Aug. 15 - Sept. 9, 2001
Producer: PowPAC
Director: Jay Mower

Ricky AshtonBrent Cannons
Connie Barnes AshtonApril Haarz
Janie AshtonBrooke Cannons
Charles AshtonMichael Rasberry
Annabelle LoganSusan Bell
Mrs. Ethel WalworthLee Donnelly
MildredCarolyn Isaacs
Det. Lt. Al MitchellRon Marchand
Joe the DogDewey (courtesy of Page family)


by Audrey and William Roos

When Charles Ashton brings home his second wife, he fails to notice the jealousy in his secretary's eyes. He is unaware of the threat to his wife as Annabelle turns the full force of her malice upon new bride. The shocking truth is that Annabelle killed Charles' first wife and now intends to do away with his second by locking her in a sealed library vault. Can Charles and his two young children see through the exceptionally clever Annabelle in time?

Susan Bell

Michael Rasberry

April Haarz

Lee Donnelly

Ron Marchand

Carolyn Isaacs

Brent Cannons

Brooke Cannons
Thanks to Tony Eisenhower for the photos.

DirectorJay MowerSet PaintersArlene Darden, Chaike Levine, Mary Lou Reyen
ProducerBrent Stringfield for PowPACSet ArtistBrenda Robinson
Assistant Director/Stage ManagerChaike LevinePropertiesChaike Levine, Brent Stringfield
Assistant Stage ManagerArlene DardenHouse ManagerSheila Mura
Set DesignerJohn IveyProgramNan Katona
Lighting DesignerJim MillardFlyer/Cover DesignerJames M. McCullock
Sound DesignersLou Alliano, Jay MowerPhotographerTony Eisenhower
TechnicianChristine PutnamPrinterPoway Printing
CostumerArlene DardenPublicitySherrie Colbourn
Set ConstructionBill Fay, John Ivey, Chris RobinsonHospitalityA Cast of Angels
Set DresserChaike Levine  

Publicity Photos
Thanks to Tony Eisenhower for the photos.

PowPAC's 'Murder' is well-cast, well-staged thriller

For the North County Times

Susan Bell brings a new element of suspense to the stage in an outstanding mystery at Poway Performing Arts Company.

Bell plays the murderer in "Speaking of Murder." That's not giving away the ending. The playwrights have been upfront with the audience from the beginning of this cunning play by Audrey and William Roos.

Unlike most murder mysteries, there is not the element of suspense in trying to figure out the identity of the murderer. The planning stages of how the secretary, Annabelle Logan, is going to do away with the new wife of her boss, Charles Ashton, are revealed early on to the audience. And it's no secret how she got rid of her good friend, Ashton's first wife.

Bell is superb in the role of the cold and calculating Annabelle in "Speaking of Murder," which is set in 1954 Scarborough, N.Y.

After Ashton's first wife dies, Annabelle graciously steps in to serve as the nanny to his two children. What better way to realize her goal than move into the household, become a substitute mother for the children and a Jane-of-all-trades for the grieving widower.

But her plan to ensnare Ashton is upset when he returns from California with a new wife, a film actress named Connie Barnes. The children ---- Ricky and Janie ---- accepts their new stepmother until Annabelle steps in.

Janie's devotion to Connie is pretty well set, but Ricky is ripe for Annabelle's manipulations.

Brent Cannons plays 9-year-old Ricky. He has the moodiness down pat. His younger sister, Brooke Cannons, plays Janie. She's a sweetheart and a good little actress.

Michael Rasberry comes across well as the father who has to deal with the new situations in the lives of his family.

April Haarz fills the bill as Connie, a movie actress coping with her new family and the domineering secretary. Haarz definitely has this character under control.

Lee Donnelly is delightful as the neighbor, Ethel Walworth. She goes overboard with her character but it fits. This is a great role for Donnelly.

Ron Marchand is demanding as the detective. A newcomer to this stage, he's sure to become a favorite with local audiences.

Carolyn Isaacs as a few good moments onstage as the maid. Rounding out the cast is a cute little dog named Dewey who plays a cute little dog named Joe. Joe meets his demise early on in the play, and for whatever reason, doesn't return for the final bow.

Director Jay Mower and staff deserve a resounding ovation for this production. Costumes by Arlene Darden couldn't be better for the 1950s era.

The set designed by John Ivey meets all the needs for this production. Lighting design by Jim Millard and sound design by Lou Alliano and Mower complement the overall ambience.

"Speaking of Murder" is a great show, one not to be missed. Kudos to everyone at PowPAC.


The San Diego Union-Tribune | NORTH COUNTY | Sunday, September 2, 2001

Community Theater Takes On
'Speaking of Murder'

by Marcia Manna
Community News Writer

POWAY -- Annabelle Logan, a lead character in the Poway Performing Arts Company presentation of "Speaking of Murder," is cool and calculating in her process of elimination.

Quicker than you can say, "You are the weakest link. Good-bye," she shoves her competition into a vault that guarantees death by suffocation within two hours.

She's among a host of interesting characters all played by local talent in a show that director and Rancho Bernardo resident Jay Mower admits is the kind of performance that a lot of other directors woould not want to tackle. Among the characters are two local children -- and even a dog.

"I have never seen ("Speaking of Murder") done at a local level," he said. "it is not traditional fare."

"Speaking of Murder," a mystery/drama, was first presented in 1956, with Burgess Meredith at New York's Royale Theater, Mower said. The story is set in the Ashton family library during the '50s. Among the characters are Charles Ashton, played by Michael Rasberry, his new wife, and the sinister governess, Annabelle. Mrs. Ethel Walworth, played by Lee Donnelly, brings blackmail and humor to the story.

The children, Ricky and Janie Ashton, are played by Brooke Cannons, 9, and her brother, Brent Cannons, 13. They attend Tri-City Christian Schools in Vista and are both making their debut performances with the Poway Performing Arts Company. Brent has been acting for eight years and has many Christian Youth Theater productions to his credit.

"Brent Cannons is quite an experienced young actor," said Mower. "He and I worked to get a pouty, whiny 9-year-old out of him without going over the top. The thing to worry about with a show like this is that it could turn into a melodrama, and that is not what I wanted. I wanted to keep the tension and keep it realistic, so the audience will buy what is going on."

Mower credits Chaike Levine, assistant director, set dresser and stage manager, for creating a set that lends credibility to the story. The props reflect the 1950s, with rotary phones, period furniture and dress popular in that era.

Mower said that he and his cast work regular jobs during the day, but they enjoy coming together to make a mystery come to life.

"When you put a lot of effort into it and the scene suddenly comes together, it makes me just jump out of my seat. I'll clap and I'll shout out sometimes. When you do (a scene) that matches your vision, it is magical."