Mystery, drama and holiday tidings found in theater lineup

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For SVSU’s Theatre Department, the fall semester is already in full swing.

Their first production of the year has been cast, with a second round of auditions starting next week.

Their season opens with the comedy “The Game’s Afoot,” followed by the drama “Safe,” along with other productions.

“The Game’s Afoot” is a murder mystery comedy by noted playwright Ken Ludwig. When a body turns up at his dinner party, Broadway star William Gillette must learn to think like his greatest role, Sherlock Holmes, to crack the case.

“It’s hilarious,” said professor Steven Erickson, the show’s director. “It has some extraordinary, farcical scenes that will have everyone in stitches.”

Erickson noted his admiration for Holmes.

“In real life, Gillette was famous for playing Holmes,” Erickson said. “He made the role his own.”

The real Gillette is often credited for coining Holmes’ now immortal catchphrase “elementary, my dear Watson” and went on to play the sleuth in the very first Sherlock Holmes film.

SVSU’s Gillette will be played by theatre junior Jonah Conner and star alongside theatre senior Amanda Moths.

“The Game’s Afoot” will run from Wednesday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 11th, in the Malcolm Field Theatre.

“Safe” is an award-winning drama by playwright Donna Hoke.

Nancy’s life has been shaped by two emotionally abusive men, her father and husband, and she is horrified to find that her son is becoming every bit as cruel.

“The play deals with lots of important themes,” said professor and director David Rzeszutek. “I think it’s very necessary.”

Rzeszutek was approached by Road Less Traveled Productions, a theatre in Buffalo with a notable reputation (its advisory board includes movie star Alec Baldwin). The theater sought out Rzeszutek to see if he was interested in producing “Safe” here at SVSU as a sort of trial run months ahead of the official premiere in March.

“I was very, very interested,” Rzeszutek said. “I love our students getting to work on a new, developing play. So many times, we’re working with a playwright that’s long dead. This show literally hasn’t debuted yet.”

“Safe” will audition Monday, Sept. 21, in the Malcolm Field Theatre and Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Curtiss 181; it will run from Wednesday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 22, in the Malcolm Field Theatre.

“This is a big semester for us, as always,” said Ric Roberts, SVSU Theatre’s Department Chair. “Two main shows, yes, but then Alpha Psi Omega’s “Evening of Scenes” and Work N’ Progress comedy shows throughout the semester. We have the annual 1940s Radio Show for Christmas, too.”

For more information on auditions and performances, visit or the theatre office, Curtiss 185.