Northern Spotlight Theater brings comedy whodunit to life
Set in Superior in the 1930s, "The Butler Did It!" is a farce based on Agatha Christie novels.
SUPERIOR — A murder mystery whodunit wrapped in comedy opens March 3 on the Douglas County Historical Society stage.
“The Butler Did It!” — a farce based on Agatha Christie’s novels — invites the audience to travel back to Superior in the 1930s. The Covington family has invited the world’s greatest mystery author to visit their mansion. When a body is found in the kitchen, it's a race against time to find culprit.
Northern Spotlight Theater, the same group that staged “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at the historical society, will present the comic mystery.
“It has been amazing to see the talented actors that are in our community, and to have the chance to work with them,” said director Miranda Stachowicz. “This show is so funny and they are doing a great job of bringing the comedy to life.”
Audience members can expect to be transported to the past, with period set pieces and costumes including a radio cabinet from the historical society’s collection.
“We’re finding a lot of old sort of statement pieces that are related to the 1930s. We’ve been spending a lot of our time trying to find authentic costume pieces and stage items,” said stage manager Taber Jackson.
The publishing company gave Northern Spotlight Theater permission to change the location from England to Superior. The story unfolds at Starkweather Mansion in Superior’s East End neighborhood.
“So we changed the train schedule and we have a lot of nods to Superior,” Stachowicz said. “And we will have a picture of Mr. Banks from Banks Avenue above the fireplace, but it’s down in the archives right now. We’re trying to find lots of different ways to pay homage to the local history.”
As she outlined designs on the set walls Thursday, Feb. 16, Jackson found herself drawn to the performance.
“When everyone’s on stage it’s super interesting to watch because we have a lot of good actors out here … Everybody’s always doing something entertaining, like the whole show, so it’s super fun to watch that,” she said.
The actors said they’re having fun, as well.
“I like this because this is actually a community theater,” said Richard Stevens, who plays Fr. Timothy.
He called Fr. Timothy a chatterbox busybody. Is he also a murderer? That remains to be seen. Stevens said he’s enjoyed working with Stachowicz and the rest of the cast.
“It’s been great. Miranda is so laid back and not a whip-cracker. She’s allowing us to flesh out our characters as we see fit and grow as our characters as we see fit,” Stevens said.
He encouraged people to come to the show.
“They should come because it’s a good row of a whodunit complete with laughter,” Stevens said.
The play will be performed at 7 p.m. March 3, 4, 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m. March 5 and 12 at the Douglas County Historical Society, 1101 John Ave. Tickets can be purchased online through the Douglas County Historical Society. Visit the Douglas County Historical Society website or Northern Spotlight Theater LLC Facebook page for more information.
In keeping with the mystery theme, the group’s next production will be “Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregular.” Registration opened Jan. 18 for the May production, which will feature students ages 7-18.
This story was updated at 9:20 a.m. March 1 with the correct last name for Dayton Lytle in the photo captions. It was originally posted on Feb. 21 at 7 a.m. The Superior Telegram regrets the error.