is a murder mystery musical
that spoofs detective
stories, mainly the works of Agatha Christie
, and especially her detective novel And Then There Were None
(aka Ten Little Indians
). The book, music, and lyrics were written by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach, with additional music by Ed Linderman. The play involves a group of people who are invited to the lake estate of Lord
Dudley Rancour. When the wealthy lord is found dead, its a race against the clock to find out whodunnit
Something's Afoot enjoyed a very brief run on Broadway, but has since become somewhat of an obscure production, produced mainly by community college and high school drama departments.
opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre
on May 27, 1976 and closed on July 18, 1976 after 61 performances and 13 previews. Directed and choreographed by Tony Tanner
, the cast included Tessie O'Shea
(Miss Tweed) and Gary Beach
In 1984, the play was recorded and presented on cable television (Showtime), and starred Jean Stapleton (Miss Tweed) and Andy Gibb (Geoffrey).
It is worth noting that the butler is the first suspect to die, prompting a song expressing shock at the fact that "the butler didn't do it" (See Musical Numbers below). Stereotypically, in the works spoofed by the play, the butler was a major suspect and many times was the one who committed the murders.
Throughout the course of the play, all of the characters are killed off by complex and comical booby traps, each a part of a tangled web of deception. Tweed, as the self-appointed detective, quickly takes charge of the situation and accuses many of the crimes, changing her mind quickly when new evidence arises. At the end, it is revealed that the late Lord Rancour invited to his estate everyone who could possibly stand in the way of his chosen heir, the young Hope, from receiving his fortune. He booby-traps the house so that it kills all of these would-be obstacles. By the conclusion, everyone is killed, including Hope and the uninvited Geoffrey, who mistakenly drink wine that has been poisoned for Flint (who previously died by accident in a gas explosion). Since Flint is the only one whose death was not murder, Miss Tweed mistakenly assumed (before her own strangulation) that Flint planned all the murders.
The cast is comprised of a set of British stock characters
typically found in the works of Agatha Christie. They are as follows:
- Lettie - "The saucy maid" (Cockney) (lured into giant vacuum cleaner)
- Flint - "The caretaker" (Cockney)(killed in accidental gas explosion)
- Clive - "The butler" (death by exploding balustrade)
- Hope Langdon - "The Ingenue" (drinks poisoned wine intended for Flint)
- Dr. Grayburn - "The family doctor" (asphyxiated by gas concealed in telephone)
- Nigel Rancour - "The black sheep nephew" (coshed in the bonce by a sconce)
- Lady Grace Manley-Prowde - "The Grande Dame" (electrocuted by light switch)
- Colonel Gillweather - "The old army man" (poisoned by blowgun dart; lives long enough to analyze the poison)
- Miss Tweed - "The tweedy, elderly amateur detective" (strangled by ornamental spear)
- Geoffrey - "The juvenile; the uninvited guest" (drinks poisoned wine intended for Flint)
- A Marvelous Weekend - Company
- Something's Afoot - Company
- Carry On - Miss Tweed, Lady Grace Manley-Prowde, Lettie and Hope Langdon
- I Don't Know Why I Trust You (But I Do) - Hope Langdon and Geoffrey
- The Man With the Ginger Moustache - Lady Grace Manley-Prowde
- Suspicious - Company
- The Legal Heir - Nigel Rancour
- You Fell Out of the Sky - Hope Langdon
- A Tiny Little Dinghy - Flint and Lettie
- I Owe It All to Agatha Christie - Miss Tweed, Hope Langdon and Geoffrey
- New Day - Geoffrey, Hope Langdon and Choir
For a curtain call, the entire cast return from the dead to reprise "I Owe It All to Agatha Christie"