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Arts and Entertainment

Springfield Contemporary Theatre Presents "Killer Joe"

(Photo courtesy Springfield Contemporary Theatre)

Coming to Springfield Contemporary Theatre Center Stage at Wilhoit Plaza: Killer Joe by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tracy Letts, directed by Melanie Dreyer-Lude, April 22nd through May 7.  Killer Joe is described by SCT as "a Southern American gothic crime thriller set in a West Dallas trailer park"--but director Melanie Dreyer-Lude (Assistant Professor of Theatre Performance at Missouri State University) assures me the show is "funny, with lots of opportunities for laughter," despite the dark-sounding storyline. Chris, a bungling young drug dealer desperate to repay some loan sharks, ropes his father into a plot to hire a contract killer (named "Killer Joe") to knock off his mother in order to get the sizable insurance payout. However, things go disastrously awry as Killer Joe demands Chris’ younger sister Dottie as his 'retainer’ until the payment for his services comes through.

Killer Joe is played by Chris Brown, Artist-in-Residence in the MSU Theatre and Dance Department and a veteran of Chicago-area improv-comedy groups including the famous Second City, where he was a "teaching artist" for a decade.  Killer Joe, says Chris, actually works for the Dallas Police Department(!) but is secretly a contract killer--"on the side. He definitely has a lot of secrets... and a few, let's say, 'proclivities' that he wants to explore--on the side." 

One of these "proclivities" is undoubtedly Dottie, Chris the drug dealer' sister, who, says director Melanie Dreyer-Lude," is an "intellectually challenged person because--well, her mother tried to murder her when she was a baby, basically! But she ends up being the smartest person in the show.  So the script is full of brilliant little twists and tricks like that, and it's compelling from beginning to end. I think anybody who comes to see it will find that, when intermission comes, they'll be like, 'WHOA! Did you see that?!'"

This play contains strong adult language and content, so it's not suitable for young audiences.  Performances will be Friday and Saturday April 22nd and 23rd, the 29th and 30th, and Thurs-Sat May 5-7 all at 7:30pm, with Sunday matinees at 2:00pm April 24 and May 1st at SCT Center Stage (corner of Pershing and Robberson). For tickets call 831-8001 or visit