Spotlight Issue: January 2001

County Players Brings You
The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940

County Players, Inc. presents the comedy whodunit The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 as their February production. This play, written by John Bishop, will be presented February 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17, 2001 at 8:00 PM at the County Players Falls Theater, 2681 West Main Street in Wappingers Falls. Tickets are $12 ($10 for seniors and children under 12).

The emphasis in the title is squarely on the word comedy although there is a dash of music and plenty of murder. In the story, such as it is, three chorus girls of a short lived musical comedy were slain by the mysterious “Stage Door Slasher” several years earlier. Now the survivors assemble to come up with a new musical comedy. There are enough red herrings in the plot to satisfy the hungriest of Vikings, enough twists to rival the Appalachian Trail. There are sliding doors, secret passages, and characters who may or may not be who they say they are. Audiences shiver with delight as the story unfolds, unable to mask their mirth over the insane doings of all the characters on stage. One New York theater critic said that the producers of this show should be sued for bodily injury resulting from the belly laughs in the audience.

The performers, all from the Hudson Valley, are Adam Baritot as the song writer Roger Hopewell, Kevin Barnes as the director Ken De La Maze, Stefanie Cutler as the young chorine Nikki Crandall, Jim DeSalvo as the Irish tenor Patrick O’Reilly, Bernice Edman as the producer Marjoie Baverstock, David Hayes as the struggling comedian Eddie McCuen, Zsuzsa Manna as the maid Helsa Wentzel, Anna Marie Martino as the wealthy patron Elsa Von Grossenknueten, John Wenz as Sergeant Kelly of the NYPD, and Julie Eads Woolley as the librettist Bernice Roth. But are they all who they say they are? Who is the Stage Door Slasher? Who will survive? For the answers to these questions, come to CP in February and be prepared to laugh, scream, and be surprised!

The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 is directed by Rian Keating in his County Players directorial debut. Keating, a resident of Cold Spring, is an experienced director with more than fifty productions to his credit in both regional and touring theater. He was the set decor artist for last year’s The Secret Garden and has appeared on the CP stage in Anything Goes and Baby.

For tickets to The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 call the box office at 845-298-1491

Upcoming Auditions

Auditions for the musical Pippin will be held February 4, 5, 2001 at 7:00 PM at the County Players Falls Theater, 2681 W. Main St., Wappingers Falls, NY. The Leading Player tells us the tongue-in-cheek story of Pippin, son of the 8th-Century King Charlemagne, who is on a quest to find his true calling in life. He goes through war, love, politics and other pursuits before settling down with a decent woman (Catherine) and her son. Growing restless with family life, he leaves and the Leading Player tries to seduce him into committing suicide. Pippin decides he loves the simple life with his new family: trapped, but happy. Production dates are in May, 2001. There will be a large cast of singers and dancers. For more details contact Director Tom Lawrence at 485-5848 or Production Manager Peter Edman at 297-7521.

County Players History

Twenty years ago: In February 1981, County Players produced Never Too Late about a middle aged couple who find themselves expecting a baby. Bernice Edman was the only member of that production still active today. If anyone else from that production is still in the area, we’d love to hear from you.

Ten years ago: February 1991, County Players produced Barefoot in the Park directed by Paul Bedford. The set was a top floor New York City apartment complete with sky light and city backdrop. We also had to make it snow on stage. That was the last time we used a snow making device until this year’s Musical Comedy Murders…

Happy New Year from

County Players

All of us at County Players would like to wish you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year. This year carries with it a great deal of literary baggage since Arthur C. Clarke wrote his famous piece 2001: A Space Odyssey and the subsequent film production. While clearly a work of science fiction, the message of hope was one that all can understand. And even though we don’t have commercial flights to the international space station yet, we hope that 2001 will be a year of growth and enlightenment for all.

From the President

As we welcome in the year 2001, CP will be welcoming in the riotous laugh comedy fest of The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. Directed by Rian Keating, this show opens on February 2, with a cast of 10 zany characters, of which three are making their CP stage debut.

Every year some of the local newspapers do a recap of the regional theater fare presented during the year 2000. On behalf of the Board of Governors, I’d like to extend sincere congratulations to the cast and production staff of The Last Night of Ballyhoo and The Secret Garden. These two CP shows were highlighted in the Taconic Weekend with several of the “best” shows presented in the valley last year.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Board of Governors recently passed a resolution to pay off the mortgage on the theater! Joe and Rachel Cassidy have volunteered to plan a perfectly grand celebration to be intertwined with our Annual Meeting in June. This is indeed quite an accomplishment so don’t miss the opportunity to join us for the “torching of the mortgage”. Information on date and time will be sent out in the Spring.

The Play reading Committee will soon be presenting a suggested slate for the 2001-2002 season to the Board of Governors. After that information is presented, the Board begins its job of reading shows that have been placed in contention, as well as reviewing credits of those wishing to direct for CP. Sometime in the early Spring, after all the reading and discussions take place, we will announce our approved slate for next year. Stay tuned!

Our web page continues to receive a lot of activity ( Remember, it’s a great way to find out information regarding show dates, audition dates, past history, pictures, production managers’ contact information and more. Questions or comments? E-mail us at

So don’t forget – if you haven’t already done so, please join us. Make it your New Year’s resolution to have some fun! The door to our theater is “always open”. Board meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month, 7 PM at the theater, and are open to the public. There is constantly something going on at CP, and we love to see new faces. Contact any one of our Production Managers, or leave a message on our Box Office line 298-1491.

Happy New Year!

Anna Marie Martino – President