We are a cross-disciplinary team of PhD researchers from the University of Glasgow tasked with ensuring the historical and literary accuracy of the production (as far as an am-dram budget can stretch!). We will be blogging about our research findings, our experiences of working with community theatre, and asking members of the cast and production team to reflect on their experiences of working with us.
About the Show
Rupert Holmes’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood was the first Broadway musical to feature multiple endings and was the winner of the so-called ‘Triple Crown’ of Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score). The musical invites the audience to step back into 1892 to join the company of The Music Hall Royale on their premiere performance of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Herein we find a potential pitfall: Dickens died before he could complete his final novel and left no clue as to how it was supposed to end.
However, The Music Hall Royale believe they have come up with the perfect solution to this mystery that has eluded literary scholars for generations: an audience vote. During the production, the show stops abruptly to mark the point at which Dickens ‘laid down his pen forever’ and the Chairman of the music hall asks the audience to vote for the identity of the detective, Dick Datchery, the identity of the murderer and the two characters that become lovers at the musical’s conclusion.
We leave you with the song that inspired the name of this research project, ‘Settling Up the Score’, the opening number to Act 2 in which two sleuths (Detective Datchery and the Princess Puffer) have arrived in Cloisterham to solve the mystery of Edwin Drood.