Maple Ridge actress in musical mystery

Emily Nadeau appears in The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the Metro Theatre

Emily Nadeau is in the ensemble cast.

Emily Nadeau is in the ensemble cast.

Charles Dickens meets Choose Your Own Adventure in Fighting Chance’s production of Rupert Holmes’ Tony Award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which features Maple Ridge actress Emily Nadeau.

In The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Holmes hands the reins of Dickens’ unfinished whodunit to the audience, who nightly must decide just how that performance will end.

It’s a feature that delights audiences and keeps the actors on their toes, according to Ryan Mooney, director of Fighting Chance’s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood

“We’re excited to explore as many different outcomes as possible,” said Mooney.

The outcome is decided by way of an audience vote at intermission.

“You can watch our production every night, and see a different ending each and every time,” said Mooney. “It’s musical theatre at its most dazzling and organic.”

Though The Mystery of Edwin Drood is rooted in Dickens’ bleak Victorian novel, the musical is as fun and festive as a British cabaret. This wildly warm-hearted theatrical experience kicks off when the Music Hall Royale ‘puts on’ its flamboyant rendition of an unfinished Dickens mystery. The story itself deals with John Jasper, a Jekyll-and-Hyde choirmaster who is madly in love with his student, Miss Rosa Bud, who is, in turn, engaged to Jasper’s nephew, Edwin Drood.

Drood disappears mysteriously one stormy Christmas Eve, but has Drood been murdered? And if so, then whodunit? It’s a musical mystery marathon to the finish as the audience and actors together decide the fate of young Edwin Drood.

“February 2012 marks 200 years since the birth of Charles Dickens,” noted Mooney, who directed a concert version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood for APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert in 2007.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Dickens’ birthday than by engaging with the final characters he created.”

This particular production finds Fighting Chance in its largest venue, and with its largest orchestra to date.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the 23rd show that Fighting Chance Productions has mounted since its debut production in 2007.

Previous productions included Rent, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Wiz, and The Laramie Project.

Fighting Chance’s mandate is to present new or rarely produced shows in the Lower Mainland, as well as to provide opportunities to emerging performers and production crew.

Fighting Chance’s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood stars Alex McMorran (John Jasper), Jack Rigg (Chairman), Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud (Drood), Jennifer Doan (Rosa Bud), Alfonso Banzon (Neville Landless), Emma Rendell (Helena Landless), Mike Wild (Reverend Crisparkle), Linda Leong Sum (Princess Puffer), Chris Lam (Bazzard), James Walker (Durdles) and Jesse Setka (Deputy).

The ensemble features Gordeon Bruce, Mitchell Bryce, Emma Cawood, Lindsay Corbett, Angela Cotton, Spencer Fisher, Jeremy Fornier-Hanlon, Emily Nadeau, Jessica Nicklin, Nicole Smashnuk and Andrew Wade.

With musical direction by Vashti Fairbairn and choreography by Dawn Ewen.

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Box office

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Feb. 18 to March 3, Metro Theatre (1370 Southwest Marine Drive, Vancouver, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $10-$30 at the door, or 604-684-2787