Despite not being able to present the traditional fall murder mystery dessert theatre due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentlands Mansion and A Taste For Murder Productions have teamed up to present “Poems Macabre: The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe” October 30 & 31. Offered as a virtual performance, the production will feature costumed performers in eerie-designed settings performing poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, the Master of the Macabre, as well as Poe-inspired animation, art and music, told from within the historic (and allegedly haunted) Kentlands Mansion. It is suitable for ages 10 and older.
Edgar Allan Poe, a Baltimore native, lived from 1809 to 1849. His name brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. In print since 1827, his works include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. Poe’s versatile body of work includes short fiction, poems, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician.
“While we love performing our usual murder mystery comedy plays, they just do not work as well in a virtual format,” says Laura Andruski, producing artistic director for A Taste For Murder Productions. “And I was eager for the company to branch out into other aspects of the mystery genre. Poe was a good fit for us and for virtual programming.”
This year marks the fifth anniversary of A Taste for Murder Productions. ATFM teamed up with Kentlands Mansion in 2015 to present its very first production, “Polter-Heist.” Since then, more than 1,800 patrons have partaken of the unique dessert theatre format where guests are encouraged to solve the whodunit while enjoying an array of sinfully sweet treats.
Company member and local actress Liz Weber has been with ATFM since its inception and has appeared in several of its productions. She says, “An ATFM show is a thoroughly entertaining evening and Laura is able to get great scripts, talented actors and unique performance spaces for these creepy comedies. Poems Macabre has been a unique experience for me and my first ‘virtual’ performance. I can’t wait to see what Laura, her production team and the other actors do with these amazing Edgar Allan Poe poems to bring them to life and entertain. Since Poe is actually buried in Baltimore, that makes it even more interesting. His spirit may be hovering around!”
Patrons who purchase tickets will be able to view the event from the comfort of their own homes using a Smart phone, tablet, Smart television, or personal computer. Show times each night are at 8 and 10 p.m. and at midnight.
“Kentlands Mansion is excited to partner with A Taste for Murder Productions for a new mystery experience. This virtual performance will allow each audience member to have a front row seat!” says Kristy King, Kentlands Mansion Facility Manager.
The event is also being paired with a Kentlands Ghost Walk. Showtimes for that activity are at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Drawing from historical accounts and documented experiences of the paranormal, this virtual walking tour explores the property of the Kentlands estate, including inside the historic Kentlands Mansion, Arts Barn, and surrounding area. Discover the stories behind the street signs and the history of this unique Gaithersburg neighborhood while hearing tales of the spirits who may still linger.
Patrons must register through the RecXpress portal as the online ticketing system is currently undergoing modification. Only one virtual ticket purchase is required per household, so one or more persons may view the program. Once registered, patrons will receive an internet link and password unique to them the day of the event. Tickets must be purchased at least 30 minutes prior to the event start time. For more information, please click here.
For workshop registration, theatre tickets, and more information, please visit the Arts Barn at www.gaithersburgmd.gov/AOTG or call 301-258-6394. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArtsontheGreen.
MEET THE CAST OF “POEMS MACABRE”
Brock Brown is excited to be making his debut with A Taste For Murder Productions. A student of the Theatre Lab Conservatory, he has appeared in A Raisin in the Sun (Rockville Little Theatre), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Spider’s Web (Laurel Mill Playhouse), DC Black Theatre Festival, and One Act Festival (Silver Spring Stage). Brock is a native Washingtonian and now lives in Takoma Park.
Meghan Edge is a performer, costume designer and artist haunting the DMV area with their talents. Most recently they have appeared as Jules in Deadline for A Taste for Murder and in the ensemble for the British Player’s Alice in Wonderland. Their costume work has also appeared on stage in Rockville Little Theater’s The Spitfire Grill as well as ATFM’s Deadline. Their passion for murder, whoops, we mean theater, keeps them very busy but in their spare time they like to write stories and blogs for Mad Rabbit Society.
Bob Gudauskas is a web conferencing sales executive from Rockville, Maryland where he has been primarily seen with Rockville Little Theatre, Rockville Musical Theatre, and in Victorian Lyric Opera Company’s Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Past credits include Pooh Bah in The Mikado, The Duke of Plaza Toro in The Gondoliers, Tito Mirelli in Lend Me a Tenor, and others. Pleased to be making his return to A Taste for Murder Productions, Bob has been seen performing in Murder by the Book, and in both the live and virtual productions of Last Call at Chez Mort.
Brian Lyons-Burke most recently appeared as Woodrow Wilson in the world premiere of 19 the Musical. He is a two time WATCH award winner for his portrayal of Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd and Roger DeBris in The Producers. Notable recent stage roles include, Fagin in Oliver!, Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, John Major in The Audience, Oliver Warbucks in Annie, Captain Keller in The Miracle Worker, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, King Triton in The Little Mermaid, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Charlie in The Bridges of Madison County, and King Arthur in Spamalot! He appears as King Alfred in the podcast “The Adventures of Rodney the Root” and can be seen in several film roles.
Michael Scherer narrated audiobooks and worked in radio for more than 20 years, and has recently become a baker at a French bakery. He has appeared in two recent shows at Rockville Little Theatre, Sherlock’s Veiled Secret and Arsenic & Old Lace. He likes to hike and appreciates a quality hat.
Liz Weber has appeared in several ATFM shows including Polter-Heist and With a Deadly Finish. Other roles include: Narrator in Façade by William Walton (Rose Hill Barns), Eulalie Shinn in the concert version of The Music Man (Kennedy Center w/Shirley Jones & Patrick Cassidy), Hannah in Spitfire Grill (RLT), Helen in Helen on Wheels (Best Medicine Rep Theatre), and Dotty/Mrs. Clackett in Noises Off (British Players). WATCH Awards: Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret (KAT), Berthe in Pippin and Jeannette in The Full Monty (RMT). In years past, Liz and her husband toured nationally in musical theatre productions. She worked in radio for many years on-air, hosting a show called Sunday Showtunes, and in the executive offices.