(CINCINNATI)–Sherlock Holmes returns to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park with a comedic twist in Ken Ludwig’s BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY. Adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, the play runs April 22 to May 20 in the Marx Theatre. Equal parts comedy and mystery, the production’s humorous take on a classic adventure makes it the perfect opportunity to introduce the next generation to Sherlock Holmes.
Ken Ludwig, whose Broadway productions include Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You, Moon Over Buffalo and Twentieth Century, adapted the novel for the stage. The play features five actors—two playing Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, and three others playing more than 40 different characters.
“When Artistic Director Blake Robison first approached me to direct BASKERVILLE for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, I was thrilled,” says director Brendon Fox. “I had a wonderful experience a few seasons back working on Shipwrecked! An Entertainment here, and Cincinnati Playhouse has since then has continued to produce some of the most exciting work in the regional theatre scene.”
For Ludwig, BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY presents an opportunity to embrace theatricality.
“There is a great tradition of melodrama in our theatre, both English and American,” Ludwig says. “In melodramas, we sit on the edge of our seats watching exciting stories where anything can happen. There are villains, there are mysteries, there are fortunes lost and reputations regained… My hope is that BASKERVILLE is about the theatre as much as it is about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. I want it to succeed not only as a tale of fellowship and courage but also as an adventure in itself.”
The Hound of the Baskervilles tells the exciting story of detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Doctor John Watson, as they investigate mysterious happenings at a country mansion. The master of the house has died, and a giant, ghostly hound dog has been spotted on the grounds. Is it a supernatural curse? It’s up to Holmes and Watson to deduce the answer.
The third of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s crime novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles was originally published in The Strand Magazine between August 1901 and April 1902. Doyle had killed off beloved detective Sherlock Holmes eight years earlier in his story The Final Problem, but brought the detective back by setting the events of The Hound of the Baskervilles prior to the detective’s fateful fall. The fan response to the new story was so strong that Doyle acquiesced and officially revived the character. Since then, Sherlock Holmes has endured, and even experienced a heightened popularity in recent years. Thanks to movie and television adaptations, new audiences are embracing the classic Doyle stories and falling in love with the mystery genre.
“I’ve always loved mysteries in that they often remind us how often we take things at face value, and how chameleonic people can be—even (or especially) those close to us,” says Fox. “One of the biggest mysteries BASKERVILLE wrestles with—besides the hound—is that of human nature. If human beings can change easily and often at times, how can we trust them?
“The way people’s identities and agendas can transform quickly in this play is manifested in our five-person cast. With three actors playing everyone Holmes and Watson meet in London and on the moors trying to solve the case, they not only symbolize the slipperiness of identity, but highlight the fact that BASKERVILLE needs to be seen live onstage. To watch an actor transform before our very eyes is a treat for a live audience.”
Tickets for Ken Ludwig’s BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY start at $35; they vary depending on seat location and performance day and are subject to change. Tickets for teens and students are $30. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show. Plus, Sunday is College Night, with tickets to all 7:00 p.m. performances just $10.The Playhouse is fully accessible. To purchase tickets, call the box office at 513-421-3888 or 800-582-3208 toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana; or 513-345-2248 – TDD access (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) or visit the Playhouse website at www.cincyplay.com
The 2016-17 Marx Theatre season is presented by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation. Co-sponsors are the production are Johnson Investment Counsel and Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co. Honorary Producer is The Lemmerman Family. Design Sponsor is Huntington Bank. Marx Theatre Season Design Sponsor is Macy’s. Season Sponsor of New Work is The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
A CRAFT BEER EXPERIENCE: Patrons can join us before Friday evening performances of BASKERVILLE for a special craft beer experience featuring MadTree and Rhinegeist Brewing, and a specially designed menu by Vonderhaar’s Catering. Tastings take place on April 28, May 5, May 12 and May 19 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $32 per person. Patrons must call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 in advance to attend.
DESCRIPTION (Two Acts; Running time– TBD, including one intermission)
With equal parts comedy and adventure, Baskerville’s fast-moving, pulse-pounding and murderously funny ride plays out in grand scale, proving just how far from elementary the truth can be. The world’s favorite detective returns in the most famous case of his career. This time it’s the gloomy and foreboding world of fog, quicksand, moors and monsters that combine to create a dizzying web of clues. Sherlock Holmes and his faithful companion Doctor Watson must unravel them quickly if they hope to save the latest heir to the Baskerville fortune from a centuries-old curse. Grab your deerstalker and cape— the play’s afoot!
CAST (in alphabetical order)
JACOB JAMES (Doctor Watson); BRIAN OWEN (Actor One); EVAN ALEXANDER SMITH (Actor Two); NISI STURGIS (Actress One); RAFAEL UNTALAN (Sherlock Holmes)
BRENDON FOX (Director); TIMOTHY R. MACKABEE (Set Designer); LEX LIANG (Costume Designer); PETER MARADUDIN (Lighting Designer); VICTORIA DEIORIO (Original Music and Sound Designer); STEPHANIE KLAPPER (Casting Director); JENIFER MORROW (Production Stage Manager); ANDREA L. SHELL (Stage Manager)