LAMPMAN — Live theatre is returning to Lampman.
Approximately 20 dedicated cast and crew members have been rehearsing to perform Murder at the Opry, which will be presented at the Lampman branch of the Royal Canadian Legion from Dec. 8-10. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. each night. A supper will be served for the Dec. 10 show, and tickets are virtually sold out for the meal.
Capacity for each performance is approximately 120 spectators. Maureen Ulrich, who wrote the production and also serves as its director, said ticket sales are going well.
“It’s a very loose, comedic, murder-mystery,” said Ulrich. “It’s funny, fast-moving and we offer some music in it as well.”
The script itself is just a means to showcase the cast’s comedic and musical talents, she said.
“I do think the audience will be surprised at just how deep those talents run in our little community,” said Ulrich.
The killer is different each night, she said, and the cast doesn’t know what to expect.
The production is set in what Ulrich said is Music City and they’re on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Some people provide music and others dance. They even have ventriloquism.
One of their cast members, Cherilyn Gress, has been part of every Lampman Community Theatre production, Ulrich said, and is involved this year even though she has long COVID. Her role is non-speaking, but Gress gets to focus on physical comedy, which Ulrich described as “absolutely brilliant”.
“We are just so lucky to have her performing with us, and I’m hoping that the play itself serves as a little bit of therapy for her,” said Ulrich.
The community theatre has been on hiatus for the past couple of years due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people involved is a little smaller than usual, but Ulrich said that’s OK because the stage is small.
“Our cast is very hard-working, very dedicated. They get along very well. They overlook each other’s missteps. And there are a few of them when you’re working on that small of a stage.”
The production is a fundraiser for the Lampman legion. Ulrich said they want to support the organization because it offers the only hall in the town, outside of the Lampman School gymnasium.
“The legion has a few volunteers and a few members, and they work so hard to keep that building open in memory of people who sacrificed their lives, and we should never lose track of that,” Ulrich said.
The idea for the show came after Ulrich made a couple of trips to Nashville and thought the Opry stage would be a great place to set a play. She’s not a country music fan, but she knows many enjoy the genre.
“We’re having a lot of fun. It’s great because we bring together different people who normally wouldn’t know one another or hang out with one another, and they’re just so great and so accepting of one another. It’s a real family,” she said.
Anyone looking for tickets is asked to contact Ulrich at 306-487-7512.