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Maxwell Directs Killer Comedy ‘Murderers’ At Towngate Theatre

The cast of “Murderers” includes, from left, Cathie Spencer, Eric T. Dutton and Vera Barton-Maxwell. (Photo Provided)

WHEELING — Comedic tales of revenge, blackmail, sex, money and jealousy are themes in Towngate Theatre’s latest production, “Murderers,” by acclaimed Steubenville-born playwright Jeffrey Hatcher.

Specially chosen and directed by Butch Maxwell, it closes Towngate’s 2020-21 season of community theater, which is sponsored by Unified Bank.

Performed as three separate monologues, stories primarily center around a luxury retirement village in Florida’s sunny gulf coast. “Murderers” is not a whodunit, instead the culprits are introduced immediately. The fun for audiences will be following the how and why of three distinct cat-and-mouse mysteries as each killer confesses their plot, crimes and mishaps.

“While ‘Murderers’ has deeply poignant and tragic elements, it is essentially a dark comedy about three good and decent human beings who, through very unlikely circumstances, become killers,” Maxwell said. “It is an absolutely unique experience in theatre — one that people will remember fondly for some time to come.”

Maxwell has cast veteran actors Vera Barton-Maxwell, Eric T. Dutton and Cathie Spencer for the roles.

Butch Maxwell

“‘Murderers’ is truly an actor’s showcase, presented without a set, props or other actors with whom to interact,” Maxwell said. “The storytelling abilities of the characters (and actors) and the imaginations of the audience will combine to move, amuse and inspire.”

Appearing in the role of Minka, Barton-Maxwell is an audience favorite at Towngate for comedic roles like those in “Noises Off” and “The Last Night of Ballyhoo.” Other credits include Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and Aldonza in “Man of La Mancha.”

Dutton, in the role of Gerald, is a veteran of more than 75 theater productions, many of those at Towngate. He is known for his love of Irish plays with memorable performances in “The Quiet Man,” “Cripple of Inishmaan” and “The Shaughraun.”

Portraying Lucy, Spencer’s versatile acting has landed her numerous roles, including those in “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “The Glass Menagerie.” She also works diligently behind-the-scenes as a member of the Friends of Towngate.

Oglebay Institute director of performing arts Tim Thompson said he is pleased Towngate can stage a production that meets current COVID-19 safety guidelines without alterations.

“With social distancing and mask-wearing mandates, we’ve had to adjust many of the play selections for this season,” Thompson said. “With this production, each actor is on-stage individually and can remain maskless. This lets their talents shine-through with facial expressions, capturing the full essence of each character and story.”

Murderers will be staged today through Sunday, May 7-9, and May 14-15. Towngate’s curtain time is at 8 p.m. A 3 p.m. matinee takes place Sunday, May 9. Tickets can be purchased at OIonline.com or by calling 304-242-7700. Seating is limited.

Towngate Theatre is located in Wheeling’s historic Centre Market district at 2118 Market St.

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