AE’s 10th season opens with ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’ Sept. 6

Stephen F. Vrtol (seated) with David A. Gingerich (standing). (Photo by John Cobb)

Staff Report

It’s just like Downton Abbey, but with werewolves. The Mystery of Irma Vep, a gothic comedy filled with vampires and werewolves and mummies (Oh, my!) is the opening play of Artists’ Ensemble (AE) Theater’s 10th season. Running for three weeks, Sept. 6-22, this outrageous comedy was hailed by The New York Times as “far and away the funniest two hours unfolding anywhere.”

Stern Lord Edgar (David A. Gingerich) has taken a new bride, the lovely, but timid, Lady Edith (Stephen F. Vrtol III). Edgar has brought Edith to Mandercrest, his spooky old manor house where Lady Edith quickly realizes that she will have to compete with the memory of Edgar’s glamorous first wife, Irma Vep.

The sinister housekeeper, Jane (David again) and the crude gamekeeper, Nicodemus (Steve) both know more than they are telling about Irma Vep’s mysterious and untimely death.

Ensemble members David A. Gingerich and Stephen F. Vrtol III play all roles, both male and female, in this outrageous comedy.

Irma Vep will be performed in the Maddox Theatre in the Clark Arts Center at Rockford University. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Thursday tickets are $19. All other performances are $30, $28 for seniors, and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (815) 394-5004.

Artists’ Ensemble is an Equity professional theater performing at Rockford University.

From the Sept. 4-10, 2013, issue

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