Sheldon markel

Ashland's Sheldon Markel will star in the role of Cameron MitchellJohn in "A Killer Party the Musical."

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Millennial Theatre Company (MTC) has announced its final online production, A Killer Party the Musical, will be available for streaming beginning April 2.

The production is set to star Ashland native Sheldon Markel in the role of Cameron MitchellJohn, one of the suspects in the murder who has quite the motive for wanting to kill. The show has been rehearsed and recorded in a digital format and is set to star actors from six states and three countries.

The production is directed by Joe Asente with music direction by Savannah Florkowski. Tickets for the production are available at millennialtheatre.org using presale code MTC to unlock the event. Starting April 2, the video can be purchased without a presale code.

Streaming access is $20 for a single ticket (single viewer in a single location) and $30 for a family ticket (multiple viewers in one location). Once streaming access is purchased, the streaming code provided will be active for 48 hours after the play button is hit for the first time. The production will be available to stream for a limited time only.

A Killer Party tells the story of Varthur McArthur, the artistic director of a failing theater in Duluth, who invites his troupe of disgruntled actors and collaborators to the first read of an "immersive murder mystery dinner party."

No one knew that he would become the victim … or did they?

Enter the eager, determined, and untested Detective Case. After sequestering the guests into separate rooms (because, you know, social-distancing), she gets down to finding out whodunnit, uncovering secret affairs, life-long grudges, backstage drama, and a lot of musical theater song and dance.

Sifting through lies and red herrings and a truly baffling murder mystery script left by the deceased, Case vows to find the truth and secure her future as a great detective.

Director Joe Asente, who also edited the project, is excited for the debut, as this project is totally different from the other two virtual musicals MTC has produced throughout the pandemic.

“The first two musicals (The Last Five Years and Songs for a New World) we produced were very serious shows that were not designed to be produced in this format," Asente said. "While we were certainly able to adapt them, we had to be very careful about how they were shot/presented to maintain the seriousness of the piece.

"Now, with A Killer Party, a show that is not only funny but also designed to play off of its virtual setting, we are able to really be creative and explore all of the fun things that you can do in a virtual setting that you may not be able to do in a traditional one, such as greenscreen effects, quick camera cuts, and creative transitions.

"I think audiences will be surprised with how much we were able to do visually from so many parts of the country and beyond.”

MTC is excited to have Markel involved in the production.

"We worked with Sheldon in our virtual production of Songs for a New World this past fall and came to see just how talented he was," Asente said. "In that production, he was involved in two of the more serious numbers in the show. In this production, however, we really got to see his range and ability to act commedically, which was such a treat.

"Both of his numbers in this show are laugh-out-loud funny, and we can not wait for Ashland audiences to laugh along with us in this production."

MTC’s production was filmed and rehearsed independently, allowing for actors beyond the Mahoning Valley to audition and participate. Actors rehearsed and recorded vocals before Christmas, where Asente then edited and synced them with the backing tracks.

Actors then met weekly via Zoom to rehearse and then filmed the show weekly in 15 minute segments throughout the months of January, February and March.

“The beauty of the show is that it is designed to be done in this virtual setting, and is very self-aware of that limitation, so actors never had to leave their homes to create this show," Asente said. "Each time we do one of these virtual shows, we learn from the previous one, and I think we have truly perfected the model of virtual shows with this production.

"We have been able to successfully combine the remote production aspect of Songs for a New World while maintaining the detailed camera work of The Last Five Years. And, most importantly, we are able to say that we successfully kept theatre alive - safely - without a single case of COVID throughout the pandemic.”

A Killer Party the Musical is available for streaming starting April 2. Tickets can be purchased now at millennialtheatre.org. The Millennial Theatre Company’s other online production, The Last Five Years, is also streaming online through April 30.

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