Husband, Wife from Columbia Team Up to Produce Next Play

A husband and wife team from Columbia is producing the upcoming William Woods University theater production—the popular farce, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” by John Bishop.

The play will be guest-directed by Melissa Alpers-Springer, WWU adjunct instructor. Her husband, Dan Springer, is the guest scenic artist.

Joe Potter, artistic director and assistant professor of theatre at William Woods, promises “Murders” to be “A hilarious evening of theatre that pokes fun at both musical comedies and murder mysteries from the 1940s.”

Performances are scheduled for Feb. 22, 23, March 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. in Dulany Auditorium. A matinee performance is scheduled for Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Alpers-Springer is a veteran of community theatre. She has been involved with Springfield Little Theatre, Ozarks Area Community Theatre in Cabool, Mo., Clowns and Criers Community Theatre in Shelbina, Mo., and Columbia Entertainment Company Theatre School and Chalkboard Theatre, both in Columbia. She also teaches at the University of Missouri.

Alpers-Springer holds a BFA in theatre and interpretation from Southwest Missouri State University and an M.A. in theatre history, theory and criticism from Northwestern University. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in theatre at MU.

Her husband, Dan Springer, is in charge of scenic design. Springer has been working in theatre professionally for more than 20 years. He graduated from SMSU with a BFA in theatre with an emphasis in design. After graduation, he traveled around the Midwest as a stage carpenter, prop artist and freelance scenic designer.

In 1997, Springer was hired as scene shop supervisor for the University of Missouri theatre department, where he currently instructs students in the building of about 10 shows a year. He continues to design scenery outside of MU. Most recently, he has been resident designer for Theatre Reaching Young People and Schools (TRYPS), a children’s theatre based in Columbia.

Springer’s recent credits include “Little House on the Prairie,” “Bunnicula” and “Icabod.” Together the couple has produced “The Pajama Game” twice, “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Androcles and the Lion.”

The production of “Murders” combines the efforts and talents of community members and students. The cast includes two community actors. Suzy Johnston of Fulton, Callaway County circuit clerk, will play the role of Elsa Von Grossenknueten. Jody Paschal of Auxvasse, a recent WWU graduate, will play Roger Hopewell.

Cast members from the William Woods student body are Lindsey Pace, a freshman from Rolla, Mo., as Helsa Wenzel; Ryan Paul, a freshman from Olathe, Kan., as Michael Kelly; Jared Krichevsky, a sophomore from Culver City, Calif., as Patrick O’Reilly; Jason Flauaus, a sophomore from St. Charles, Mo., as Ken De La Maize; Jamie Heisler, a freshman from Portland, Ore., as Nikki Crandall; Grant Lierheimer, a junior from Mexico, Mo., as Eddie McCuen; Erin Hux, a junior from Fulton, as Marjorie Baverstock; Christy Pinz, a sophomore from St. Peters, Mo., as Bernice Roth. Lindsey Mertes, a sophomore from Branson, Mo., is the stage manager.

This farce starts with the production team of a recent Broadway flop traveling to the Westchester estate of the wealthy backer of their next show. The estate has sliding doors, secret passageways and a Berman maid who has to be seen to believe. Soon strange things start happening as sprung knives, dead bodies and masked figures begin to appear.

Are these murders the work of the diabolical “Stage Door Slasher?” To make matters worse, a blizzard traps everyone at the estate making it impossible to leave. Just when it seems the worst, a bumbling police inspector snowshoes into the estate to investigate.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and $5 for children ages 3-12. For tickets, call the box office at (573) 592-4267. For more information, call Potter at (573) 592-4281.