Chairperson/Mayor Thomas Sapsea: The leader of the music hall troupe. The
Chairperson carries the majority of the dialogue and must be quick with a joke and able
to improvise. S/he is in charge of keeping the pace of the show moving. Unexpectedly
fills in as the Mayor character in Drood when another actor fails to show up. This part
can be played by either a man or a woman, and can be any age over 40ish.
Baritone/Low Alto (D#3 – F#4 – can pop octaves if needed).
Stage Manager: A non-singing role, male or female, who helps to keep the Chairperson
on track throughout the play.
John Jasper: In Drood, he is the baddie. Choirmaster of Cloisterham Cathedral, and
uncle of Edwin Drood. In love with Rosa Bud. Madness lurks beneath smooth exterior.
Strictly speaking, a suspect, but didn’t do it. 35-50ish. Bari-tenor (A2 – A4).
Edwin Drood: Must command the stage. As Edwin Drood, she is an attractive, rich, and
popular young man who has everything. The victim. 25-45ish. Mezzo (B3 – E5).
Rosa Bud: The not-so-innocent ingenue portrays the love interest of Drood, the young,
beautiful and apparently fragile Rosa Bud. She is betrothed to Edwin Drood, the only
man who isn’t in love with her. A suspect in his murder. 16-30ish. True soprano (A3 –
B5), with a high B natural that can’t be avoided.
Princess Puffer: As the mysterious Princess Puffer, Madam, opium dealer and general
purveyor of vice of all kinds, she is glamorous in her ruin. A suspect. Over 50. Serious
low alto (F3 – D5) – must have a big chest voice and lots of rapport with the audience.
Helena Landless: The mysterious Helena Landless who hails from a British colony
(India.) Another suspect. 25-50ish. Mezzo (G3 – D5 [optional E5]), strong ensemble
Neville Landless: Neville is Helena’s brother and hails from a British colony (India.)
Falls for Rosa Bud, falls out with Edwin, and is therefore another suspect in the murder.
Very passionate and often angry. 25-50ish. Bari-tenor (C3 – G4), strong ensemble
Reverend Crisparkle: This troupe member is a bit of an open book who plays an
archetypal vicar, who is also a bit of a lurker, and was in love with Rosa’s mother. A
suspect. Must be significantly older than Rosa. Baritone (C3 – G4), strong ensemble
Bazzard: Devotee of the theatre, the everlasting understudy, who finally gets his
moment. May have quite a major part if the evening turns out that way. A sad sort of
clown. Bazzard is often an audience-favorite suspect. Very capable of stealing the
whole show. Any age. Bari-tenor (A2 – Eb4 [opt G4 or Bb4]).
Durdles: makes the most of every line and plays the drunkard sexton in Drood. Gets to
announce the murderer. Over 30. Baritone or Tenor (B2 – F4) – ensemble singer.
Deputy: Boy or girl, any age younger than Durdles. As the Deputy, lowest in the
pecking order, and very funny. Any voice range – ensemble singer.
Wendy and Beatrice: Drawn from the company, these characters are contemporaries
of Rosa Bud who sing a fabulous quartet with Rosa and Helena in Act I as well as
participating in the rest of the company goings-on. (C4-D5)
Company Members: Takers of small parts in Drood, but along with other non-suspects,
these will be important characters throughout, taking much of the responsibility for
making the audience participation work, and working individually with sections of the
audience. In addition, these characters are vital in creating the atmosphere of the
touring theatre company. Lots of scope for creation of individual characters.
(Character descriptions adapted from those used by the Staples Players of Westport, CT)