Categorized | Features

Whodunit? You Decide


Photo: Lindsey Walters, Miscellaneous Media Photography

Photo: Lindsey Walters, Miscellaneous Media Photography

By Lucy Paiste, Editor in Chief

Thursday, January 21 was opening night for the long awaited production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood  by playwright Rupert Holmes.  The theater students at Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School, in association with ShenanArts, in Staunton, Virginia, will be performing this energetic Victorian whodunit over the course of that weekend, due to the inhibiting weather.  

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a musical based on Charles Dickens’ last work before he died, him laying down his pen before revealing the conclusion of Drood’s death. For those who may not know anything about this show, Hailey White, a junior at WHS and SVGS, offers this explanation:

“The weird thing about this show is when you explain it to people, you don’t give a plot synopsis. We say that it is the unfinished novel of Charles Dickens, it’s a mystery novel, and the problem is Charles Dickens died before he finished it.”

This translates to a very interesting production onstage because about half way through the show, it ends, and the audience gets to vote on whichever ending they want to see.

“The show changes every night, it’s never the same,” White explains. “Anyone who is available to be voted on for certain roles that the audience chooses has to learn up to 3 or 4 different songs.”

The number of possible endings in this show is just one thing that makes it very different from anything else that WHS students have seen. With the choices of 7 possible murderers, 5 people who could be Dick Datchery and many different combinations of lovers, this show will never be the same any one night. White plays the part of Edwin Drood in this musical and Nathaniel Marion plays Reverend Crisparkle.

Nathaniel Marion, another junior at WHS and SVGS says “[Drood] is definitely a bit raunchier than anything Waynesboro has put on.”

The cast of this show auditioned for roles in late October of 2015 and have been working on the musical since then.

“We had independent rehearsal call until about January which is when it became pretty much an everyday thing,” says White about the amount of time that they have put into the show. The rescheduled showtimes are as follows: Jan. 29th and 30th at 7:00 p.m. and Jan. 31st at 3:00 p.m. 

Tickets are $10 for students under 18, $12 for senior citizens and college students, and $15 for adults. The performance is recommended for ages 13 and up. Tickets can be bought online at or at the door the day of the show.

“I am really proud of this cast and all of the work that we have put in,” said White, ‘especially since we all go to the Governor’s School at least some of the time for theater arts. Everyone is super duper dedicated.” Added White,  “I am very proud.”


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