WKU’s Before Broadway series returns with ‘Girl Detective’

Kristina Burton

When most people think of female teenage detectives, Nancy Drew comes to mind.

WKU’s Before Broadway series is working to add a more modern one to the mix with their latest musical production, “Girl Detective.”

Alan Gordon, who wrote the book and lyrics for the show, said he got the idea for “Girl Detective” from his previous composer, the late Mark Sutton-Smith. He said Smith’s idea appealed to him because of his background as a mystery writer.

“I wanted to do something that would be more realistic instead of a Nancy Drew thing, because that’s been done to death,” Gordon said.

Musical Theater Program Director Tracey Moore, who is also directing the show, said that it will be performed as a stage reading.

“The actors will have the books in their hands, but have their lines pretty well memorized,” Moore said. “There’s also minimal costumes and set.”

Moore added that stage readings are very common in the real world of theater, and that students will have to do them if they continue pursuing theater post-college.

“It’s a special skill to have something be a performance, but to still have a script in hand,” Moore said.

Moore also added that the actors have only been rehearsing for two weeks, when with a normal production they would rehearse for five.

Julie Pride, the pianist for the show, said that performing an unpublished work is good training for the actors.

“If we were doing something like ‘Les Mis,’ they’d have an example in their head of how their character should be,” Pride said. “With an unpublished work, actors have to work harder to create something from scratch.”

Tabitha Perez, a freshman musical theatre major from St. Petersburg, Florida, plays the lead role of Casey Ames.

“It’s been great to play Casey because she’s spunky, heroic and gutsy, but she also has a past,” Perez said. “She’s not just some perfect kid with a perfect moral compass. She’s got drive and a chip on her shoulder, which makes her very real to me. I like that about her.”

Gordon said he’s anxious to see what a student production’s youthful energy will bring to the show, which he feels is a coming-of-age story about a teenage detective finding who she is.

Gordon also said that “Girl Detective” has something for everybody.

“It has humor, romance and genuine mystery which is unusual for a musical,” Gordon said. “The score is brilliant and catchy, and I’m looking forward to hearing it sung by Kentucky people.”

“Girl Detective” — recommended for those age 13 and older — will be performed on Saturday, March 30, at 2 p.m. in the Russell Miller Theatre in FAC. Tickets are $3 and can be purchased at the door or online at wku.showare.com.