A night of fright and murder

On Saturday, June 8, parents and students wait the drama production of The Musical Comedy Murder of 1940 at the Downey High Theater. This performance was their last production of the year, which was azailable for four nights.

Gabby Sanchez, Co-Editor-In-Chief

The 6th period Drama Production Class debuted The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 on Friday, June 7 and kept audience members at the edge of their seats as they tried to solve the murder mystery while also letting out some laughs throughout the night.

The performance opened on an eerie note—a maid stabbed several times by a faceless figure fully draped in black, The Stage Door Slasher.

The stage was set in the library of a wealthy woman’s New York mansion during the 1940s and was utilized as the center point of all the action. Each character entered in a unique way, reflecting their different personalities and gaudy manners. The beginning scenes presented chorus girls and actors all joining under the impression that they were called to character Elsa Von Grossenknueten’s luxurious home for an audition to star in a musical.  The supposed production’s creative team was made up of ridiculous personas including director Ken de la Maize, played by Chris Vasquez, producer Marjorie Baverstock, by Brianna Ruelas, writer and dancer Berniece Roth, performed by Daniela Gonzalez, and writer Roger Hopewell, by Juan Nunez. A particular actor that stood out during the performance was senior Chris Vasquez, who brought the flamboyant Hollywood wannabe director to life and added his own personal flare.

Vasquez looked to other films to gain inspiration for his extravagant character.

“I watched a lot of movies so I could take bits and parts of it, and I took some Jack Nicholson to try to become this pompous director,” Vasquez said.

After the whole group settled in the old, dusty library, they realized that they were in for a night of fright and murder. As the hours passed, cruel killings occured and it was left up to the performers to find out who The Stage Door Slasher was and stop the manslaughters before more occurred.

Although the show focused on the mystery of the killer, the actors were able to throw out hints of humor into the dialogue and successfully gained laughs from the viewers. The comedian, Eddie McCuen, played by junior Marco Arroyo, delivered hilarious punch lines and cowardly expressions, a keystone addition to the overall theme of the play that received tremendous praise.

The actor felt that his comedic persona fit him perfectly, making it easier to become Eddie McCuen.

“He’s funny because he’s not funny,” Arroyo said. “Eddie’s a really goofy guy, and a little crazy and a lot of people don’t really like his jokes so I saw some of that in me.”

The comedy horror show introduced various amounts of showy personalities, which brought the viewers into a series of twists, turns, and unexpected revelations.

Shardonaye Moyes,11, an audience member who enjoyed the performance, appreciated the work that was clearly displayed upon the stage.

“You could see the effort because there were a lot of lines and some of them had to sing,” Moyes said. “They all did very well.”

John Bishop’s The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 was expertly performed by the drama production class, and provided the attendees a night full of mystery solving, and humor.