Winter Park / Theatre: More of a ‘whozitdunto’ than a ‘whodunit’ |

Winter Park / Theatre: More of a ‘whozitdunto’ than a ‘whodunit’

The Grand Theatre Company presents the first of several summer plays on stage in Winter Park with “Murder at the Howard Johnsons.” Curtains open next Friday.

The show is a three-character play about a love triangle that goes awry and becomes deadly. The comic farce, by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick, “is more of a ‘whozitdunto’ than a ‘whodunit’,” said Kimberlee Nanda, company co-owner and oft-time talent with husband Tanny. “The plot skewers infidelity, marriage, and mid-life crisis.”

It attempts to answer whether it really is all fair in love and war as a love triangle leads to murder plots in a Howard Johnson Motor Inn.

As the play opens, audiences meet Paul Miller, a not-so-bright, used car salesman whose continual blundering led his wife to the arms of another man. Wife Arlene, a middle-aged “femme fatale” of sorts, plans to murder him. Then there’s Mitchell Lovell, an obvious and commonplace dentist who sees himself as a dashing, heroic type. He rounds out the geometrical disaster waiting to happen.

The plot thickens in Room 514l, where Arlene and her lover meet to murder Paul, whom they have lured to the motel under the false pretense of selling a used car to a Mexican investor.

“What follows is hilarious as the play unfolds scene after scene of jokes, physical comedy, sexual innuendo, and stereotyping that pokes fun at dentists, used car salesmen, and women finding themselves,” Nanda said.

The plot twists around during the second part of the play as Arlene finds out lover Mitchell has been unfaithful. She allies herself with husband Paul to do away with the devilish DDS. The play ends coming around full circle, with the two men, feeling foolish and betrayed by Arlene, joining forces against her.

“It’s a crazy farcical romp, full of one liners, as the plot twists and turns changing rooms at the motel, and of course, the intended murder victim. The trio’s lives remain intertwined throughout the year proving that no one is safe when murder is afoot.”

Actor Dylan M. Cox, who plays Paul Miller, has loved the theatre for as long as he can remember. After an 11-year hiatus serving in the Army, Cox decided to go back to school in order to follow his dream. Now with his bachelor of arts degree in theatre from Mesa State College, he has a wide range of characters under his belt. He said he is looking forward to this coming season and a bright future.

Jesse Iacovetto portrays Lovell. He graduated from Mesa State with a bachelor of arts degree in acting and directing in 2005. He recently moved back to Colorado from New York City. Iacovetto said he is excited to do some “real acting.” He has been in numerous productions such as “Fortinbras,” “Plough and the Stars,” and recently in a commercial for Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

“To be back in Colorado,” he said, “is amazing enough, but to say that acting is really my job now (no more serving!) is unbelievable.” This is his debut with The Grand Theatre Company and he couldn’t be happier … until September, when he gets to marry Sam Tucker (who plays the third character).

Tucker is also making her debut this summer with The Grand Theatre Company. After earning a bachelor of arts in acting and directing at Mesa State in 2006, she moved to New York City to audition and write for Show Business Weekly. But the call of the mountains forced her back to Colorado, she said. She is also a director and published short story author. Her performance is dedicated to her little brother, Specialist Ronald J. Tucker, who lost his life recently in Iraq.

The play is a light-hearted suspense comedy for all ages. It is rated PG-13 for adult content and language. As the combat dust settles, who will remain standing? To find out join the Grand Theatre Company during its special experimental show.

“Murder at the Howard Johnson’s” opens Friday, June 13, and will run in rotation with “How I Became a Pirate,” and “Lucky Stiff.” Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday. Patrons may also enjoy dessert and cocktail service for purchase during performances.

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