The Mid Ohio Valley Players will offer their next performance of social distance theatre this Friday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m. MOVP invites you to join them on Zoom as they present the sixth installment of WMOVP Radio Theatre. This week WMOVP Radio Theatre takes on a new genre, the classic detective drama. Director Vanessa Rake said, “After reading through a variety of detective scripts we settled on a classic Ellery Queen script, ‘The Adventure of a Murdered Ship.’”  It features Ellery Queen following clues to the sinking of an American warship in World War II. How did the enemy know the exact location of the American ship? Is it true that loose lips can sink ships?  Rake explained, “What makes it different and exciting for us to do in this format is that the audience gets a chance to try to solve the mystery before the solution is revealed.”

Founding Director, Suzanne Walker, who produces each episode through the Zoom Webinar account that her employer, Marietta College, allows their employees to use to help promote the arts or community involvement, explained, “One of the features of the Zoom Webinar is a Q&A. We’ve been exploring ways to get the audience more involved and when we saw that the Ellery Queen scripts were designed to take a break about two-thirds of the way through each episode so that the listening audience could try to solve the mystery, we knew we had to try it.” 

Audience members will be asked to post their answers to the Q&A board. Those who correctly identify key clues or perhaps even solve the crime will have their answers posted on the Mid Ohio Valley Players, Inc. Facebook page, earning bragging rights. “It is not an easy mystery to solve,” said Walker. “Listeners will need to know some WWII history and familiarity with code puzzles to solve the crime.” Ben Bradley, who plays Ellery Queen and is a newcomer to social distance theatre, has enjoyed the experience. “During this time, which has been challenging for entertainment venues, I am thrilled to be part of this amazingly creative marriage of an old radio program and 21st-century videoconferencing technology.”

The Adventures of Ellery Queen was a radio detective program that ran from 1939 to 1948. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (1998) written by John Dunning characterized Ellery Queen as a private detective who was often brought into cases by his father, a police inspector. Dunning commented, “Queen was portrayed throughout as a modern-day Sherlock with a fine eye for clues.”

Sean Shoop, who plays Sergeant Velie, Ellery Queen’s aid, has been a regular member of the WMOVP Radio Theatre troupe of actors, “I’ve really enjoyed participating in ‘social-distance theatre’ the last couple months. It’s a fun, new challenge and I feel lucky to have an outlet during these crazy times. I’ve always loved watching/reading the mystery genre and this show has introduced me to Ellery Queen. I viewed a few older episodes after being cast to get a feel for the tone of the show and the different characters.”

To view the live performances, join on the webinar link or call in to hear the audio at 301-715-8592 or 312-626-6799, Webinar ID: 936 2677 9110.

Next week, June 19, at 7:00 p.m. WMOVP Radio Theatre will return to the show that started MOVP’s social distance theatre with another episode of Father Knows Best.  The same cast will be back to help the valley celebrate Father’s Day with “Father’s Day Picnic.”

For those who missed the previous live broadcasts, the episodes are now available to view on the theatre’s Facebook page under the video tab.