Meet Cast Members, The Director, and Designers of Prince William Little Theatre’s ‘Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror’ Playing 3/11-20 at Hylton

Meet the designers, some cast members, and the director of Prince William Little Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror, playing 3/11-20 at Hylton Performing Arts Center.

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THE DESIGNERS/CREW

Michelle Matthews. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
Michelle Matthews. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

Michelle Matthews, Costume Design

Tell us your role on the production team.  Have you had previous experience?

I am Costume Designer Michelle Matthews. I have had experience doing costume design and wardrobe throughout high school, college, and in theme park settings.

What made you want to be a part of the production team for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror?

I love period pieces and I hadn’t designed a late 1800’s show yet so I was excited for the challenge!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had so far?  What have you enjoyed most?

Learning the design on a small budget has been a challenge. I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone! It’s fun making new friends and colleagues with each show I work on.

Why do you think audiences should come see the show?

It’s funny, creative, and fast-paced!

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 Matthew Scarborough. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
Matthew Scarborough. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

Matthew Scarborough, Sound Design/Engineer, Vocal Coach, Projection Engineer, Oscar Wilde

Tell us your role on the production team. Have you had previous experience?

Here goes: I am the 1) sound designer/engineer, 2) vocal coach, and 3) projection engineer for Sherlock, as well as 4) Oscar Wilde onstage. I have designed sound for ten previous area productions, including McLean Community Players’ 1776, Dominion Stage’s The History Boys, and Prince William Little Theatre’s The Who’s Tommy; I have provided vocal coaching for two previous productions, as well as music direction for four. This will be my first time actually running sound, as well as running projections! I’m excited to finally experience a show from the coveted booth.

What made you want to be a part of the production team for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror?

I’ve had nothing but great experiences working with each of my fellow crew colleagues, as well as with Prince William Little Theatre. Additionally, Caroline has a very compelling vision and concept for the show, both visually and aurally, and I’m very excited to help bring it to life.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had so far? What have you enjoyed most?

We are still in the rehearsal period, so I predict that my biggest challenge will be taking our cumulative audio and video and piecing it all together seamlessly in a way that it will effectively serve and enhance the performances. I have been learning the ins and outs of a terrific piece of software called QLab, however, which will allow me to do this successfully. Equally enjoyable has been my research into appropriate music to use for underscoring.

Why do you think audiences should come see the show?

I think audiences should come see the show because of the excellence of the cast that Caroline has assembled. Though I firmly believe that we the crew will rock this production on the technical side of the equation, the chemistry, versatility, and prowess of this cast could knock your socks off even in a nondescript, featureless void with no lighting, sound, or projection equipment.

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THE DIRECTOR:

Caroline Simpson. Photo by Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
Caroline Simpson. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

Caroline Simpson, Director

Tell us your role on the production team.  Have you had previous experience?

I am making my directorial debut with this production of Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror! I have acted, choreographed, and worked backstage in many community theater shows and wanted to try something new and challenging.

What made you want to be a part of the production team for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror?

I love working with Prince William Little Theatre, so I knew I wanted my first directing experience to be with them. After sifting through numerous plays, I proposed Sherlock to their board, went through the interview process, and was approved! It’s been fantastic working with one of my favorite local theater companies.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had so far?  What have you enjoyed most?

My biggest challenge so far has been having to learn how to translate my choreographer and teacher skills into managing an entire production. Not only do I work with the actors, I also collaborate with my production team on costumes, lighting, publicity, sound, music, sets, etc.  It has been a big undertaking to learn how to keep all the moving pieces on track, but I have an amazing team of people supporting me.

My day job is a special education teacher in an elementary school, so I have especially enjoyed doing what I love to do (teach) with a different population of people. It’s been fun working with my actors to help them find and grow their characters. I love working with the different personalities and experience levels that make up the cast.

Why do you think audiences should come see the show?

So many reasons! The cast is bursting with enthusiasm and talent. The crew is skilled and hardworking. The venue is gorgeous. Audience members will also recognize lots of characters besides Sherlock and Watson, such as Gilbert and Sullivan, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw. There is also something unique about the way we are putting on this play. I can safely say that it will be a different experience than audiences are accustomed to!

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CAST MEMBERS: 

Tegan Cohen. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
Tegan Cohen. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

Tegan Cohen (Elen Terry)

Tell us who you are playing in the show and something you find interesting or intriguing about the character.

I play Ellen Terry, whom I did not realize (or at least forgot) was a real person, even though I was familiar with most of the other real-life figures in the show. Researching her has had me nerding out!  Discovering her connections to things I’m much more familiar with–like, Wilde, Stoker, and that John Singer Sargent painting– has been really fun and exciting.

What made you decide to audition for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror?  

Mainly discovering that, though there’s music, it’s not a musical. I‘d wanted to audition for Caroline whom I’d worked with before, but thinking it was a musical was a deterrent.

What is it like to work with your castmates? Did you know any of them previously?

Weirdly, even though this is my 4th show with PWLT, and the only castmate I’d ever worked with before is Matt Scarborough; he was Charles to my Elvira in 2014’s Blithe Spirit. Most of the rest of the cast seemed to already know each other, but everyone is friendly and funny and are pretty great about working off each other.

What do you think audience members will enjoy most about the production?

We got jokes. 

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AnuRa Harrison. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
AnuRa Harrison. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

AnuRa Harrison (Constable Stanley Hopkins and Achmed Singh)

Tell us who you are playing in the show and something you find interesting or intriguing about your character.

Hello, my name is AnuRa Harrison, and I am performing the roles of Constable Stanley Hopkins and Achmed Singh in Prince William Little Theater’s Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to play two different and intriguing male characters. Constable Hopkins is an ambitious policeman. What’s interesting about him is that he’s a total Sherlock Holmes fanboy. He truly idolizes him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some elaborate Sherlock shrine set up in his bedroom closet!  And Achmed Singh, a lonely Indian immigrant, is interesting because he runs a shop that deals in curios from the Orient. When I envision his shop, I imagine this crowded little place filled with Persian rugs, silk kimonos, exotic perfumes, and maybe even a mythical monkey’s paw!

What made you decide to audition for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror? What did you do for your audition?

I auditioned for PWLT’s Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror because I had a wonderful time playing Calphurnia in their previous production of Julius Caesar. The audition for Sherlock was thrilling for me because I chose to sing a song (sans accompaniment). I’m deathly afraid of singing in front of other humans, so this was a challenge for me. In addition to singing, I performed cold readings from the script.

What is it like to work with your castmates? Did you know any of them previously?

I’d only previously worked with Matthew, Jason, Leslie, Angelina, Chris, Natalie, and Andrew in PWLT’s Julius Caesar.  The Sherlock cast is large, and it took me a couple of weeks of rehearsals to get to know the players. I really enjoy working with this cast and crew! They’re smart and funny and talented, and everyone is committed to putting on a lively show.

What do you think audience members will enjoy most about the production?

Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror is a comedic murder-mystery, and if you’re a fan of the novels or the BBC program, then I think you’ll truly appreciate our show! And, without revealing too much, our director, Caroline Simpson, has thought up a truly unique way of staging the show that I think will leave a positive lasting impression on the audience!

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Leslie Barnett. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
Leslie Barnett. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

Leslie Barnett (Inspector Lestrade)

Tell us who you are playing in the show and something you find interesting or intriguing about the character.

I have the privilege of playing the role of Lieutenant Lestrade. What I find most interesting about his character is his complete inept ability to be “spectacular” like Sherlock Holmes. He really is just average; dedicated to his job, but average. To me, he exemplifies the kid in class who may not be #1 but tries to work hard to gain that spot, even if he doesn’t go about trying to achieve his goal in the nicest way.

What made you decide to audition for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror? What did you perform at your audition?

I love a great mystery so what could be better than to be a part of a Sherlock Homes production! In addition, I really wanted the opportunity to work with Caroline again. We worked together in a production of Unquiet Theatre’s Rocky Horror Picture Show and I had a blast working with her as the show’s choreographer. Now she’s wearing the director’s hat and we’re still having a blast! 

What is it like to work with your castmates? Did you know any of them previously?

I knew about half the cast when we started because we have all done shows together and honestly, it’s great! I couldn’t ask for a better group to work with for this production! Also, meeting and working with new cast mates has been an awesome experience and just a wonderful addition to my ever-growing theatre family! We have a lot of fun together!

What do you think audience members will enjoy most about the production?

I think audience members will really enjoy the humor and the pace at which this mystery unfolds. There are a lot of incredibly funny and unforgettable characters and moments in this whodunit! Get ready to have some fun!

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Sonia Bronder. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
Sonia Bronder. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

Sonia Bronder (Dr. John Watson)

Tell us who you are playing in the show and something you find interesting or intriguing about the character.

I am playing Dr. John Watson. I love John’s loyalty and his quiet authority. 

What made you decide to audition for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror? What did you perform at your audition?

I had just finished three musicals in a row and really wanted to do a straight show. I also heard great things about Prince William Little Theatre and wanted to see what they were about. And I am very happy I did! I auditioned with Viola’s monologue from Twelfth Night. 

What is it like to work with your castmates?

An absolute joy! They’re so creative and funny! 

What do you think audience members will enjoy most about the production?

The unique interpretation of the play by our directing team. Stay tuned; you won’t want to miss this one!

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Khoa Pham. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.
Khoa Pham. Photo by David Harback of Harback Photography.

Khoa Pham (Sherlock Holmes)

Tell us who you are playing in the show and something you find interesting or intriguing about the character.

My name is Khoa Pham and I play Sherlock Holmes. Something I found quite interesting when I did research for my character is that it never actually mentions that he wears a deerstalker or cape in the books. The look was popularized by actors who have portrayed him and the image endured.

What made you decide to audition for Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror? What did you perform at your audition?

I found the listing on the DCMetroTheatreArts website and thought it would be fun to be part of a play about Sherlock Holmes. For my audition, I did a three-man scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, in which I played all three parts.

What is it like to work with your castmates? Did you know any of them previously?

This is my first time working the Prince William Little Theatre. I didn’t know anyone previously. Over the past couple of months, I’ve come to discover how profoundly creative and supportive my castmates are. They always bring unique and unexpected things to every rehearsal and it keeps things very lively.

What do you think audience members will enjoy most about the production?

I think they will enjoy how the actors have given life to the various historical characters in the show. Hopefully, it will inspire others to join in on the fun. Theatre is a crazy place. And that’s the best kind of place.

Sherlock promo 6

Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror plays from March 11-20, 2016 ar Prince William Little Theatre performing at Hylton Performing Arts Center – in the Gregory Theatre  – 10960 George Mason Circle, in Manassas, VA . For tickets, call (888) 945-2468 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM, (service charge added), or purchase them online.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.

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