By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY — Mixing the familiarity of musicals with new territory in murder mystery is part of the game for New Albany High School’s spring theater production opening tonight.
“An Evening of Merriment, Mayhem and Murder” opens in the school’s auditorium at 7:30 p.m. tonight. A series of three one-act plays along with a short musical explore modern theater and noir-style murder mysteries in the production.
Gina Cisto, theater director, said the choice for the show was driven by the students, who she said are enthusiastic about the approach. She said she hopes audiences will enjoy a fresh take on high school theater.
“I’m truly hoping they will be intrigued by it and hope they’re entertained by it,” Cisto said. “I also hope it will expand the community’s idea of what theater is and what it can do.”
She said students work with a flexible, abstract stage in the first act, moving pieces around to fit each of the three mini-plays that last about 10 to 15 minutes each.
In the second act, students perform “Murder at Crooked House,” a murder mystery musical.
Megan Carter, a senior in the second-act musical, said she thinks audiences who have been coming to the theater for years will enjoy something different from what they’re used to seeing.
“I think the community is going to respond very well, especially with us trying to develop a new audience for the department,” Carter said. “I think people are going to love it.”
She also said if audiences show up a little early, they’ll catch a featurette in the lobby modeled off classic whodunits, and give the audience a chance to vote for who they think is the perpetrator of the crime.
Nick Johnson, a sophomore in the second act, said he thinks New Albany High School’s tradition will still shine through in this show.
“I think audiences will always have the New Albany musical feel with this show, even with the Gina Cisto spin to it,” Johnson said.
Lillie Weber, a freshman in the first act, said as someone who’s seen shows at NAHS for years, she enjoys participating in something that keeps the school’s musical roots, but also explores new material.
“Everyone around here knows this school for musicals,” Weber said. “I think it’s good that were trying something new. I think the stage layout brings something interesting.”