‘A murderously funny whodunit’ – Riverland Theatre presents ‘Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot’

Published 8:16 am Thursday, February 28, 2019

Riverland Community College Theatre continues its hope-filled season with the mastermind character of Sherlock Holmes in its third production, “Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot.”

Danger and hilarity are non-stop in this murderously funny whodunit set during the Christmas holidays in 1936.

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Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role as Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is murdered, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks quickly turn dangerous. It is then up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears.

“Ken Ludwig is famous for his award winning comedies ‘Lend Me a Tenor,’ ‘Crazy for You’ and ‘Moon Over Buffalo,’” said Director Susan V Hansen. “William Gillette was a famous American actor and playwright, and with the permission and collaboration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he created the first long running play bringing Sherlock Holmes to life on the stage. Ken Ludwig goes a step further and proposes that William Gillette may be able to solve a murder in his own home. Hilarity and farce are wonderfully mixed with suspense and mystery.

“Gillette is also famous for adding three classic components to Sherlock Holmes: the curved pipe, a more luxurious dressing gown, and the phrase, ‘Elementary, my dear fellow,’ which was subsequently altered to ‘Elementary, my dear Watson.’ The performers have really embraced these larger than life characters! I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan; my dog’s name is Sherlock!”

“Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot opens tonight at 7 p.m. at the Frank W. Bridges Theatre at Riverland Community College. The show was originally scheduled to open on Wednesday, Feb. 27, but was postponed due to weather.

There will also be performances at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 1-2, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3.

Individual tickets are $13 and currently on sale at www.riverland.edu/tickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The online ticketing system allows customers to choose their seats and pay by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. Tickets may also be purchased at the Riverland Box Office, located in room E107 in the East Building of the Austin campus. Box office hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before performances.

Riverland students receive two free tickets to each performance with a valid student ID. Contact the box office at 507-433-0595 or by emailing boxoffice@riverland.edu.

“Get a break from the snow and watch it snow indoors on the fabulous set at the Frank W. Bridges Theatre!” Hansen said.

James Zschunke as William Gillette. Photo courtesy of John Deyo


  • William Gillette – James Zschunke
  • Martha Gillette – Brianna Ahlbrecht
  • Felix Geisel – Austin Hodnefield
  • Madge Geisel – Kayla Byram
  • Simon Bright – Ethan Eriksmoen
  • Aggie Wheeler – Faith Rautenkranz
  • Inspector Goring – Charli Martin
  • Daria Chase – Lilla Parada

Production Staff

  • Director – Susan V Hansen
  • Assistant Director – Emma Peterson
  • Technical Director – John Deyo
  • Scenic, Light and Sound Design – John Deyo
  • Costume Design – Susan V Hansen
  • Stage Manager – Emma Peterson
  • Sound Board Operator – Austin Christians                    
  • Light Board Operator – Emily Funke
  • Set Construction – Ian Gearhart, Brianna Ahlbrecht, Joplin Manuel and Ethan Eriksmoen
  • Props – Brianna Ahlbrecht
  • Marketing Assistant – Evelyn DeAraujo Monteiro
  • Graphics – BJ Witts
  • Box Office – Ian Gearhart and Joplin Manuel