Easter Seals players performing a Western whodunnit

SHERIDAN — A body — Mr. Body, in fact — has been found dead in Dodge City.
Somebody did it. But who?

Was it Mr. Green, Colonel Mustard or Mrs. Peacock?

Did the murderer use the wrench, the revolver or the dagger?

And just where, exactly, in this fine Western town did such a murder occur?

That’s a lot of questions, and there’s no better way to find the answers than watching the Easter Seals Players in their production, “Murder in Dodge City, a Clue Mystery.”

This year marks the 12th performance of the Easter Seals Players.

All actors are adults with developmental disabilities or acquired brain injuries who participate in Easter Seals Wyoming programs.

The plays are held in March as part of DisABILITIES Awareness Month.

Each play is a collaborative effort between case managers and clients, according to Brandy Nielsen, who wrote and directed “Murder in Dodge City.” Starting in January, case managers talk to clients to figure out what kind of role they want — whether they want to sing or dance or have a speaking part. Clients participate in every aspect of the play including story line, costuming, set design and promotion.
“It’s really amazing to see the confidence it builds,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen has seen several actors over the years progress from barely being able to sit in the practice room for five minutes to learning how to quietly participate and delight in a singing, dancing or speaking part.

Clients who ask for a speaking part collaborate with speech therapists to work on their lines. And in the play, clients are paired with each other so stronger speakers or walkers can help those who struggle.
This year’s cast is the largest yet with 27 members. Each actor has faced challenges but has enjoyed the work it takes to put on a play.

“Sometimes I needed help on scripting,” Gretchen Schmaus said. “I had staff help me do my words.”
John Bennet, aka Col. Mustard, said his greatest challenge came with playing “I Shot the Sherriff” on guitar.

Dan French said the best part of the play has been the practices because it is important to learn lines. Mistie Stidellie summed up everyone’s feelings this way: “The funnest part is solving the crime!”
That’s right, folks. A body — Mr. Body, in fact — has been found dead in Dodge City and the Easter Seals Players are ready to walk the audience through this Western whodunnit musical with a cast of characters who will keep everyone guessing — and laughing — until the final curtain call.

“Murder in Dodge City, a Clue Mystery” will show at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday at the WYO Theater in downtown Sheridan. Admission is free and seating is first come, first serve. Call 672-2816 for more information.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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