“Please be at the Black Swan Hotel at midday tomorrow. Don’t fail me,” was how the telegram read. It was sent to Sherlock Holmes by a governess employed at The Copper Beeches.
“Within the last couple of months, two of my clients have disappeared, right after they inherited several million dollars,” said Harruthers, an accountant, to New York detective Nick Carter.
The award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company presents two “who-dun-its” on one night, radio-style, with live sound effects and commercials, with two great detectives. Under the title “Holmes and Carter Mysteries,” the cases are “Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Copper Beeches” and “Nick Carter and the Strange Dr. Devolo.”
While Sherlock Holmes was solving crimes in England, Nick Carter was busy in Manhattan. Carter first appeared as the hero in a serialized novel, “The Old Detective’s Pupil,” in “The New York Weekly” in 1886 – a year before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes’ first caper, “A Study in Scarlet.” In 1930, the Sherlock Holmes radio series began with “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and in 1943, the Nick Carter series was launched with “The Strange Dr. Devolo.” While “Copper Beeches” is not the original script by Edith Meiser (this one is adapted by Gayle Stahlhuth), “The Strange Dr. Devolo” IS the original script, used with permission by Conde Nast.
The cast members taking on roles of those in Victorian England and in New York during World War II in the same night are Mark Edward Lang, Robert LeMaire, Alison J. Murphy, Lee O’Connor, Fred Velde, and Gayle Stahlhuth.
Once more, Lee O’Connor portrays Holmes, and Fred Velde, Dr. Watson. Lee has performed on stage and in films and commercials, and is one of the main storytellers for ELTC’s “Tales of the Victorians.” Fred was in ELTC’s “Anna Christie,” “Rain,” “Dulcy,” and “The Poe Mysteries,” and has appeared in over fifty shows in NYC, including the off-Broadway revival of Mae West’s “Sex.” Both actors, like the other four, also play a variety of roles.
Mark Edward Lang portrays Nick Carter, the role played by Lon Clark during the full run of the radio series. His work with ELTC includes “The Guardsman,” as an actor, and “Anna Christie,” as a director. His NYC and regional credits include Off-Broadway’s “Welcome Home Marian Anderson.” He, as well as Alison J. Murphy, were in ELTC’s recent production of “The Late Christopher Bean,” and both performed last spring in a staged reading of the first Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Why Marry?” directed by Gayle Stahlhuth and produced by ELTC at The Players Club in NYC. She has performed in several other ELTC productions including “The New York Idea.” New York credits include “Aurora Leigh,” “Mary of Shippensburg” and “The Wound of Love.”
Robert LeMaire, who appeared in several ELTC productions including “The Dictator” and “The Ransom of Red Chief,” is portraying several roles and operating the sound effects. ELTC’s artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, directed, as well as performs.
Performances are at the historic First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St., where the company is in residence, on Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15 at 8:00p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for full-time students, and, as always, anyone age 12 and under is free. For information and reservations, call 609-884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org.
“Holmes and Carter Mysteries” is part of New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s (NJTA) “Stages Festival.” All across the state, patrons will receive free and discounted tickets to over 100 performances and special events, including classes and workshops for all ages. Since its inception in 1998, the program has served over 80,000 people. ELTC is a proud member of NJTA and ELTC’s artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, is a member of the board. For more information about this innovative company, visit www.njtheatrealliance.org. For an up-to-the-minute “Stages Festival” schedule, visit www.stagesfestival.org, including how to save money to see “Holmes and Carter Mysteries.”