Perry Farley and Dana Skiles in “Laura" at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre -- May 30 through June 9.

Thursday, May 30, through Sunday, June 9

Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, 600 Robinson Drive, Geneseo IL

Based on the 1943 Vera Caspary novel and the 1944 movie classic that the American Film Institute named one of the 10 best mystery films of all time, Caspary's and George Sklar's stage thriller Laura enjoys a run at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre from May 30 through June 9, the play a faithful adaptation of the Oscar-winning entertainment that Roger Ebert's cited in his famed "Great Movies" series.

In Caspary's and Sklar's play, Detective Mark McPhearson is assigned to investigate the apparent shotgun murder of Laura Hunt at the door of her upscale apartment. Hunt, a successful career woman who earned her living creating advertising copy, was a woman with many male admirers. Not unexpectedly, McPhearson’s investigation focuses on the men in Laura’s life who admittedly loved her: Waldo Lydecker, her mentor; Shelby Carpenter, her fiancée; and the aspiring Julliard student, Danny Dorgan. But McPhearson’s investigation suddenly takes a bizarre twist when Laura Hunt enters her apartment, alive and well after a brief respite in the country, only to find McPhearson present and endeavoring to solve her murder. Once McPhearson is over the initial shock, Laura soon explains that she loaned her apartment to a girlfriend, Joyce Madden, for the weekend. McPhearson then finds himself investigating an entirely new murder case, and one with a plethora of new questions.

Directing Laura for Richmond Hill is venue veteran John Donald O'Shea, who previously helmed such productions as Out of Sight, Out of Murder and The Robin Hood Caper, and whose on-stage appearances have included roles in The Nerd, The Curious Savage, and Inherit the Wind. Mike Skiles and Paytrick Kelley serve as the show's stage managers, with additional members of O'Shea's creative team including assistant stage manager Jim Strauss, lighting and sound designer Jennifer Kingry, costume designer Suzanne Rakestraw, and light and sound operator Mimi Sweetser.

Portraying the role of the mysterious Laura is Dana Skiles, a castmate in such recent Richmond Hill productions as Unnecessary Farce and Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act, while Detective Mark McPhearson is portrayed by Eric Friedman, last seen in the theatre's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Laura's admirers Waldo, Shelby, and Danny are respectively played by Tom Akers, Perry Farley, and Jonathan Friedhoff, with the gifted cast completed by Alexandra Champagne, Tricia Fox, and Jim Strauss.

Laura runs at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre from May 3 through June 9, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Admission is $12, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)944-2244 and visiting

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