Carmel Community Players play combines suspense, laughter


Tanya Haas doesn’t want attendees to be misled by the title of Carmel Community Players’ upcoming production.

“Even though the title is, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” it is not a musical. There is a little bit of singing as part of the plot, but it’s definitely a straight play,” Haas said.

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Cast members of “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” are front, from left, Tanya Haas, Kelly Keller, Jeffrey Haber; middle, from left, Hannah Janowicz, Eric Bowman, Eboni Wallace, Amber Roth; back, from left, Robert Fimreite, Sam Brown and Richelle Lutz. (Photo courtesy of Carmel Community Players)

Carmel Community Players’ production will run Feb. 24 to March 5 at the Ivy Tech Noblesville Auditorium.

The play takes place in an isolated mansion in the middle of a snowstorm. A group of performers and producers are cut off from the outside world with a deranged murderer, called the Stage Door Slasher, on the loose.

Haas, a Carmel resident, plays Helsa, the owner of the mansion.

“She isn’t a major character in terms of stage time, but she is very important to the plot,” Haas said. “She tells everyone a bit about her life in the course of the show but is quite mysterious. One of the things I love about the role is also what is challenging about it, in that it’s a lot of physical comedy, which I love doing but my body doesn’t always love as I get older. I also have a German accent in the show, which I had thankfully been working on since appearing in a production of ‘The 39 Steps’ in 2021.”

Haas said the show is fun for the entire cast because the comedy is deliberately over the top.

“Not one character is meant to be subtle,” she said. “I think audiences will really enjoy it because it’s the type of show that just makes you laugh, and there’s really nothing serious about it all despite being a murder mystery.”

Zionsville resident Elizabeth Ruddell said she chose to direct the play because it is hilarious.

“There are many characters in it, and they are all bigger than life,’ Ruddell said. “I have seen this show many times before. Each production brings something new to it. That’s why it is a joy to direct. There are challenges for the show, but it is not with the actors, all of whom are very talented and very funny. The challenge is the set, which holds many surprises for the audience. Be prepared to feel suspense and laugh. What a great combination.”

Noblesville resident Robert Fimreite plays Patrick O’Reilly.

Fimreite, 62, acted during his senior year in high school in Whitehall, Wis.

“I had to be talked into doing that, and then I took a 40-year hiatus,” Fimreite said. “I had a bucket list of things I wanted to do, and I wanted to do a show.”

In October 2018, Fimreite returned to the stage as Lurch in Carmel Apprentice Theatre’s “The Addams Family” at The Cat in Carmel.

“Now, I’m doing three to four shows a year,” Fimreite said. “It’s been fun. It’s a great way to meet people and make new friends.”

Fimreite said he is performing his role with three different accents: Irish, New York City and German.

“That will be a challenge to me,” he said. “It’s been hilarious watching everyone develop their character.”

Fimreite agreed the show will be an audience favorite.

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