Mystery spoof set at Red Barn


“Murdered to Death” suits Luke McLaughlin just fine.

“I enjoy the murder mystery genre and it has a comedic spin to it as well,” said McLaughlin, who is directing the production at the Red Barn Summer Theatre. “I enjoy putting those two things together. As an English teacher, there are a lot of references to classic literature and Agatha Christie that I appreciate and enjoy.”

“Murdered to Death” runs June 22 through July 2 at the Frankfort venue.

The show is a spoof of the Agatha Christie “whodunit” genre set in an English Manor.

“It’s a fun script, a nice mix of mystery and comedy,” said McLaughlin, a Frankfort resident who teaches at Clinton Prairie High School. “I’ve seen it on a stage before and when I saw it, I thought this is a great show I wanted to either direct or be in one day.”

McLaughlin is pulling double duty. McLaughlin, Red Barn’s associate artistic director, is one of the two male leads in the production of “Deceiving Granny,” which was set to end June 19.

McLaughlin said it’s easier acting in a show first while getting ready to direct because the memorization is already completed.

“When you are memorizing two shows at once, that’s a challenge,” he said. “I did that last summer and it’s a lot of work.”

McLaughlin saw the play at Frankfort High School several years ago. Michael Taylor, Red Barn’s artistic director and a Frankfort High School theater teacher, directed the high school production.

McLaughlin said Taylor normally directs two Red Barn plays a year and he directs one.

Among the performers in the show is Jan McGill, who has performed for 43 seasons with Red Barn. McLaughlin said another performer, Linda Benge, has been performing for more than 20 years at the theater. Benge and McLaughlin are Frankfort residents.

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