work in the local-market, he spends his remaining time with his family, traveling whenever possible. A big thanks to an amazing cast and a new group of friends!
|MICHELLE MAYS (Miss Pleasant) is fairly new to the Dallas theatre scene and is delighted to be acting with ICT. Playing the role of Miss Pleasant dares to combat the convictions of my devout upbringing; voodoo, consorting with spirits, belief in the occult. MADNESS! Nonetheless, she’s glad this character reached out with her wretched hand from some hapless otherworld and chose her.
|JOHN MEDAILLE (Hendricks) last appeared at ICT as Abu Mohab in 2005's DEATH: TAKE ONE. He was most recently seen as Curtis Appleby/ NIGHT WATCH at the Runway Theater. He would like to thank Patty and Molly of whom he is, on occasion, fond.
|SHANNON RASMUSSEN (Cicily Young) makes her ICT MainStage debut. Shannon recently completed her Master of Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas. Previous roles include: Lucy Ross/THE MUMMY’S CLAW, Dallas Children’s Theater; Catherine Simms/THE FOREIGNER, Garland Civic Theatre; Cynthia/EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN, Rover Dramawerks, and Claudine Amour; PAJAMA TOPS, Pocket Sandwich Theatre.
|DAVE SCHMIDT (Roger Crosby) His theatrical debut was the narrator of his first grade class, THE THREE BEARS, and he hasn’t stopped since. He found ICT MainStage in 2000 when he was cast as R.F. Simpson in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. Like a cat discovering a warm place by the fire he has made ICT his theatrical home. Both as an actor (Felix Unger/THE ODD COUPLE, Sir Lawrence Wargrave/TEN LITTLE INDIANS, Selsdon Mowbray/NOISES OFF) and as a director (YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, TEN NIGHTS IN A BARROOM, PROOF, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE) to name just a few.
|MICHAEL SPECK (Harry Blythe) is thrilled to be making his ICT debut. He was recently seen at Onstage in Bedford in THE UNDERPANTS as Versati. He has been seen on many local stages including Theater Three, Pocket Sandwich Theater, Rover Dramawerks, Theatre Britain, and a handful of others. He will next be the Chairman for Theatre Britain's MUSIC HALL.
|AARON WHITE (Charlie Wilder) is thrilled to be returning to ICT MainStage having last appeared as The Bell Hop in LEND ME A TENOR. A native of Kentucky, Aaron transplanted to Dallas four years ago and has been very happy to perform with local companies such as Garland Summer Musicals, Level Ground Arts and Richardson Theatre Center. Aaron would like to thank his beautiful wife, Ashley for her support and the wonderful artists at ICT for such an amazing experience.
|TRISTA WYLY (Susan Sillsby) is making her ICT debut. Some of her favorite roles include Maria Yocknester/IT’S A SCREAM, Consuela/DRAC IN THE SADDLE AGAIN and Myra Bruhl/DEATHTRAP. She received a BFA in Theatre Arts from the University of Texas at Arlington and is excited to be part of this production. Special thanks to Ron for his love and support.
EVELYN G. HALL (Co Producer) is pleased to be finally working with Michael Serrecchia and the rest of this very talented cast and crew. She enjoys producing, stage managing, working crew, and serving on The Column Awards board of directors. Other shows she has enjoyed working on are TEN LITTLE INDIANS, NOISES OFF, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU.
TOM ORTIZ (Co Producer) is pleased to once again be working directly on a MainStage production. ICT is celebrating its 40th year and Tom has been here for about 15 of those incredible years. Producing, stage managing and behind the scenes work have kept Tom active and involved. He thanks all of the long time subscribers and his family for continuing to support and encourage his efforts.
MICHAEL SERRECCHIA (Director) is thrilled to be returning to ICT after directing last season’s hit HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING which earned him a Column Award, as well as the Dallas - Fort Worth Theatre Critics Forum Award which he also won for his direction of NEXT TO NORMAL for Uptown Players. Also Michael’s direction of NINE the MUSICAL won 9 Column Awards for ICT including Best Musical. Other regional premiers include the award winning productions of PAGEANT (Crossroads Theatre), A CLASS ACT, THE FULL MONTY, THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, THE DROWSYCHAPERONE and IT’S ONLY LIFE (Theatre Three). This past fall Michael received the prestigious Natalie Skelton Award for Artistic Excellence. The previous year Michael was sighted as one of the critics Top Directors in Dallas for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and in Fort Worth for 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. Michael, an original cast member of A CHORUS LINE, SEESAW and five other Original Broadway Musicals, has appeared in the films Every Little Step, Broadway: the American Musical and in the upcoming Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age.
JILL STEPHENS (Stage Manager) has stage managed more than 25 shows at ICT and is delighted to be working with Michael and this cast. When not stage managing, Jill can be found directing, running props, set building and helping wherever is needed on ICT shows. Having retired as the ICT Administrator in 2010, she enjoys being involved without the “headaches”.
MEGAN KELLY BATES (Assistant Director) returns after choreographing the award winning HOW TO SUCCEED..., happily working again with Michael Serreccchia with whom she has collaborated on THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Theatre Three and THE FULL MONTY and 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE at Theatre Arlington. She has performed at ICT as Martha/THE SECRET GARDEN, Winnifred/ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, and in NINE. She directs the Musical Theatre Department at Preston Center Dance and teaches at KD College. She thanks her two beautiful daughters, Lilly and Molly.
DAWN BLASINGAME (Props) is happy to have “stumbled” into ICT. She worked props for: YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS..., NO SEX PLEASE, WE’RE BRITISH, and WOMAN IN MIND. She has also done sound tech at Artisan Theater.
THE DALLAS COSTUME SHOPPE is under the direction of Michael Robinson, who with his team have designed and provided costumes for many area productions: THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, CATS, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, LEADING LADIES, and the award-winning NINE for ICT. Area theaters include: Theatre Three, Stage West, Uptown Theatre, Echo Theatre, Rover Drama Werks, Garland Summer Musicals, Garland Civic Theatre, WaterTower Theater, and Lyric Stage. Their costumes for Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTI were seen at the famous Goldini Theatre in Venice, Italy, as well as for the BBC documentary of BONNIE AND CLYDE. They are the oldest costume shop in the Southwest, serving Metroplex theatres since 2000.
RICHARD FROHLICH (Sound Design) is happy to return to ICT MainStage. He is a two time Column award winner, and has designed sound for many area theaters including Theatre Three, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and WaterTower Theatre. He is a vocational video producer, founder of the award-winning Texas Radio Theatre Company, and since 2001 has written and produced over 60 modern audio plays. He makes his home in Arlington with his wife Shannan and three children.
IAN GARLAND (Lightboard Operator) is currently a theater major with focus in light design at UNT. While at UNT, he has designed lighting for IN THE BLOOD, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, THIN THREAD THICK THREAD, and SYNCHRONIZED IMBALANCES. At ICT MainStage he designed lights for LEND ME A TENOR and is working his 6th season with ICT MainStage.
TULLY HALL (Sound Board Operator) is excited to work on his eighth show at ICT. His past experiences include Stage Crew/TEN NIGHTS IN A BARROOM and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU; Soundboard Operator/THE FIRST BAPTIST OF IVY GAP, THE LITTLE FOXES; Set Crew Chief/HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS..., and Stage Manager/THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE. He also volunteers his time with the ACME Swing Company (part of the Dallas Swing Dance Society) as Stage Manager.
JENNYE JAMES (Set Designer) is a freelance theatre designer. She is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University, where she is now the Scene Shop Foreman for the Theatre Department. She has worked as a technical director, carpenter, props designer, and scenic artist for many local theatres including Casa Manana, Jubilee, Amphibian Productions and Theatre Arlington.
SAM NANCE (Lighting Designer) has designed many shows for ICT, most recently for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS...,THE LITTLE FOXES and YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU. He is resident lighting designer for Pegasus Theatre where he has lit their innovative “living black and white” shows for a number of years. He has received five Column Awards for his lighting of THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA for Theatre Three and NINE, ALL MY SONS, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS..., and THE LITTLE FOXES at ICT.
by Perry Stewart
TheatreJones.com - published Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Irving — The comedy whodunit, The Cat and the Canary, has an interesting history. It began as a stage play in the mid-1920s, then was a silent movie that same decade. Next came a 1939 talkie starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, then a third screen version made in Britain in 1978.
ICT Mainstage is returning to the original format with a frolicsome live production currently at the Dupree Theater in the Irving Arts Center.
Designer Jennye James' spooky old mansion set has a few cobwebs, and so does the script by John Willard. The parade of deliciously cheap thrills centers on six potentials heirs of a wealthy eccentric. The three men and three women are summoned to the mansion for the reading of the deceased's will 20 years after his death. In addition to being rivals for the inheritance, the three males all covet the affection of the beautiful and charming Annabelle.
Ashlie Kirkpatrick is a perky and winning presence in that role. By way of icing the cake, costume designer Michael Robinson makes her a visual treat as well.
The other two female family members are shrill and abrasive, as written. Shannon Rasmussen and Trista Wyly hurl themselves into the roles with such fierce commitment that you may find yourself hoping they'll go away. (Where's that lunatic murderer when you need him?)
Scott Higgins plays Paul, the equine veterinarian, with an appealing blend of painful shyness and clumsy courage. Director Michael Serrecchia's hand is evident here, and the results are rewarding.
Serrecchia's cast embraces the antiquated language and the counterpoint conversations of the script, milking laughs without sacrificing suspense. A marvelous example of this double-edged aspect is Michelle Mays' performance as the Carib household manager whose character name (Miss Pleasant) is not at all descriptive of her demeanor.
Michael Speck and Aaron White are lively verbal combatants. And Dave Schmidt does a journeyman job as the attorney who reads the will and drops clues.
William Kledas has the thankless and superfluous role of a physician summoned to treat swooning Annabelle. And John Medaille bursts onto the stage as a psychiatric hospital guard in search of an escaped inmate. You might say his performance is, ah, strong. Medaille appears to be attempting an impersonation of one or more famous actors. But, who?
It's not that this guy isn't on the same page as the rest of the cast. He's in a different play.
ICT Mainstage steps back in time to the Roaring 20's to present the ultimate mystery thriller
Reviewed by Bonnie K. Daman, Associate Theater Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
ICT Mainstage steps back in time to the Roaring 20's to present the ultimate mystery thriller, The Cat and the Canary. It's a daring production that has you on the edge of your seat as the plot thickens and races to a shocking end you will not see coming. No spoiler alerts here! You'll have to see it to find out who gets the gold, who gets the girl, and whodunit.
Twenty years after the death of the wealthy, solitary Ambrose West, his six eccentric living relatives descend on the old miser's home to attend a reading of his will. At the stroke of midnight, the long awaited announcement of West's sole heir is revealed. Thus begins a series of spooky occurrences and a murderer on the loose.
John Willard's mystery play surpasses that of any Agatha Christie synopsis I have seen and I find this mostly due to ICT Mainstage's excellent production of The Cat and the Canary.
The lighting and sound design immediately set the mood for the dark and stormy night the cast of characters succumb to as the enigmatic plot begins. Sam Nance, Lighting Designer, magnifies his lightning effects on either side of the stage. It's a stunning visual effect when the thunder rolls and the lightning bolts strike. The timing is perfect as the lights on stage go dark with only an eerie back light shining through the set window.
Richard Frohlich's overall sound design is just noticeable because it seamlessly blends into the background. The storm effects are natural and flawless.
Frohlich even plays around with a few humorous dramatic pause effects to give a little oomph to some comical moments onstage.
The set design by Jennye James is excitingly 3-dimensional, complete with secret passageways and hidden compartments. It's a step above what most designers implement into their sets, and her attention to detail give the show a sense of reality. In keeping with the ghostly plot, James' focal point is an open window with sheer white, floor length drapes that gently blow in the wind, a creepy reminder of the ensuing storm outside and mysterious circumstances.
Costumes, provided by Dallas Costume Shop, easily identify and represent the 1920's. From the low-waisted dresses, Annabelle's fur stole and the men's vintage-style suits and matching hats, the cast's wardrobe is spot on for the era.
Director Michael Serrecchia has put a superb cast of characters together. The Cat and the Canary centers on the ingénue Annabelle West and her five peculiar long distant cousins. Equally important to the plot are two characters closely tied to the deceased Ambrose West - his lawyer and a superstitious housekeeper.
Not one actor gets lost in the shuffle of who's who in this multi-faceted cast which is a tribute to DFW's local talent but also to Serrecchia's casting.
Something that makes each character unique is that Serrecchia stresses an array of vocal registers and various paces between each actor. For the women, the creeping movements and the deep, gruff East Indies accent of Miss Pleasant the housekeeper vastly contrasts with that of the high-pitched squeals and dainty composure of cousin Cicily Young. Split among the men is a display of low, medium and high vocal registers, each actor bringing something individual to the role and not getting lost in the crowd.
Serrecchia is a master at creating picturesque scenes with his actors. It is equally entertaining with each scene, whether with two actors or the full cast, to see the assortment of poses and spacing he uses fluidly throughout the show.
In the lead role of Annabelle West, Ashlie Kirkpatrick is reminiscent of a young Debbie Reynolds with such spunk, charm and innocence in her role of the young heiress. Her guileless portrayal is refreshing and she shows an incredible aptitude for connecting with her co-stars onstage.
Shannon Rasmussen as Cicily Young, a bubbly blonde who fully embraces the 20's flapper persona, is fun and adds plenty of personality to the more comedic moments onstage, becoming the reason for many a good laugh during the show.
Rasmussen's onstage counterpart is Trista Wyly as the begrudging busybody Susan Sillsby. Wyly is perfectly cast and lends an excessive amount of dramatic flair to her character. She relishes in the insanity of certain plotlines and is the biggest contributor to a handful of amusing theatrical pauses. Her performance, as over the top as it is, is one of my favorites.
Michelle Mays, as the old housekeeper Miss Pleasant, dons a believable East Indies accent which really shines in her opening dialogue. Mays' height and her creeping manner intensify the mysteriousness of her character and very few times did I see her veer from the character's pace set by Serrecchia.
Opening the show, Dave Schmidt portrays West's lawyer Roger Crosby. Not only does Schmidt truly look the part but he fits the demeanor of the character, such as showing a lack of patience with the potential heirs but mostly in his sense of ownership and pride regarding his lawyer duties. In a short amount of time, Crosby even seems to exude a sort of father-like responsibility over Annabelle which I find endearing.
Michael Speck puts on the perfect murder mystery persona as Harry Blythe. Speck delivers a deep, jovial and haunting laugh that would make the perfect sound bite to use for a scary story. With slicked back hair and a pompous air about him, Speck, like Wyly, is a great fit for this genre.
As Charlie Wilder, Aaron White's performance begins under the radar, almost getting swallowed up by the group, probably since his entrance is second to last. It isn't until White is first alone with Kirkpatrick that he begins to flourish and you see the character's nuances, with a hint of playfulness and slyness, come out. His pursuits over Kirkpatrick are lovable but push the envelope and White handle's the full performance with ease.
Scott Higgins makes the final entrance of the six cousins as Paul Jones, a glass-is-half-empty, nervous young man who can neither make up his mind nor keep his own opinions. Like White, Higgins' character is first at risk of getting lost in the crowd but once pulled aside his performance stands out from the others and becomes a true crowd pleaser.
Rounding out the cast are John Medaille as Hendricks and William Kledas as Dr.
Patterson. Medaille makes a quick entrance as the brash local law enforcement officer on the hunt for an escapee from the insane asylum. He makes a great impersonation and comes across cocky and indignant. An even shorter performance, Kledas is in and out as the town doctor sent to examine and declare Annabelle is or isn't of sound mind. It's a minor scene but Kledas' role is just enough to make you question what is real.
You now have the full cast of characters. So, whodunit? I have to admit, I could not figure it out. I'm the sort of person who either loves to spoil the ending for myself or I try to guess the ending and am usually right.
Compliments go to Willard's script and an exceptional performance by ICT Mainstage. The shocking reveal at the end is unforeseeable and downright heart-pumping. You will be on the edge of your seat.
This three act/two intermission show is exactly two hours and appropriate for most ages. As this is partly a murder mystery, parents with young children should be aware of one brief graphic scene at the close of Act II. Regardless, ICT Mainstage has another successful show to add to its repertoire.
Directed by Michael Serrecchia
Saturday, January 7, 2012 from 10am - 1pm
Sunday, January 8, 2012 from 5 - 8pm
Performances: March 23 - April 7, 2012
Auditions will be cold readings from the script.
Please bring headshot/resume or updated photo and resume.
We offer a gas allowance.
Call 972-594-6104 or email email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Roles: 6 Male, 4 Female
(all roles are available)
Roles ranging in age from early 20's to 60's:
Miss Pleasant, the caretaker of the mansion, a woman of color
or exotic ethnicity, believes in spirits.
Roger Crosby, the family lawyer, 50s-60s; executor of the estate
Harry Blythe, about 35: quiet, cynical, bored man, but dangerous.
Cicily Young, 20s, heir to the fortune
Susan Sillsby, 20s-30s,a female with an acid temper, heir to
Charlie Wilder, another heir; 20s-30s; full of charm, smiles all
the time and has a magnetic personality.
Paul Jones, 30-40s, another heir, cousin to Cecily, Susan
and Charlie, always sees both sides of things; was a horse
doctor, then became a mechanic-garage owner.
Annabelle West, vigorous, beautiful girl, frank and fearless and
very modern; illustrator by profession.
Hendricks, guard at the asylum
Patterson – a doctor