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It is the winter of 1940, and a wealthy benefactor to the arts has gathered together a small cast and a creative team to hold backer's audition for a new Broadway musical. What the creative team does not know is that they have been reunited at the Westchester estate to unmask a murderer, three chorus girls from the team's Broadway flop Manhattan Holiday were killed by the "Stage Door Slasher." A bumbling police inspector tries to solve the case of the "Slasher," which is made more difficult by a blizzard, blackouts a half-crazed German maid and a curious Irish tenor. The four eccentric members of the creative team point fingers while bookcases swivel, knives spring out from nowhere, and bodies fall. A less-than-impressive comic and a bright-eyed chorus girl are forced to do the real detective work, meanwhile hidden passageways and secret diaries twist the plot in many hilarious directions as the cast tries to unmask the "Slasher" before he strikes again.
Theatre and Performance Studies
La Salle University, "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" (1998). The Masque Programs. 19.
In its current incarnation as "The Masque," theater at La Salle was born on January 22, 1935, when nine students under the direction of Dr. Joseph Sprissler, an accounting professor, decided to "put on plays" at what was then La Salle College and gave our fair organization the name it bears still. The Masque as we know it began with a production of the Pulitzer-prize winning play Sunup which legend has it was somehow sabotaged by an electrician of Villanovan origin. The Masque's original company consisted of just nine members, precisely the number required for the production. All the female roles were performed by male actors.
Soon after the United States' entry into World War II, with their reserves seriously depleted by wartime demands on manpower, the Masque decided to close shop with a revival of Sunup. With that the theater went dark for the duration of WWII.
The Masque curtain was raised again in 1946 under the eye of James Leary '48, one of the only remaining pre-war Masque members. With Dr. Charles Kelly as director, the Masque produced State of the Union and Thornton Wilder's then-experimental play Our Town. The Masque has not stopped since.