Playhouse ready to solve mysteries on and off stage

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— The biggest mystery to solve this spring at the 7th Street Playhouse's production of a Sherlock Holmes play doesn't involve the plot of an elusive blackmailer and the search for the mother of Sherlock's daughter.

What really has the cast and crew scratching their heads is how to fit eight different scene changes on the little stage at the playhouse.

"Eight scene locations on that stage is tough," said Rusty DeLucia.

Another mystery is how the cast can deal with two key roles falling vacant for a week because the actors are participating in "Cabaret." Cesare Rosati, who plays Sherlock, and Aly Matthews, who plays Lady Carrington, Sherlock's employer, both took this week off from rehearsals to perform in "Cabaret."

Meanwhile, another actor fell ill, leading to some last-minute replacements.

However, as the old yet fitting saying goes, the show must go on. As the cast moves into its last week of rehearsals, dilemmas are being worked out, lines are being secured and hopes for a good performance are high.

DeLucia, first-time stage manager Lia Kozatch and the crew will pull off the eight scene changes on the small stage with some creative, and precise, stage managing. Furthermore, though their roles are important, Rosati and Matthews' absences are being overcome by the ample acting experience both bring to the stage.

So when the curtain rises, an entertaining mystery will be ready for the audience, DeLucia said.

"I love Sherlock Holmes," she said. "I think it's loads of fun."

The play, "Sherlock's Veiled Secret," tells the story of Sherlock coming out of retirement to find a blackmailer-turned-murder suspect. Dr. Watson is out of the country, so Sherlock attempts to enlist the help of his estranged daughter, Violet (Sonja Brown), who has a connection to the case.

Violet, a Bohemian artist, is thrilled to learn who her father is at the beginning of the play. She is engaged to the proper yet goofy Charles (David Irby), who will go through with the marriage only if Violet can produce a respectable lineage.

Violet is not so happy to learn that Sherlock can't tell her the identity of her mother. So instead of taking up the blackmail case with her father, Violet chooses to find her mother's identity. But her investigation swerves into the blackmail-murder case and into the hands of Sherlock.

Along the way, Violet seeks the help of a spiritualist who conducts a sce to evoke the spirit a Sherlock's past lover, Irene (Nina Rogers).

The play opens next Thursday. It runs next Thursday through Saturday and May 23-25.

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