IT’S MURDER, MARY! – A Killer World Premiere at The New Conservatory Theatre

Gay who-dunnit charms the pants off during a dark and stormy night

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

NCTC is proud to present IT’S MURDER, MARY! by Andrew Black and Patricia Milton. The show is in residence until June 28th – Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. All performances will take place at the NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER (Decker Theatre), located at 25 Van Ness Avenue near Market, San Francisco. Tickets range from $22 – $34. Click here to order your tickets on-line: IT’S MURDER, MARY!

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David Bicha, Kai Brothers & ‘Drew Todd.
Production photos by Lois Tema

This action-packed comedy is modeled after the classic “who-dunnit” murder mysteries. Set at an exclusive Russian River resort, this campy yet tension-filled murder mystery will keep you guessing until the last body falls. The cast includes David Bicha, Kai Brothers, P.A. Cooley, Roger Hanson, John Hutchinson, Christopher Morrell and Drew Todd. NCTC once again shines in its choice of cast members. Versatile character actor David Bicha serves double-duty in the roles of “Turk Malone”, a somewhat familiar leather queen in the Castro, and as the self-centered “Matt Rally”, a blind and wheelchair-bound kvetch constantly sniffing out violations to his pursuit of happiness at the (Bates variety) motel. Kai Brothers is sweet and charming as “Buff Bodd”, a dim-witted porn star with a weakness for carbohydrates. P.A. Cooley as “Ronald” totally captures that irritating controlling know-it-all doughboy just begging for the axe. As his newly-entangled partner “Donald”, Roger Hanson typifies the slimy husband who oils his way into a no-tell tryst with every-ready Mr. Muscle.

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David Bicha, Kai Brothers, John Hutchinson, P.A. Cooley, ‘Drew Todd, Roger Hanson, Christopher Morrell

In the role of “Bebe Buzzby”, John Hutchinson is the jaded and pedantic senior who stays within pouring distance of the well-stocked bar. Last seen in NCTC’s production of TERRE HAUTE, Mr. Hutchinson’s comic timing and sense of faux snobbery is very reminiscent of Peter Ustinov. Marking his debut at NCTC, Christopher Morrell as “Kale Underwood” is the ideal foil to Hutchinson’s “Bebe”. Trading insults while tracking clues, they connect their suspicions to the titles of old movie posters displayed in the motel lobby. Now that’s gay. Pushing that same meter is ‘Drew Todd as the wannabe Bette Davis variety of drag queen, “Lotta Miles”. For those who remember male actress Charles Pierce, ‘Drew matches the flamboyant and aggressive strides along with the wide-eyed smirking so dear in this particular wing of gay archetypes. Film buffs will note that Hollywood legend Norma Shearer became known as “Miss Lotta Miles” during an early ’20s ad campaign for Springfield Tires. The story goes – her provocative image on floodlit billboards was stopping traffic from New York to L.A.

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NORMA SHEARER and ‘DREW TODD (as Miss Lotta Miles), and P.A. Cooley
(embroidering tire treads
)

Andrew Black and Patricia Milton have co-authored three plays: Porn Yesterday, Strange Bedfellows, and It’s Murder, Mary! Andrew is the author of a two-act fantasy comedy, Another Man’s Slingbacks. A member of the 2004/05 and 2006/07 PlayGround Writers Pool, his plays The Vibration of a Balloon and Ka-Pluto were staged by PlayGround in 2006 and 2007. His ten-minute play, Ark Types was presented at the LSU Outworks Festival at Stage Q in Madison, WI., the Bare Stage Theatre in Red Bluff, CA., and at the Riverside Arts Festival in Riverside, CA. He is the Scene Night Coordinator for Playwrights Center San Francisco and a member of The Dramatists Guild.

Patricia Milton is the author of several one-act plays, including The Champions of the World, The Dentist, and The Only Virgin in Jubilee County which won the 2007 Hill Country Playwrights Festival. Her one-act, Real/Not Real, was selected for production and publication as part of the 2007 Bay Area One Acts Festival. Her ten-minute plays have been produced at the 2004 Bay Area Festival of One Act Plays (2nd Prize), Short Leaps Festivals, Boston PlaySlam, Woman’s Will 24-Hour PlayFest, North Park Playwrights Festival, and Sheherezade (2005-2007). She is the Board President of the Playwrights Center of San Francisco and a member of Play Café and The Dramatists Guild.

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UNTIL JUNE 28th – in THE DECKER THEATRE

To order tickets on-line: IT’S MURDER, MARY!

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com.

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