Play Preview - "Murder Ballad"

Cast members, from left, Katie Hawley as "Sara," Andy Buchholz as "Tom," Maggie Hendrickson as "The Narrator," and Dylon Starr as "Michael" from Z-Theatre of Zumbrota's production of "Murder Ballad" at the State Theatre in Zumbrota. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

ZUMBROTA — Maggie Hendrickson wants everyone to know that "Murder Ballad" is not your usual theater fare.

"This story is pretty different," she said. "It's not like most theater you'll see in the area. It's darker and pretty sexy."

The musical, a Z-Theatre production, opens Friday at the State Theatre in Zumbrota and runs through Sept. 29.

Hendrickson is in the cast as the narrator, telling the story of a love triangle involving characters played by Dylon Starr, Katie Hawley, and Andy Buchholz.

"Dylon found this show, and we just took it from there," said Hendrickson, who is co-producing with Starr and Hawley. Sarah Schaller is the director.

The show premiered in 2012 and has had limited runs both Off-Broadway and in London's West End. It's a challenging show in both content and delivery. For one thing, the entire show is done through song.

"The music is so fun, but it's challenging," Hendrickson said. "You need experienced singers for this show."

Hendrickson, Starr and Hawley have extensive credits on musicals produced on Rochester stages. Buchholz comes from a choir background, Hendrickson said, and is making the transition to a rock musical.

Buchholz was selected in an audition after Starr, Hendrickson and Hawley had been singing the songs for several months. "We learned the music on our own," Hendrickson said. Then, they put it on hold while Starr was involved in another show, and started rehearsals again in June.

"More than anything, I hope audiences appreciate something different," Hendrickson said. "I want them to come in with an open mind and be happy they saw something different.

"And I hope they like the singing," she added, "because there's not a spoken word in the show."

"Murder Ballad" is one of several productions, most of them small-scale, that have been launched in the area in recent months, as a grassroots theater movement has taken hold.

"I think it's so exciting that people are encouraging each other to use their talent for theater," Hendrickson said. "It's a wonderful sense of community. We're helping each other out."

"Murder Ballad" is not recommended for patrons younger than 16.

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Life Reporter

Tom covers primarily arts and entertainment for the Post Bulletin and 507 Magazine. He also often writes feature stories about local history. He is a native of Milwaukee, WI, and enjoys reading and traveling.