While the fall semester slowly rolls to an end, the Musical Theatre department is preparing for a highlight of the fall semester — the fall musical. This year, USD Musical Theatre is performing the Tony Award winning, A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Set in 1907, A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder follows Monty Navarro, played by junior musical theatre major, Tyler Wilson, after he finds out that he is the ninth heir to the wealthy D’Ysquith earldom. Compelled by his greed, Navarro’s sets out to climb the ladder and gain the earldom through love and murd
A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder also brings the audience through whirlwind romances and a robust score. Wilson said his favorite aspect of the show is the music.
“I’ve probably listened to the soundtrack for full days over the years that I’ve known this show, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it,” Wilson said.
The cast and crew have been working since early October to bring the musical to life as they create the sets and costumes.
“I’m super excited for the costumes for this show,” Wilson said, “Since it’s set in Edwardian England, the costumes are super elegant and they really transport you into the world of the show.”
Though the pandemic has change their protocols, director Matt Nesmith said they were well equipped to handle new changes due to COVID-19.
Nesmith said the both cast and crew had to social distance, wear masks constantly and reduce contact throughout the musical.
“Another element we have had to deal with throughout the rehearsal process is having cast members go in and out of quarantine,” Nesmith said, “We dealt with this by casting multiple understudies for all of our lead roles, who have stepped up whenever needed without missing a beat.”
Wilson said at times it was difficult to remain distanced from other actors because he is used to being a physical actor.
“The enforcement of COVID-19 protocols makes rehearsing for a musical very difficult,” Wilson said, “if I have an impulse to move closer to a fellow cast member, I must remind myself to keep a safe distance between us.”
Besides the COVID restrictions, Nesmith said he is excited to be back in the renovated Knutson Theatre.
“I am most looking forward to returning to live performance in our newly renovated Knutson Theatre,” Nesmith said. “And being able to share this fantastic, funny and uplifting show with audiences in-person.”
A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder will be performed Thursday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 22 for both in-person and virtual audiences.
Wilson said though some of the audience will be virtual, he hopes the comedic aspects of the show shines through.
“This show is meant to be funny, and I am certain that anyone who tunes in to the live stream or can get a ticket to the in-person seating, will have an absolute blast,” Wilson said.
Nesmith described the shows comedy as a mixture of satire and “Monty Python” like jabs.
Through the restrictions and unknowns of COVID-19, Wilson said he is overwhelmingly thankful for the ability to perform in A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder.
“Personally, the most rewarding part of being involved in this musical is having the opportunity to be cast in a dream role of mine,” Wilson said. “It is also rewarding to be able to create art and a show like this in times of uncertainty and fear.”
To find out more about showtimes and tickets, visit the USD Musical Theater Website.