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Pop Factory Players to perform 'Drood'
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DARLINGTON - Darlington's Pop Factory Players have selected "Drood (The Mystery of Edwin Drood)," a musical by Rupert Holmes, for its 2016 production.

Five performances are scheduled at the Darlington High School Auditorium: 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1:30 p.m. Sunday; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23; and 1:30 p.m. Jan. 24. Tickets are $12 at the door and available 30 minutes before each show.

"Drood" is a "show within a show," portraying an American theatrical company's opening night staging of Charles Dickens' unfinished last novel in the late 1800s. The story begins with a reveal of the orphaned adult Edwin Drood's pending marriage to Rosa Bud. Unbeknownst to Drood, his uncle and mentor, John Jasper, secretly lusts for Rosa while he hides a secret life in London's underworld. Meanwhile, another potential rival of Rosa's suitors arrives from the Empire's eastern colonies, making a Christmas Eve celebration fraught with tension and conflict.

Because Dickens died before he could complete his novel, the audience is invited to select several possible solutions to "The Mystery of Edwin Drood." On stage, the director/company chairman has his hands full trying to keep the show moving along, but he manages to prod the troupe along to arrive at a conclusion.

Although "Drood" is less well-known to the general public than Pop Factory's more recent productions, including "Mary Poppins," "Spamalot" and "Oliver," it was an unqualified critical success. In addition to five Tony awards (including Best Book, Best Musical Score and Best Musical), it received a Drama Desk award from the New York theater writers and critics and an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers Guild. One of the songs in the show, "Moonfall," is a female high voice selection for the Wisconsin high school solo-ensemble competition. Holmes - also noted for his 1980's pop hit "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" - continues to be successful in writing for shows on Broadway, often in collaboration with other writers and musicians.

The Pop Factory Players perform for audiences in southwest Wisconsin and beyond.