Arts & Entertainment

In this whodunit, audience members are the ultimate detectives

Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre’s ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ opens Nov. 9.
Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre’s ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ opens Nov. 9. Courtesy of Chelsea Leurn

The latest Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre show gives new meaning to the term “whodunit” – even the actors don’t know the identity of the murderer day-to-day.

That’s because “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” doesn’t have a set ending. Instead, it’s determined by the audience.

It’s part of the fun of the show, which opens Friday at the Uptown Theatre in Richland.

“It could literally have a different ending each night,” said Emily Richman, director. “Who did it will be different every night.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16-17 and 23-24.

The musical debuted on Broadway in the mid-1980s, winning five Tony Awards.

It’s based on the final novel of Charles Dickens, who died before he finished writing the story.

“When we get to the part where he stopped, the audience has to help,” Richman said.

If you’re the type who fears audience participation, don’t worry: it’s not a put-you-on-the-spot type of show.

But the chance to be involved and help direct the story makes for an engaging and memorable time, Richman said.

And the actors have risen to the challenge of learning multiple endings, she said. Several also play multiple parts, as “Drood” features a show-within-a-show.

“I’m really excited about the way the cast is gelling,” she said. “They’ve all jumped in.”

The cast includes Elizabeth Andersen, Scott Bay, Kory Carterby, Kela Dyck, Hannah Evans, Betsy Flowers, Garrett Heiman, Luis Hernandez-Merja, Avery Horton, Davin Jameson, Abigail Merz, Aaron-Michael Sintay, Alex Veysey, Karen Walley, Mary Weber and Chuck Wojnowski.

Katie Newman is directing assistant, with Ben Walley as music director and Katie Evans as choreographer.

Tickets start at $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $10 for students.

They’re available at Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music, Adventures Underground, Visit Tri-Cities and

“It is great fun,” Richman said. “From the moment (people) sit down, they’re going to be taken through this interactive theater experience. It’s a good night out. Go have dinner, come and see the show and vote on the ending. See what happens.”