The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 21, 2014

Physical comedy at heart of Joplin Little Theatre show

JOPLIN, Mo. — It's not often that the script of a play makes Jade Nicholas laugh out loud. But her pursuit of a different type of play to direct led her to love "Murder at the Howard Johnson's."

"Every time I direct a show, I want to do something different," Nicholas said. "I hadn't done a comedy, and I don't know a lot of them. So I asked for a physical comedy, and the Liles (Jim and Ann) gave me a stack."

This one jumped out for a little bit of a dark twist that Nicholas appreciated, she said. The play will be presented next week at Joplin Little Theatre. Written by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick, the play tells the story of Arlene and her indecision about whether to stay married to her car-salesman husband or to run off with her new dentist. Finally, Arlene comes up with a plan to off one of them at the local HoJo's, but soon after, other plots develop.

The play is a tremendously physical comedy featuring a small cast. Marilyn Marshall-Six, Richard Roberts and Roscoe Miller play the three main characters.

"We get sweaty during rehearsal," Nicholas said. "We don't have to worry about working out."

The play's intricately choreographed antics required slow rehearsals at first, Nicholas said. When first blocking out the moves, Nicholas said the process felt ridiculous but has paid off with seamlesss action.

"You have to go slow before you go fast," Nicholas said. "We had to make sure everyone stayed safe. Once we had it to the point where we had the moves down, the transitions are so smooth, and so worth it."


Want to go?

"Murder at the Howard Johnson's" will be shown from Wednesday to Sunday, March 30. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets: $13, $11 for seniors and students. The show features profanity and is not considered suitable for children.

Details: 417-623-3638.

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