Thursday, December 19, 2019

Melodrama Opens Season with Original Screenplay

Scrooged and Marley, with Ebenezer Scrooge and his Service Dog Marley, and the Water Glass Symphony


by Mary Wilson


For 35 years, the nonprofit Martin City Melodrama and Vaudeville Company has entertained audiences in Kansas City with their humorous take on show business and theater arts. After a rocky start to the beginning of the 35th season, starting with an actress with health issues and having to rewrite the script, in true theater fashion, Director Jeanne Beechwood determined that the show must go on.

The entire show’s premise was based around this specific actress and her service dog, so when it was determined that she was unable to perform, Beechwood got to work. She tapped an old friend in the business to see if he was available, and Beechwood and local actor Sean Taylor came up with a new show.

“The theater was opening in two weeks. We lost the dog, the girl and the Scrooge,” said Beechwood. “I was like, this is supposed to be our 35th season and it’s not looking so good. My dear friend Sean, who has done a lot of tech work here in town and is foolish enough to help me here when he can, stepped up to help me out.”

In two weeks’ time, the show was rewritten and the main dog was re-casted. While still the same premise, the dog in the show is not an actual service dog like the previous Marley. The traditional water glass symphony that Melodrama fans have come to love at Christmastime was written for four people, so Beechwood had to determine if the cast of two could pull it off.

“By the grace of God, it all came together,” said Beechwood. “The dogs outnumber us in this show.”

Scrooged and Marley features eight rescue dogs alongside the two actors. The show opened two weeks ago, with the premise that everyone dropped out, which works well for Beechwood and Taylor. They are able to play up the fact that they’re pulling off a show with a limited number of people.

“All that’s left is us old-timers,” said Beechwood. “And it works. We made it seem as though we could only put the show on if we used the theater’s rescue dogs.”

Scrooged and Marley and the Water Glass Symphony is playing now through January 1 at the Martin City Melodrama and Vaudeville Co., located at 702 E Blue Ridge Ext. in Grandview. For ticket information, visit martincitymelodrama.org, or call 913-642-7576. 

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