On Stage: Mary Fahl records, plays the songs she cherishes

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Mary Fahl

We all have songs that we fell in love with a long time ago and still cherish – songs that played a big part in forming music tastes that last a lifetime.

Some of us have downloaded them to a current file on our computers. Some of us have created specialized playlists on streaming services. Some, I’m sure, still have the original albums and singles on vinyl.

Mary Fahl, who will perform on June 9 at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, www.worldcafelive.com), has honored her favorites by making an album of special tunes — a collection of songs that she calls “essential” to her development as an artist.

The album, which is titled, “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” was released on July 22, 2022, on her own label, Rimar Records.

“I made it in Syracuse with my band and my producer Mark Doyle,” said Fahl, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon while returning from a gig in Maine.

“We finished it in early 2022. We mixed and mastered it in March 2022 and then released it in July 2022.”

These are the album’s 10 tracks and the artists who made the original versions — “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head,” ELO; “Ruby Tuesday,” Rolling Stones; “Tuesday Afternoon,” Moody Blues; “River Man,” Nick Drake; “Got A Feeling,” Mamas and Papas; “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” Neil Young; “Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd; “Since You’ve Asked,” Judy Collins; “Beware Of Darkness,” George Harrison; and “The Great Valerio,” Richard and Linda Thompson.

According to Fahl, “On top of all the madness that was happening in the world, I was grappling with the loss of my mother and sister this past year and was feeling completely rootless. In an effort to find an anchor, a link to the past, a sense of home, I began to immerse myself in the comfort of music from my youth.

“These were such essential songs for me… like old friends… my musical home in many ways. I fell in love with each of them at the quintessential coming-of-age moment when music goes straight into your heart with no filter and these songs became part of my musical DNA… I learned to play guitar with several of them – especially the early Neil Young songs.

“Most of these covers come from the first albums I ever bought using one of those Columbia House ‘get 12 free albums for a $1’ mail order programs. I played these records endlessly… and the lyrics on many of these songs still have a powerful resonance for me.”

Fahl knew exactly where she was going.

“I wanted to make a record that was special to me,” said Fahl. “I wanted to live in a place with all the music I grew up with. I learned guitar with Neil Young albums. I learned songwriting with Richard and Linda Thompson songs. Each song on this record has a very special meaning to me.

“I lost my mother and my older sister in the same year – lost a link to the past. I chose these songs because I still sing them and love them. They are part of my musical family. They got me out of a funk.”

The songs provide a comfort level for Fahl and her fans.

“The best compliment that I’ve been getting is that it brought people a lot of joy,” said Fahl.

“People really like my cover of ‘Tuesday Afternoon.’ That song gets the best audience response of anything I’ve done.”

Fahl performs concerts around the world and, every once in a while, gets to perform in her own neighborhood. Based in the Delaware Valley, the versatile singer with the haunting voice will have a hometown show at the WCL.

Once you’ve heard Fahl sing, you have her voice burned permanently into your memory bank. From that point on, if you hear a song by Fahl, you immediately know who is singing.

In 2011, Fahl recorded her own version of one of rock’s all-time classics — Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Fahl re-interpreted the songs on an album she titled “From the Dark Side of the Moon.

Fahl, who was a member of the October Project 20 years ago, went solo in 2001. Prior to this year, her recorded output as a solo artist has been slim — “Lenses of Contact” EP in 2001, “The Other Side of Time” album in 2003, “Classics for a New Century” in 2003 and “From the Dark Side of the Moon” in 2011.

Fahl’s solo releases include “Love and Gravity,” “Four Songs,” “Winter Songs and Carols,” and “Mary Fahl: Live from Mauch Chunk Opera House,” which is a project that included a live album, a performance DVD and a PBS special.

Many of Fahl’s fans have been with her ever since her time with October Project which lasted from 1993-1996.

For many artists, the task of re-inventing songs from an album as iconic as “Dark Side of the Moon” could have been too much of a challenge. Not so for Fahl who crafted a disc that honored its roots but established an identity all its own.

“After making the Sony classical album (“Classics for a New Century”), I wanted to do something that was fun,” said Fahl. “An independent filmmaker I knew wanted to use me in a performance piece. I wanted to do something that I didn’t have the ability to write.

“That’s when I decided to do the ‘Dark Side’ recording. It’s like a classical piece of music. I did not intend to make a cover record. It’s my version and it doesn’t sound at all like Pink Floyd’s version. But a lot of die-hard Pink Floyd fans have responded well. They like the album — and my live versions of the songs.”

Fahl has written and performed songs for several major motion pictures, including the lead song (“Going Home”) for the Civil War epic “Gods and Generals.” Her music can also be found on the original soundtrack of the 2003 movie “The Guys.”

Fahl is a singer, a guitarist and a songwriter. More than anything, she is a performer.

“Performing is my primary form of self-expression,” said Fahl. “When I do a show, I want to take you on a complete journey. I want to transform you.

“This will probably be the last concert of the album support tour which started last fall. The show at the World Café Live will have all the songs from the new album, some songs from October Project and some older songs from my solo work.”

Video link for Mary Fahl – https://youtu.be/8AOaV5Af2ZM?list=OLAK5uy_lhTOW8-IiA3wOw4iwXFbd5OVj46vjfNEw.

The show at the World Café Live on June 9 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 and $35.

Other upcoming shows at the World Café Live are STRUT! A Harlem Renaissance Cabaret on June 9, Re-Mus and Friends: Album Release Show on June 10, Catie Turner on June 13 and Larry & Joe on June 14.

Dar Williams

Dar Williams, who will be sharing the bill with Bruce Cockburn on June 8 at the Colonial Theatre (227 Bridge Street. Phoenixville, thecolonialtheatre.com) recently has been out on a support tour – but not a tour in support of a new album.

Williams has been touring in support of a newly released book, “How To Write A Song That Matters,” which was released on September 9 via Hachette Books.

But she also has been out on the road playing her music at venues around the East Coast.

“Mostly just touring,” said Williams, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from her home in New York’s Hudson Valley.

“I’ve been home a lot. I’ve been involved in community issues because of a book I wrote – trying to harmonize things in the community.

“I had a really busy fall. I was all over the country. I put out my latest book in September and then did a book tour all fall. I did concerts because it’s a book about songwriting. A big theme of the book is that we all have a song we could write. I did three-hour workshops in four or five cities.”

Williams’ normal schedule was thrown off by the pandemic.

“A lot of musicians had a very different time during COVID because we’re travelers,” said Williams. “I’m a traveler by trade.

“The last time I was in the studio was 2020 and I put the album out in 2021. I don’t think I’ll be going back in the studio for a while. I don’t have an album yet. But I’m always courting inspiration.”

Williams, who has recorded more than 20 albums, released her most recent album, “I’ll Meet You Here,” in October 2021 on BMG’s recently launched Renew label. Her most recent album prior to this was “Emerald,” which came out in 2015.

“There was a gap between albums because I did a book,” said Williams, a well-respected speaker/author/singer-songwriter.

“After I released ‘Emerald’ in 2015, I stopped writing songs for a while. I didn’t start writing songs again until 2017. Then, I recorded ‘I’ll Meet You Here’ in 2019.

“I was going to release it in 2020. But because of the pandemic, I moved the entire release up a year. It was just a year off and now it’s really full out.

“I recorded the album in North Jersey at a studio near Weehawken with producer Stewart Lerman. The core of the recording was done in a couple weeks in November 2019. Then, I did an intensive week in January 2020 with Stuart Smith, who plays with the Eagles.

“I sent a scratch track of the title song to Larry Campbell in Woodstock. I wanted to do it as a duet with bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and Larry Campbell.”

Campbell produced the track and played guitars, pedal steel and twangy baritone guitar. Later, they had to postpone a mid-March mixing date because Campbell said he wasn’t feeling well anyway which turned into a serious case of COVID-19.

“I had a schedule conflict, so we had to postpone the mixing date with Larry for day,” said Williams. “He was getting really sick and then found out he had COVID. He got very sick with COVID. We were very lucky because if we had done the mixing session, a lot of people could have contracted the disease.”

Despite encountering some speed bumps along the way, Williams was finally able to put the album out.

“The album officially came out on October 1,” said Williams. “We had a few singles that came out prior to the album release and that helped.”

The album has 10 songs including nine originals.

Even when Williams isn’t focusing on music, she still stays very busy.

“I’m working on a novel,” said Williams, who also handles the duty of being a mother to a young child. “I’ve also been writing songs. They’re not all written. I try to be disciplined and not go into the studio until I reach 80 per cent.

“I just taught a college course at Wesleyan University. Teaching at a university was great. I’ve also done some songwriting retreats and that’s been great too. I like to have different avenues rather than just recording and touring.”

One of those avenues has been writing books. Williams published two young-adult novels with Scholastic in the mid-2000s, along with a green blog for Huffpost, before she tackled her urban-planning study, published in 2017 – “What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities — One Coffee Shop, Dog Run & Open-Mike Night at a Time.”

In that book, Williams muses on why some towns flourish while others fail, examining elements from the significance of history and nature to the uniting power of public spaces and food. Drawing on her own travels and the work of urban theorists, Williams offers real solutions to rebuild declining communities.

“What I Found in a Thousand Towns” is more than a love letter to America’s small towns, it’s a deeply personal and hopeful message about the potential of America’s lively and resilient communities.

“It’s not a memoir,” said Williams. “It’s what I had seen from tours in my travels at towns that had found a way to be resilient – hometown pride and a world welcome. I followed that thread and tried to figure out what it was.

“I call it ‘positive proximity’ – a state of being in a town where people know that living side-by-side is beneficial…that the more they follow that proximity, the better life can be.

“I wrote about how to build positive proximity, how to maintain the benefits of positive proximity and how to sustain positive proximity.”

In her book, Williams looks at two area towns – Phoenixville and Wilmington.

“The Phoenixville chapter is about what happens when a town digs into its history and builds on that,” said Williams. “It is a town that has become a vibrant place because of that. The Wilmington chapter is about waterfronts – about how towns can come back to life by developing their waterfront areas with parks, restaurants and public spaces.”

Williams headed in an entirely different direction on her new book, “How To Write A Song That Matters.”

“I wanted to write a book that was written by a performing songwriter,” said Williams. “There is a broad and magical way that songs live in the world. Songs bring people back to times in their lives with new eyes.”

Williams is now in a multi-date tour with Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn, who is touring in support of his new album, “O Sun O Moon.”

“This is the first time I’ve toured with Bruce,” said Williams. “It’s been a dream. It’s like a master class. His new album is amazing, and the audiences are going nuts.”

Video link for Dar Williams – https://youtu.be/4-0tPKPbypk.

The show at the Colonial Theatre on June 8, which has Bruce Cockburn as the headliner, will start at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices start at $39.50.

Debra Devi is a modern-day Renaissance woman. She fronts a blues/rock band, is an author and has composed music for film and television.

On June 10, Devi will make her venue debut at Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985,www.jameyshouseofmusic.com).

The concert is sure to be a pleasurable experience for both the band and the audience.

Jamey’s is one of the premier music clubs in the Philadelphia suburbs and Devi is one of the most talented young blues/rock guitarists on the East Coast.

Devi plays powerful blues-rockers and blistering psychedelic jams flavored with her soulful voice and expressive guitar playing.

Devi’s new live EP, “Jamification Station Vol. 1,” captures her Jersey City band at full throttle. The EP reached #5 on the Relix/Jambands.com Top 30 Radio Chart and then stayed on the chart for three months.

Devi, who has lived all over the country, has called Jersey City home for the last six years.

“I was born in Florida — in Jacksonville– and then grew up in Milwaukee,” said Devi, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from her home in North Jersey. “Growing up in Milwaukee, I was exposed to a lot of Chicago blues.

“I went to high school in Milwaukee and then got a degree in economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

“I always wanted to be a writer, but my parents wanted me to choose a more practical career. I had a journalism minor at the University of Wisconsin and then got into Columbia University for grad school where I majored in journalism.

“I put it to good use. When I first was living in New York, I was a little punk rocker in the East Village. I also played in different kinds of bands. I had been playing electric guitar for about six months.

“I always loved the blues, so I started writing and singing my own songs. It was more 70s blues/rock than punk.”

Devi’s self-produced debut, “Get Free” (True Nature Records/Redeye), received raves from Vintage Guitar, Jambase, Marie Claire (Italy) and Guitar International.

“My guitar playing is very influenced by Chicago blues,” said Devi. “The first show I saw was Son Seals and Koko Taylor at the Metropole. I try to do what Son does – not play a lot of notes but just play the right note.

“Blues has been a guidepost ever since. Blues taught me what I know about music.

“My band and I play blues/rock with improvisation – with jamming. We love to improvise. People love that spontaneity.

“What is exciting today is the jam band scene. They’re taking flight from improvisation. I’m one of the few females in the jam band scene.”

Devi has opened for Joan Osborne, Jesse Malin, Ana Popovic, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, Uprooted (Michael Glialiki) and Marshall Crenshaw. In 2023, she co-headlined the Haverford Music Festival with Joe Louis Walker and The Bongos, and the East Pete Blues Festival with Greg Sover.

Gov’t Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson joined Devi on her previous EP, “A Zillion Stars Overhead.”

“I released that album in April 2020 – not a good time to do that with the pandemic just starting,” said Devi. “My most recent album is ‘Jamification Station Vol. 1.’”

“Jamification Station Vol. 1” is a live EP culled from Devi’s livestream show, “Jamification Station,” hosted by American Blues Scene. Four tracks capture Devi and her band at full throttle, from catchy “Home Again” to a blistering rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic.” Also featured is a soulful blues-rocker, “Get Free” and uplifting Southern-rock tune “The River.”

The EP was released on June 20, 2022. Musicians on the recording were: Debra Devi – vocal, guitar; Kevin Jones – bass, background vocal; John Roccesano – drums, background vocal; and Martin Schmid – keys, background vocal.

All songs recorded live by Roccesano at Silver Horse Sound in Hoboken, New Jersey except “The River,” which was recorded live by Corey Zack at The Cocoon in Jersey City. It was produced by Devi and Roccesano, mixed by Roccesano and mastered by Fred Kevorkian.

“We did 27 Livestream concerts during the pandemic,” said Devi. “Right now, we’re mixing ‘Jamification Station Vol. 2’.

Devi is the author of the popular book, “The Language of the Blues” (foreword by Dr. John) which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. The book is blurbed by Bonnie Raitt, Joe Bonamassa, Hal Willner, Ministry singer Al Jourgensen, Ed Sanders, Bob Margolin and Jimmy Vivino.

Devi composes and performs songs for film and television, including “Tenderness” (Laura Dern, Russell Crowe), “Getting Off” (Christine Harnos, Brooke Smith), “Driven-Tim McGraw” (VH-1), “Fight LIke a Girl” (Maureen Shea, Kimberly Tomes).

Her screenplay “The South Bronx Entrepreneurship Club” is a Big Apple Film Festival semi-finalist, adapted from the book “Goodbye Homeboy: How My Students Drove Me Crazy” and “Inspired a Movement,” which she co-authored with former special education teacher and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship founder Steve Mariotti.

Devi is truly a modern-day Renaissance woman.”

Video link for Debra Devi — https://youtu.be/4SEXuRamheQ.

The show at Jamey’s on June 10 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 online advance and $25 at the door.

On June 9, Jamey’s will host Trudy Lynn.

Lynn is an American electric blues and soul blues singer and songwriter, whose recorded work has been released on 12 studio albums, one live album, and four compilation albums. Her professional singing career began in the mid-1960s, when she sang with the guitarist Albert Collins and then later, Clarence Green.

The show at Jamey’s on June 9 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 online advance and $35 at the door.

Jamey’s House of Music is a prime destination to hear folk, jazz and blues music every Thursday through Sunday.

The “Jazz at Jamey’s” on Thursdays and the “Sunday Blues Brunch & Jam” are regular features on Jamey’s calendar while Friday and Saturday night shows feature national and regional acts.

On June 8, “Jazz at Jamey’s” will feature a performance by Suzie Telep.

Fans of comedy throughout the Brandywine Valley will tell you that “Better Than Bacon” is a top-flight improvisational comedy act.

For the last 12 years, Better Than Bacon has been generating laughter at its performances and has become a local favorite with its frequent shows at Kennett Flash and Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center.

On June 9, Better Than Bacon will make a return visit to the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center with a show at 7:30 p.m.

Better Than Bacon Improv is a short form improv comedy troupe based in West Chester. BTB performs short skits and games based on audience suggestions, often inviting audience members on stage.

Improv comedy is a one-time only performance without scripts or nets. What audiences experience in one show will never be seen again. The spontaneity of improv makes improvisational comedy one of the most challenging forms of comedy.

BTB’s current troupe members hail from all over the Philly suburbs including Malvern, Exton, West Chester, Kennett Square, and Phoenixville. The troupe’s artistic backgrounds include improv, acting, stand-up comedy, and music.

The cast includes comedians Lauren Henry, Bob Curran, Jack Dibeler, Brett Heller, Lauren Burawski, Sarah Hennessey, Susan Price, Greg Faber, Dan Freed, David James and Kevin O’Connell.

“We’ve been together professionally since 2011,” said Henry, during a phone interview from her home in West Chester.

“We all live in Chester County except for a few in Swarthmore and Wilmington.

“It started with a bunch of us meeting at Chester County Night School in West Chester. We got to be friends, took classes and picked up more people. We decided to start our own troupe and found a director. The committed people stayed.

“We had our first gig at Kennett Flash in June 2011. We have regular dates at Uptown, Kennett Flash and Media Arts Council. We play mostly in Chester County and northern and central Delaware. We don’t play Philly because of territorial turf wars.”

In a fashion similar to the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” the members of the troupe make up every single word and perform every single action completely on-the-spot…and it’s all driven by audience suggestions. Every show is a brand-new experience.

“We have 15-16 games in a show,” said Henry, who graduated from York College with a degree in radio and television communication. “It’s like ‘Whose Line Is It?” We call one of the sketches ‘the guessing game.’”

Even though the shows are improv shows, BTB still spends a lot of time and effort rehearsing.

“We still rehearse after all these years,” said Henry. “We get together every week for about two hours. Uptown allows us to practice at their place.

“Everything we do in our shows is spontaneous. It’s a very interactive show. Everything we do is based on audience suggestion.”

Video link for Better Than Bacon – https://youtu.be/Y5sem4ZDsl4.

The show at the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center on June 9 will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $30.

On June 10, Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center will present a show by SHARP Dance Company.

Since 2005, SHARP Dance Company has been touring nationally and internationally and has performed in more than 30 cities in the US. They were selected as one of 11 artists worldwide to attend the BAU Institute in Italy as artists-in-residence. They were also invited to Paros, Greece for a two- week artist residency, and have performed in Bedford, England as part of the BedFringe Festival. This performance will be the Company’s Uptown premiere.

The company’s theory of “meaning behind movement” is prominent throughout their work. SHARP feels that dance should be more than a performance, it should be an experience. SHARP blends classic dance technique with intriguing stories that speak to the human experience — creating an artistic experience that is relatable to all.

The show at the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center on June 10 will start at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

On June 9, Mt. Cuba Center (3120 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin, Delaware, mtcubacenter.org) will host The Ladybug Music Festival Garden Crawl.

The Ladybug Music Festival Garden Crawl brings performers from The Ladybug Festival — Delaware’s celebration of regional female musicians — to Mt. Cuba for a music-filled evening.

Visitors can enjoy food, drinks, and a variety of live performances as they “crawl” through the gardens.

There will be three concert locations with each hosting two sets of live music.

West Chester native Nicole Zell will headline the show at “Ponds” with Phyllis Chapell as the opener.

The “Main Lawn” will host Madhavi Devi and You Do You and the “Upper Lawn” will feature Caroline Hermance and Gretchen Emery Band.

The event, which runs from 5:30-9:30 p.m., is included with garden admission – Adults, $15; Children (ages 6-17), $8; Children (ages five and under), free.

For the last 15 years, Music at Snipes Farm (890 W Bridge St, Morrisville, musicatsnipesfarm.com) has hosted a special music event called “In & Out of the Garden We Go.”

This year’s event is scheduled for June 9 and 10.

Steal Your Face will headline Friday night. The bill will also feature Diamond Eye Jack, Friends of Jerry, Friends of the Devil, Justin Love,

Saturday co-headliners will be Johnny Lit’s Jury Duty and Jawn of the Dead. Also on the Saturday line-up will be Lovelight, Three Fourteen, Reality Check Experiment, OTC, and Bobby Beetcut.

Ticket prices start at $55.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Americana jam band Sugar Lime Blue with special guest Nicholas Lurwick on June 9 as part of the Kennett Flash Rooftop Series.

On June 11, the Legendary Kennett Flash Open Mic will be held at the club with Butch Zito as the host.

Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will present Mike Farris on June 9, Chazz Palminteri on June 11 and Robert Randolph Band on June 14.

This is also a good weekend for theater fans as there are two topflight productions running in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music, and Arden, Delaware at the Candlelight Dinner Theatre.

The Academy of Music will feature “Beetlejuice.”

“Beetlejuice” is a lot of different things.

Most obviously, it is a 1988 American fantasy horror comedy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton as the titular character.

“Beetlejuice” was an animated television series that ran for four seasons on CBS and Fox. “Beetlejuice” was also the action hero in a series of video games in the early 1990s.

Most relevantly, “Beetlejuice” is a Broadway musical that is now out on a National Tour – a tour that will sit down in Philadelphia now through June 11 at the Academy of Music as part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Broadway Series.

The plot revolves around a recently deceased couple – Barbara and Adam Maitland — who, as ghosts haunting their former home, contact Beetlejuice, an obnoxious and devious “bio-exorcist” from the Netherworld, to scare away the house’s new inhabitants.

Based on Tim Burton’s dearly beloved film, this hilarious musical tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a strange and unusual teenager whose whole life changes when she meets a recently deceased couple and a demon with a thing for stripes.

“Beetlejuice” has been described as “one of the cheekiest shows on the 2022-23 Broadway season, with a visually spectacular set and over 100 special effects, optical illusions, and pyrotechnics.”

The National Tour features Justin Collette in the title role.

“I really liked the script,” said Collette, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Boston. “I was surprised at how fresh and funny it was – how it was updated. It’s so funny – and so smart. I don’t think it bends the original story – it expands it.

“It’s focused more on the Maitlands’ story – and on Lydia. And there is some really good music from the movie. Eddie Perfect’s music is perfect.

“The Maitlands are strait-laced so it’s more like musical theater. Beetlejuice’s music is all over the place while Lydia’s music is gothic and punk. It’s fascinating how he has pitched the music to the character.

“The show is complicated. It’s not just a musical. There are magic tricks. It’s really dense. There is a lot to it. And the fourth wall brings the audience in.

Video link for “Beetlejuice” – https://youtu.be/JJGpcb41Ckw.

The show will run now through June 11 at the Academy of Music.

Ticket prices start at $20.

Every season, the Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) presents mostly musicals with just one non-musical in the season’s schedule. That show this season is “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” which is a murder mystery. The action takes place on an estate in Chappaqua, New York in December 1940.

An eccentric heiress has invited a group of theater people to her home on the pretense of holding a backer’s audition for a new musical. The creative team for this new project was also involved in a recent Broadway flop that closed abruptly when three of its showgirls were mysteriously murdered.

As the mayhem at the mansion unfolds, murders begin to pile up and everyone’s a suspect. The zany show features a lot of slapstick comedy along with blizzard conditions, secret passageways and musical snippets.

The play was first performed at the Circle Repertory Company in New York and later moved to Broadway in April 1987 at The Longacre Theatre. Both productions were directed by the playwright and shared the same cast. The play is said to have been based on several 1940s mystery movies, including The Cat and the Canary, one of Bob Hope’s first films.

Bernice Roth is a perpetually thirsty lyricist and alcoholic. She is Roger’s partner. Bernice is very odd and emotional, frequently losing her composure and screaming. When Marjorie fails to respond to the second act opening number of “White House Merry-Go-Round,” Bernice is hugely offended, despite the fact that Marjorie was dead at the time. She spends the entire second act attempting to “fix” the play, even when she is held hostage.

The production at Candlelight features a standout cast of Susan Giddings, Chelsea Paradiso, Susan Wefel, Henry Glejzer, Walter Todd, Chris Fitting, Sarah Mackus, Robert Gene Pellechio, Samantha Ricciuti and Shaun Yates.

“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” is running now through June 25. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.). Tickets, which include dinner and a show, are $71.50 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

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