My name is Judith Allen. I go by Judi or Jude to my friends. I graduated many moons ago with a Master's degree in Directing and Acting shortly before I moved to Colorado in 1979. I began my Colorado experience in Fort Collins with a now-defunct company called Foothills Civic Theatre. A lady named Shela Jennings hired me for my first Colorado directing job ("Black Comedy" by Peter Shaffer), and we became close friends and colleagues until her passing in 2016. Yes, the same lady who has a memorial award named for her that is awarded each year to an OpenStage Company member for theater excellence! I began working closely with OpenStage around 1986. I have been a director, actor, producer, and designer with the company over the years and also served as the Associate Artistic Director for some 20 years.
How do you handle expectations with a production as recognizable as "Clue?"
I'm sure that most of the audience will be familiar with what to expect because they have either played the game, seen the movie, or both. The job of myself, the designers, and the actors is to meet and exceed those expectations by delivering a fun product that is recognizable to the audience while giving them a little something they may not expect. In that respect, it is no different for me than any other project I work on.
What is the rehearsal process like?
Long. But seriously, it takes organization, choreography, patience, collaboration, an innate sense of comic timing, and a darn good amount of hard work. Each bit of "business" has to be broken down into all its minute pieces, examined, and practiced for comic effect. Think of the simple act of picking up a glass of water and taking a drink. We don't really think about it. It's just something we do. In comedy, we have to think about a multitude of questions like: how we are going to get to a glass of water, how we take hold of the glass, which hand we are going to use it to pick up, what level is the liquid, what is our emotional state while we are picking up the glass, does the glass get to our mouth, do we drink daintily, do we slurp, do we choke, do we spill, how do we get the glass away from our mouth? Then we think of all the funny and silly ways we can do this simple action. Multiply that process by a thousand for all the other moments we have in the script and thus you have a rehearsal process.
Where do you hope your work fits amongst 50 seasons worth of storytelling?
During my years with OpenStage, I have been honored to have been recognized and nominated for (and won a few) awards and honors for my body of work in all the facets of expression. I take my responsibility to deliver a quality and finished product every time I work on a project very, very seriously. It's not in my nature to do a half-baked job. I hold myself to pretty high standards and I expect the same of the artists working with me on any project. As I continue through the years in this wonderful field, I grow more and more particular about what projects I do work on. So every show I do touches me on some deep, personal and artistic level. I don't want to rest on my laurels and I want to challenge myself. Artistic endeavors have an incredibly short shelf-life and you are only as good as your last project. I want to make, a valuable contribution to OpenStage and its family of artists, the Fort Collins artistic community, our supporters, and audiences. I want to share my love of the arts, history, and of social commentary. All of it.
Who is someone you’ve leaned on during this process?
Each project has at least one or two folks that become that steadfast beacon, that anchor, that "Thank goodness you are here beside me," type of person. We're still getting ready to start, so I can't point to one source just yet, but I am sure there is going to be! And probably more than one.
What makes you excited about "Clue: On Stage?"
Comedy, farce, and people falling down while doing funny things in a normally unfunny situation- I'm a sucker for it all. I'm fortunate to have some of the best comedic talent in the area in the cast. I have some absolutely phenomenal artists working on my staff to bring it all to life. How can I not be excited? I'm ready to get onboard and fasten my seatbelt. It's going to be full-steam ahead. Also, I get to go to work and laugh every single day. How is that NOT a good thing?!
Why now? Why do we need this story?
Because we can and we need to laugh! Because we need to identify with the recognizability of these characters while being entertained. Because a good, shared experience refreshes the soul and recharges the batteries. I need it. I'm sure others need it as well. I like being someone who can give that experience to others.
Based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn
Written by Sandy Rustin
Additional material by Hunter Foster and Eric Price
Directed by Judith Allen
March 25–April 22, 2023
Playing at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre
“ ...a delightful screwball lark…it’s got a dizzy, stimulating joy that makes it a whole lot of fun. It’s a game that’s definitely worth playing.” — D.C. Theatre Arts
Come see "Clue: On Stage," opening on March 25!
WHO did it? WHERE did they do it? HOW did they do it? Murder and blackmail abound in this hilarious stage adaptation of the 1995 cult film based on the classic board game. Six strangers are guests at a dinner party in a remote mansion. No one knows who the mysterious host is… until he ends up dead. Follow Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet as they piece together this devilish mystery. Roll the dice and take a stab at whodunit!