NEPA Scene Staff

Sherlock Holmes investigates ‘White Chapel Murders’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton July 11-14

Sherlock Holmes investigates ‘White Chapel Murders’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton July 11-14
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From a press release:

Community theatre group Actors Circle will present a local playwright’s take on the classic fictional detective Sherlock Holmes at the Providence Playhouse in Scranton on Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14.

Based on the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Sherlock Holmes and the White Chapel Murders” is written and directed by Scranton resident Lou Bisignani and stars Scott Rave of Plains as Sherlock Holmes and Mark Fryer of Scranton as Dr. John H. Watson.

Bisignani has spent nearly five decades in live theatre. He is a founding member of Actors Circle and has also worked with the Scranton Public Theatre and award-winning actor/playwright Jason Miller. In addition to being a well-known character actor in Northeastern Pennsylvania, he is a prolific director and designer.

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Referring to himself as a “consulting detective” in the stories, Holmes is known for his proficiency with observation, forensic science, and logical reasoning that borders on the fantastic, which he employs when investigating cases for a wide variety of clients, including Scotland Yard.

First appearing in print in 1887’s “A Study in Scarlet,” the character’s popularity became widespread with the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine, beginning with “A Scandal in Bohemia” in 1891; additional tales appeared from then until 1927, eventually totaling four novels and 56 short stories. All but one are set in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, between about 1880 and 1914. Most are narrated by the character of Holmes’s friend and biographer Dr. Watson, who usually accompanies Holmes during his investigations and often shares quarters with him at the address of 221B Baker Street, London, where many of the stories begin.

Though not the first fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes is arguably the best known, with Guinness World Records listing him as the “most portrayed movie character” in history. Holmes’ popularity and fame are such that many have believed him to be not a fictional character but a real individual; numerous literary and fan societies have been founded that pretend to operate on this principle. Widely considered a British cultural icon, the character and stories have had a profound and lasting effect on mystery writing and popular culture as a whole, with the original tales as well as thousands written by authors other than Conan Doyle being adapted into stage and radio plays, television, films, video games, and other media for over 100 years.

The Actors Circle cast features Dominic Azzarelli, Nunzio Caccamo, Carol Davis, Emily Kapacs-Fenton, Grace Kapacs, Kelly Kapacs, Mary Jule Kapacs, Michael Kapacs-Fenton, Molly Kapacs-Fenton, Corey Kelly, Geanna Kirchner, Matthew Kirchner, Lorrie Loughney, Justin O’Hearn, Jacob Dean Bohenek, Bernard M. Ott, Susan Parrick, and Amanda VanBuskirk.

The cast of Actors Circle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ poses on stage.

Katie VonBergen serves as the assistant director, and other members of the production include producers Jeff Ginsberg and Linda C. Griffiths set builder Dominick Azzarelli, lighting designer Robert Spalletta, backstage manager Carol Davis, and publicist Cathy Rist Strauch.

“Sherlock Holmes and the White Chapel Murders” runs at the Providence Playhouse (1256 Providence Rd., Scranton) on Thursday though Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. on July 11, 12, 13, and 14. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students.

For reservations, call 570-342-9707 or e-mail All reservations are held 10 minutes until showtime.

Actors Circle was formed in 1982. A group of actors was sitting in a circle on the floor of the University of Scranton auditorium and decided on the name for their organization before performing their first production, “The Crucible.” Originally, the group was known as the Jefferson Hall Players, but the University asked them to change the name because there was already a small theater group at the University with that same name.

Over the years, Actors Circle has also performed at other venues, such as the Scranton Cultural Center, the Century Club, the Jewish Community Center, Nay Aug Park, the Everhart Museum, the Lackawanna Children’s Library, the Lackawanna County Courthouse, and the Tripp House.

In 1984, Providence Playhouse became home to Actors Circle. In this small intimate theater, productions such as comedies, dramas, classics, musicals, plays from well-known authors, and obscure, but important playwrights have been performed. Actors Circle has also commissioned original works, such as the adaptation of “Frankenstein” by Scranton native Ted LoRusso and an original play by John McInerney. Other theatrical organizations have also been welcomed to perform in the home of Actors Circle, such as DGM Productions, Inc.

The founders’ mission was to keep live theatre accessible to the general public, as well as to educate and enlighten not only audiences, but actors, directors, technical crew, and stage managers as well. Actors Circle continues to strive to fulfill this goal by providing the community with laughter and thought-provoking performances.