MSU’s Rob Roznowski prepares for summer show at Williamston Theatre

Summer is supposed to be a chance for university types to relax. Not so for Department of Theatre Professor Rob Roznowski, artistic director of MSU’s Summer Circle Theatre. The outdoor theater series, which kicked off last week with “See Rock City & Other Destinations,” will open and close four more shows before the calendar flips to July.

Oh, and he’s also preparing to direct “Murder for Two,” which opens at Williamston Theatre July 13.

“It’s a busy time,” Roznowski said with a laugh.

Rehearsals for “Murder for Two” begin next week. Roznowski, who has directed three other shows at Williamston Theatre, jumped at the chance to work with the group again, even if it will cut into his summer break.

“They are the nicest, kindest, most even-keeled people I’ve ever worked with professionally,” he said.

“Murder for Two” is a two-person musical that plays off of classic murder mysteries. True to the trope, a great American novelist is killed at his own surprise birthday party. Mark Schenfisch plays a small town policeman who is trying to prove his sleuthing skills by solving the case before the real detectives show up. The suspects, a dozen eccentric party guests, are all played by one actor, Andrea Wollenberg.

“It’s like ‘Clue’ on steroids,” Roznowski said.

The casting of this musical was difficult, Roznowski said, because both actors must be able to play the piano. There is no band or pit orchestra; the two performers take turns accompanying each other. Wollenberg has performed this play before, and Roznowski is looking forward to working with her and exploring the cast of characters she must bring to life on stage.

“That’s the best part of acting,” Roznowski said. “You work with every tool at your command — your voice, your movements, your expressions — to create these characters.”

While it’s a bit of a hike out to Williamston — about 15 miles from the middle of Lansing — Roznowski insists it is worth the trip.

“You can get a nice dinner and catch a show,” he said. “There’s a really cool food scene. It’s really becoming a great destination.”

“Murder for Two” Williamston Theatre

July 13-Aug. 20 Call or see website for prices and show times Williamston Theatre 122 S. Putnam St., Williamston (517) 655-7469, williamstontheatre.org

Due to an editing error, Williamston Theatre’s summer shows, “Taking Shakespeare” (now playing through Sunday) and “Murder for Two” (July 13-Aug. 20), were left out of the Summer Theatre Guide in our May 24 issue. The complete schedule, including the shows at Williamston Theatre, is available at lansingcitypulse.com/ summertheater.