By Susan Nolan
Terri McKinstry was looking for a lighthearted script. What she found was an absurd murder mystery. “After all we have been through these past few years, I knew I wanted to find something fun,” says the director of the Twin Beach Players’ 2022 Teen Show. “This is our first live teen show since COVID and The Alibis is a great play with a fun, ridiculous plot.”
Set to open on Friday, June 17 at the North Beach Boys and Girls Club, The Alibis follows Detective Casey Neptune (Lacey Schreiner) as she tries to solve the murder of millionaire J. Leslie Arlington (Braeden Tiralla). Neptune has eight suspects, all of whom are reluctant to share their alibis because they were busy committing other crimes when the murder took place.
While a large cast of teens might seem difficult to direct (and wrangle), McKinstry knows what she is doing. As a seasoned stage actor and director, she has been working with the Twin Beach Players Youth Troupe since 2015. She describes The Alibis’ cast and crew as “hard-working,” and says they have been rehearsing almost nightly since April.
In addition to a twisted plot, The Alibis also offers a large cast of zany characters, including aspiring teen detectives, a grande dame of the theater, and a pretentious chef. “I prefer shows with ensemble casts over shows that rely heavily on just one or two leading roles,” McKinstry says. “I have 18 actors playing 55 roles.” The actors range in age from 11 to 19.
Caleb Graves-Reher, a rising sophomore at Northern High School in Owings, has been acting since he was 8. In addition to performing with his school theater, he has been in five Twin Beach Theater productions. In The Alibis, he plays three roles—a toddler, a boy selling homework, and Edmund Ridinghorn, the self-proclaimed nemesis of the murder victim. “I like Ridinghorn the most,” he says. “Playing a villain is always fun and I think the audience will relate to him.”
Two of Graves-Reher’s co-stars are 2022 graduates of Northern High School: Riley Nikolaus and Julia Mozingo. Nikolaus has been acting with the Twin Beach Players since she was 6 and now serves on their board of directors. In The Alibis, she plays Franc, a disgruntled chef employed by Arlington, and Bonnie, a thief “who wants to be normal.” Of the two roles, she says Franc is the more challenging because she has “to fake a French accent.”
Mozingo served as the stage manager for the Twin Beach Players’ December 2021 production of The Ghost Before Christmas. She is back on stage for The Alibis in two roles: an unprofessional intern, and Quinn, a stressed-out young mother. The diverse characters give the plot added depth says Mozingo. “The Alibis is a comedy, but it also shows that we all have our struggles.”
The Alibis runs June 17-26 at the North Beach Boys and Girls Club, 9021 Dayton Avenue in North Beach. Curtain times are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and military: showtix4u.com/event-details/65393.