Murder and mystery are in the air as Kokomo Civic Theatre presents John Bishop’s comedy thriller, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.”

Performances are Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. at IU Kokomo’s Havens Auditorium.

Ten people are stranded by a snowstorm at the isolated estate of wealthy theatre “angel” Elsa von Grossenknueten as the creative team responsible for the musical “Manhattan Holiday” hold a backer’s audition for their next show. “Manhattan Holiday” was the show in which three chorus girls were murdered by the mysterious “Stage Door Slasher.” Will the “Slasher” strike again? Could the director, the producer, the composer, or the lyricist be the “Slasher”? And what about the German maid, the Nazi saboteur, and the Irish tenor? As bodies start to drop and masked figures drag their victims behind moving bookcases, accusing fingers point in all directions. Who will die and who will survive this night of comic mayhem? A cross between Agatha Christie and “Noises Off”, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” provides a non-stop barrage of laughter as the characters (at least those who are not killed off) untangle the mystery of the “Stage Door Slasher.”

Kokomo Civic Theatre’s cast of “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” features a combination of new and veteran performers. Wealthy “angel” Elsa von Grossenknueten, is being played by Joyce Bower. Her German maid, Helsa Wenzel, who has secrets of her own, is being played by Sarah Ferenc. Director Ken De La Maize, is being played by Jeff Carnagua. Composer Roger Hopewell is being played by Joe Connolly. The perpetually thirsty lyricist, Bernice Roth, is being played by Peggy Frye.  Broadway producer, Marjorie Baverstock, whose new favorite word is “divoon,” is being played by Beth Metcalf. Three performers have traveled to Elsa’s estate to appear in the backer’s audition.  They are: chorus girl Nikki Crandall, played by Anna Ely; struggling comic Eddie McCuen, played by Jordan Kenyon; and Irish tenor Patrick O’Reilly, played by Doug Harvey. Rounding out the cast is Michael Diaz, who plays police sergeant Michael Kelly, investigating the case of the “Stage Door Slasher.” 

“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” is being directed by Steve Hughes. Libby Brewer is the stage manager.

“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” is made possible, in part, by the Kokomo Community Arts Commission and the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $8 for students (through college). Tickets may be reserved by calling 765-454-8800.  The Havens Auditorium box office will also be open 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, November 15 and 16, and one hour before each performance.