Murder by Natural Causes
by Sam Bass Community Theatre
Feb. 21 - Mar. 17, 2019
Murder By Natural Causes, a stylish and witty suspense-thriller by playwright Tim Kelly, centers around Arthur Sinclair, a world-famous mentalist, and his greedy and cunning wife, Allison. Even as Arthur performs his act on The Tonight Show, his wife prowls the study of their stylish Beverly Hills home, conspiring with a struggling young actor to murder Arthur and claim his fortune. Together, they hatch an ingenious, seemingly foolproof scheme — but is it? How can you possibly murder someone who seemingly reads minds at will? The smart script is loaded with double-double-crosses and all the unexpected shocks and twists of an amusement park thrill-ride.
The cast includes Mary Hardegree as Gail Weston, an impulsive and vain actor in love with Allison Sinclair (Emily Tucker). Together, the pair conspires to murder Allison's world-renowned, mentalist husband, Arthur, played by Sam Bass stalwart Kerry Coward. Todd Jeffrey portrays George Brubaker, the Sinclairs' lawyer, and Erin Pena returns to Sam Bass as Marta, their maid. The ensemble is completed by Whitney Bogus as Arthur's book editor, Jessica Prescott; Robert Joseph as private detective Eddie Oakman; and Sam Bass favorite Peg Sampson as Mrs. Carrington, a concert promoter who hopes to rope Arthur into a national tour.
The play is directed by Dale Roe, a theatre veteran new to the Sam Bass who founded Chicagoland's popular Gag Reflex sketch comedy ensemble and its Austin offshoot, which performed throughout central Texas for a decade in the early 2000s.
"What attracted me to this script," Roe says, "is how smart it is. I read through dozens of popular and obscure mystery plays and found most of their scenarios to be outrageous with very broad and unrealistic characters. Kelly's script, in contrast, is grounded in reality despite its apparently supernatural subject matter, and the characters talk and behave like real people — awful people, some of them, to be sure. But, real. Everything that happens in this play could happen in real life."
The director admits that his childhood fascination with magic and magicians played into his selection. "The script is wildly entertaining and will keep anyone guessing, but if you ever owned a magic set or learned a card trick, you'll get a special kick out of it," he says.
February 21 - March 17, 2019
600 North Lee Street
Round Rock, TX, 78664
Opening night is Feb. 21, 2019. The production runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Mar. 17.
Tickets are $12-$15 and can be purchased online. Discounts are available for seniors, students, educators, military members and first responders.
For more information, visit sambasstheatre.org.