"The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

I read The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 8th grade for a book report and the only thing I remembered about it was that Charles Dickens died before he could finish it. Then a few years later in high school I discovered The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the musical and suddenly I became much more interested. With its book and score by Rupert Holmes, the musical was styled after the conventions of the British music hall. With no record as to who (spoiler alert) killed Edwin Drood, it was left to the audience to decide each performance. Then came out Betty Buckley in a pants role (meaning an actress playing a man) as Drood to belt the living daylights out of “The Writing on the Wall,” which ends with the famous E note. The sad news is the cast album has been out of print for years (there are two editions that go for monstrous amounts on amazon and e-bay), but if you ever get the chance, you need to hear Ms. B blast that song to high heaven. (Will someone reissue this… please?) The musical first played in Central Park as part of the Public’s summer lineup, presented by Joe Papp with direction by Wilford Leach and choreography from Graciela Daniele. As for the casting, the show starred Buckles, as well as George Rose (who won the Best Actor Tony), the sublime Cleo Laine as the Princess Puffer, Howard McGillin, Patti Cohenour with Donna Murphy and Judy Kuhn in the ensemble. (Murphy replaced Buckley later in the run). Here is the original cast on the 1986 Tony awards.