It’s a Misdemeanor NOT to Have Seen This Play!

If you missed the Upper School’s Hit & Misdemeanor last December, you missed out on an action-packed show full of comedy, suspense, and an unforgettable audience experience.

Hit & Misdemeanor, written by William Gleason, is set in 1984, and the entire play takes place in Studio B of Glowworm Production Studios. Upon entering the Performance Space, the audience is unaware that our entire Berkeley Carroll theater has been transformed into Studio B. Mr. Kent and the crew always do a superb job with the sets but this one was so realistic, and it looked like it took a lot of effort. But what also comes as a surprise to the audience is that once the voice of “director” Howard Hughes (Andrew Keenan) begins “soundcheck”, the audience becomes the live studio audience of the hit 1984 murder mystery TV show “Hit & Misdemeanor” produced and created by Mel Purnell (Henry Pearson), starring Stacy Travers (Anja Boltz) as Detective Twinkletoes, and Connie Lewis (Emma Newbery) as Detective Tarpley. As an audience member myself, I can say that the experience was more unique and thrilling than any other school play I’ve ever seen.

Even at the start of the play, the audience is already thrust into the mystery and suspense of the plot as a very suspicious masked person (Lena Drinkard) walks onto the set with a bouquet of flowers and demands to see one of the girls. For standard safety precautions of course, the stage manager of the show, Yolanda Pitts (Julia Longo), doesn’t allow it. But this strange person goes in anyways. This seems very, very suspicious…

Connie and Stacy are wealthy and gorgeous starlets, who have hundreds of thousands of adoring fans. So it comes as a huge shock to everyone that someone is trying to kill them. However, it isn’t surprising to either of them since they each believe that the other is straight from hell. They come from such different backgrounds; Connie is an heiress who always who got everything she wanted, while Stacy was more of an underdog, and no one thought she had talent, but Howard found a spark in her. So the two sassy starlets must put aside their differences to work together and solve the mystery of who’s plotting their murder, in order to save themselves and the rest of the cast.

To lighten up the mood of such a grim predicament, Mary Muldoon (Tristan Gillia), the middle-aged fangirl of “Hit & Misdemeanor” who is obsessed with Connie and Stacy, constantly had some clever comedic commentary up her sleeve. Before the show, I saw Tristan chatting up the crowd and excitedly introducing herself to many of the audience members as Mary Muldoon, before she took her seat in the audience. I was even sitting in the same row! She was actually there for most of the play, which really engaged and surprised the audience. But I must say, Mary Muldoon is the most amusing and outrageously funny character I’ve ever encountered as an audience member. All throughout the play, she was asking for exuberant and quite ridiculous autographs, and making countless hilarious remarks which perfectly counteracted the mystery and suspense of the play.

The highlight of the play, by far, was when Stacy and Connie were growing hopeless in their search for the killer, when Mary accused an audience member for being the mastermind of the crime! And, because this was obviously a preplanned occurrence, this certain audience member was a different teacher each performance, which made it twice as funny for a student like myself. During the dress rehearsal, it was US Math teacher Mr. Kwok, Thursday night it was US English teacher Mr. Sanchez, Friday night it was MS Humanities Co-Chair Mr. Agnor, and the Saturday matinée performance featured our US Dean of Students, Mr. Jacquet. Connie would grab one of them straight from the audience, and bring him down to the stage into the interrogation room. The interrogation was the best part.  It was so ridiculously hilarious since in their desperation to find the culprit, they literally staged an episode of “Hit & Misdemeanor.” The situation was so impromptu, it was just priceless. It was so shockingly hysterical to the audience that everyone was teary-eyed and falling off their seats with laughter. It’s astonishing how the actors were able to keep their character instead of laughing along with the audience.

At the climactic end of the play, the entire story comes together, and some things are finally revealed to the audience that take another step closer to finding out who the culprit really is. We learn that Connie’s run-away little sister Junie (Ellie Pike) who was supposedly “poisoned” at the start of the play had been plotting to kill Connie the entire time, and that Connie and one of her co-stars Charlie Groves (Will Pigott), who is also Stacy’s fiancée, are in love and were plotting to murder Stacy all along, and that Belinda, Mel Purnell’s fourth wife, had been plotting to kill Stacy as well since she found out about Mel and Stacy’s secret romance. We find out a lot, to say the least. All these revelations pile up to create a room filled with drama and suspense. And, the mysterious masked figure who was also trying to kill Stacy and Connie is finally revealed, *gasp!*. Then, the audience is even more shocked when the hilarious Mary Muldoon, and the “stage manager” Yolanda come out as detectives and solve the case; that everyone was guilty, even Cleo the slater (Lien Acevedo), Brian and Caroline the cameramen (Cal Goodin and Annabelle Alrez), Casey the last looks consultant (Lily Bradfield), and Bernadet who’s in charge of sound and tech on the show (Kellen Penner Coxon), who no one would’ve guessed. So in the end, everyone wanted to murder each other for their own crazy motives…That’s Hollywood, baby!

It’s amazing to see how our classmates, who we see every day at school, can transform into such different and complex characters on stage, and their talent, devotion, and countless hours of preparation and teamwork with the rest of the cast truly showed in the final product. A play like Hit & Misdemeanor is a very complex play and the cast and crew did a such a fantastic job executing it, and making the experience of the audience one to never forget. Mr. Indovina and the Upper School Theater Department outdo themselves time and time again, and Hit & Misdemeanor is just another instance of that. Be sure to check out the US Spring Musical Godspell this April!