Black Swamp Players stages a game of 'Clue'

  • THEATER24-18

    Aimee Reid, right, executive artistic director helps young actors with their costumes during a rehearsal for 'James and the Giant Peach' at the Collingwood Arts Center. Reid was honored with the Ann Elgood Youth Theatre Director of the Year Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

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  • The audience will have a role when Bowling Green’s Black Swamp Players present Clue: The Musical, for its 51st season.

    Clue: The Musical, based on the 1949 board game, has a cast of characters familiar to anyone who has ever played it, including Mr. Boddy, the murder victim, and the suspects: Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, and Mrs. White.

    Audience members join the game, and the fun, when they choose cards that allow them to determine who killed Boddy, where, and with what; there are 216 possible endings to the story. 

    Directing the Black Swamp Players’ season opener will be Melissa Shaffer. Performances are Nov. 9- 11 and Nov. 16-18.The cast will include Heath A. Diehl as Mr. Boddy, Mac Ramsey as the Detective, Bethany Mahl as Mrs. White, Andrew Varney as Colonel Mustard, Karla Richardson as Mrs. Peacock, Annelise Mason as Miss Scarlet, Garrett Hummel as Mr. Green, Matt Crawford as Professor Plum, and Monica Hiris as the Sidekick character.

    Clue: The Musical has the potential to draw a young audience who may not come to see the more traditional works such as Guys and Dolls or South Pacific, said Diehl, who recently joined the Black Swamp Players’ board of directors as secretary.

    The Black Swamp Players’ 2018-2019 season also will include The Music Man, a classic musical that tells the story of a con man who plans to take advantage of small-town Midwesterners by promising, but not delivering, musical instruments and a new band. But he doesn’t fool Marian, the librarian and piano teacher. 

    Music Man will appeal, we hope, to a really wide audience base,” said Lane Hakel, president of the Black Swamp’s board, and it hasn’t been done in the area recently by a community theater. Shows will be Feb. 15-17 and Feb. 22-24, directed by Amy Spaulding-Heuring.

    The 51st season also will have something new, the world premiere of Peanuts and Crackerjacks, a play written and directed by F. Scott Regan, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University, where he taught in the department of theater and film.

    “Perhaps it has happened in 50 years of Black Swamp history, but I’m not aware of us ever doing a world premiere before,” Hakel said. Performances will be in April and May.

    Award winner

    Aimee Reid, executive artistic director of the Children’s Theatre Workshop, has received national recognition in the form of the Ann Elgood Youth Theatre Director of the Year Award, from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, at a conference in Minneapolis on Aug. 4. It recognizes her work in teaching, directing, and administration at the Workshop.

    “Ann Elgood led a youth theater in Michigan for 60-plus years and was very well known for leading the charge in bringing new things to kids who are learning and performing theater,” said Gary Minyard, past president of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and vice president of Education and Engagement for the Victoria Theatre Association. “And Aimee Reid embodies all that. She is creative, forward-thinking, always thinking of the kids first, and they do an incredible variety of thing at her theater.

    “She has probably eight jobs between being an artistic director; that also means teaching, marketing, fund-raising, administration, and directing; we’re delighted that we’re able to honor her this year.”

    The greatest reward of her job is working with the children, Reid said.

    “Have you ever been in a room full of theater kids? They are the best kind of people in the world. And when you get all that wonderful energy into the same room, it’s an enormous wave of joy and community that, in my experience, can’t be replicated anywhere else.

    “And when you add in the parents and their enormous respect and admiration for their kids, you see everyone’s face light up,” she said. “The kids light up because they see what they’re capable of, and parents light up [because they see] ‘my child is capable of this.’ So everyone gets to see how wonderful they are, individually as well as within the community.”

    The biggest challenge of her work is that “not everyone understands that the state of Ohio, the board of education, has standards for kindergarten through 12th grade for drama and theater.

    “What we do is rooted in curriculum, from acting and technical theater to writing, and that’s our main priority. When I train my staff I make sure they understand that if you ever had to choose between a learning experience and a polished product, I need you to err on the side of the learning experience.”

    A party

    Children’s Theatre Workship is celebrating its 65th anniversary season with a birthday brunch from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Premier, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd. Tickets are $45 and are available at

    Contact Sue Brickey at: