By Serra Muscatello - Journal Writer
NEW ULM - Have you ever tried to throw a party one hour after the host has been murdered?
It's not as easy as it sounds.
Students participating in the play include: (front row left to right) Matthew Penkert, Taylor Tambornino, Abigail Matthews (standing), Clay Sletta (kneeling), Jenna Britz (on the floor), Leslie Wiltscheck (crouching), and Chris Huber (holding the camera). Pictured in the back (left to right): Peder Johnson, Britta Babel, Taylor Larson, Meia Kjellberg, Kendra Clyne, Bridget Forst, Marissa Johnson, Mikyla Denney, Hannah Jakal and Elyce Nelson.
Seventh and eighth grade students from New Ulm Public School will present the comedy-mystery play in two acts called "It's Murder in the Wings." Performances will be held March 13, 14, and 15 at the New Ulm Middle School auditorium.
The play tells the story of Maddie (played by Abigail Matthews) who is an editor of the Wings Publishing Company. She learns that her boss has suddenly died right before a contract-signing party that will save the business.
The in-house staff - Tyrolia (played by Marissa Johnson), Kitty (played by Bridget Forst), and Doris (played by Mikyla Denney) - react to the news with their 'usual' grace.
Tyrolia begins looking for other work, Kitty attempts to hide the body and Doris has an urge for doughnuts.
They need to keep this murder under wraps until the notorious author Lionel Upshaw signs a contract that will bring about a new loan from J.B. Odell and save the company.
Nelva Odell (played by Jenna Britz) finds the body, a television crew shows up to film the festivities and the the late boss' new fiancee arrives. Then add ... a hack writer who assists in getting rid of evidence, an actress - now employed as a caterer (her crab puffs keep crawling off) and a janitor who carries a gun ... and you have "It's Murder in the Wings!"
The play is directed and produced by Wendy Tuttle.
"It's fun," said Tuttle, "It has some really cute lines in it."
Auditions for the play were held right after Christmas break. Rehearsals for the show began in mid-January, Tuttle said.
"They were really nice kids to work with," said Tuttle, "They've been a delight."
The play involves 17 students.
"Most of the kids have never been on stage before ... they're doing a great job," said Tuttle, "The thing with acting is ... that you become someone else."
Sheldon Rieke is in charge of set and technical aspects of the show. Carolyn Drexler handles the costumes/designs for the play. Make-up and hair is being done by Tracy Denney, and publicity is handled by Carrie Forstner and Patty Matthews.
The student directors are Kelsey Neigebauer and Alexa Forstner.
This will be the last year Tuttle will get to work with Forstner because she will be graduating. The two have worked together in about 10 or 11 shows.
"She's just wonderful," said Tuttle.
Tuttle also said that Neigebauer has also been great to work with during the rehearsals.
During the set changes, the Olio performers will go into action. The "Olios," who are directed by Jerilyn Kjellberg, will entertain the audience with little poetry readings, songs and other entertaining numbers.
"This is a show that older kids (fourth grade on up) would enjoy," said Tuttle, "I think most people would enjoy it."