Agatha Christie, the British grande dame of murder mysteries, would have loved the Santa Clara Women's League Showtime 2015 melodrama “Who Dunit in Doomstown—A Game of Clue.”
The 60-minute melodrama, written by Santa Claran Rick Mauch and directed by Robin Burdick, was a takeoff on the Parker Brothers' 1949 board game Clue and had audiences booing, hissing and cheering for three days running—March 6, 7, and 8—at the Community Recreation Center on Kiely Boulevard.
Santa Clarans of all ilks became weekend stars as they performed in the 33rd annual Showtime benefit to fund on–site registered nurses for the Santa Clara Senior Center's Health and Wellness Program.
“Who Dunit in Doomstown” opened with a flashback to a party at which the very unbeloved host, Donald Edward Boddy (D. Ed Boddy–Get it?) was done in by one of six suspects, each done wrong by Boddy.
Renown crime sleuths from literature, movies and TV were called in to help solve Boddy's bloody murder by multiple traumas. The murder weapons included rope, knife, candlestick, wrench and Boddy's prize pistol, stolen by suspect John Green, dressed head-to-foot in, of course, green.
Could the murderer have been Mr. Boddy's wife, the blue-gowned Mrs. Peacock (already suspected in the deaths of several former husbands)? Perhaps it was Miss Scarlett, a vamp in red who had been seen resisting the bold body passes of Boddy.
In the end, it was up to the audience, duly sworn in as jurors, to decide by loudest boos exactly “who dunit.” And since the audience changed each day, three different murderers were convicted.
But in the end, at the melodramatic finale, it really didn't matter “who dunit” or that justice was soundly served by Judge Judy. What mattered to the audience was that they had had a lot of laughs watching the mystery unfold and participating in the antics.
“I enjoyed it tremendously. I thought everybody overacted beautifully,” says Kirby Cristobal from Santa Clara, attending her first Showtime production.
“I started writing for Showtime in 2006,” says Mauck, who also played Sheriff Sam. “I found out that I like to write dialogue. It's fun. The challenge is writing enough parts for 25 people.”
After intermission, the melodrama was followed by an hour of music and dance numbers by talented Santa Clarans of all ages. The Sizzling Seniors defied their average age of about 77 to tap dance their way across the stage to “Razzle Dazzle” from the musical “Chicago” in the opening number. Many engaging song and dance acts later, Magician Extraordinaire Phil Ackerly closed the show with his sleight of hand trickery.
“Showtime appeals to all ages. Not many people see melodramas anymore,” says Emily Adorable, Showtime co-chair with Nancy Velasco. “Everyone is a volunteer—from scenery to food sellers to actors. It's such a great community event.”
“We all make a great team,” says Velasco. “I'm so excited. The ticket sales were great, and the cause is so important.”
About 620 people attended Showtime 2015. Food for sale ran out Saturday and had to be replenished for Sunday. Raffle and opportunity drawing ticket sales were high, and one winner gave back the $124 cash he won. It is expected that the money raised this year will well surpass the $11,500 raised in 2014.
The Santa Clara Women's League (www.santaclarawomensleague.org), with about 75 members, was established in 1983 by Showtime’s founder, the late Cleo Stuckrath, specifically to raise funds for the senior Health and Wellness program. Each year the Women's League raises and contributes $20,000 to the program.