Grosse Pointe Theatre’s actors — pictured here inside the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores — are staging the comedy, “The Play That Goes Wrong,” in April.

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s actors — pictured here inside the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores — are staging the comedy, “The Play That Goes Wrong,” in April.

Photo by Moni Valentini, provided by Grosse Pointe Theatre

The time is right for ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 2, 2024

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — If Murphy’s Law were a theatrical production, it would be “The Play That Goes Wrong.”

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s production of the award-winning Broadway comedy follows the Cornley University Drama Society as it haplessly attempts to stage the period mystery, “The Murder at Haversham Manor.” In the spirit of Murphy’s Law, if it can go wrong, it does — and spectacularly wrong, at that. “The Play That Goes Wrong” will be staged April 5-14 at Parcells Middle School in Grosse Pointe Woods.

“We’re excited to be the first community theater in the area to be doing this (show),” said director Nick Marinello, of Mount Clemens.

GPT usually builds its own sets, but for this show it’s renting one from a theater on the west side of the state. The complex set is rigged for the special effects called for in the script. It also features flocked wallpaper and other eye-catching touches.

“There’s lots of great details,” Marinello said. “The craftsmanship that went into it makes a difference.”

The actors spent two weeks working with a fight coordinator to make sure they could safely pull off not only hand-to-hand combat scenes, but also the falls and stunts that are essential to this show. Marinello said they worked “really hard” to make sure all the movements would be safe for the cast.

“There’s some parts with quite a bit of fighting,” said Conner Motzkus, of Grosse Pointe Park, who portrays the mystery’s director, Chris, as well as the inspector in said mystery.

Kevin Fitzhenry, of Grosse Pointe Woods, plays an actor named Jonathan, who portrays Charles Haversham in “The Murder at Haversham Manor.” Fitzhenry previously directed a high school version of “The Play That Goes Wrong” at De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren.

“I’ve always loved murder mysteries and directed many of them,” Fitzhenry said. “(This show is) very Monty Python meets Agatha Christie meets ‘Noises Off.’ It’s very cleverly written.”

Motzkus said the audience can expect “nice wordplay jokes” sprinkled throughout “The Play That Goes Wrong.”

Although there’s a high school version, the regular version of the show is also family-friendly, the actors said.

“It’s this great, funny, smart physical comedy,” Marinello said. “It’s full of shocks and surprises. It’s well acted. (The cast is) making thoughtful acting choices.”

The cast also includes Tagg Smith as Trevor, Bridget Hillyer as Annie, Mario Simone as Robert, Zak Shugart as Dennis, Kyle Phillips as Max and Hannah Roth as Sandra. Two of the cast members play crew members for the play-within-a-play.

“All of the characters have their different quirks,” said Mary Magyari, of Mount Clemens, the show’s marketing coordinator.

The show warrants repeat attendance, because so much is going on at any given moment.

“What we try to build is this controlled chaos, so when the audience is watching, they’re going to see four or five things happening at the same time,” Marinello said. “So it’s not stale if they see it again. There’s all this dense physical comedy.”

Tickets for “The Play That Goes Wrong” cost $35. Parcells Middle School is located at 20600 Mack Ave. (at Vernier Road) in Grosse Pointe Woods. For advance tickets or more information, visit or call the GPT box office at (313) 881-4004.