Courtesy of The Centre Daily Times.

By Lilly Riddle for the CDT

Mitchell Case has been a fan of theater practically his whole life. That’s why, when the coronavirus pandemic prevented him and his friends from putting on their spring production with State High Thespians, he decided to direct his own virtual show; “Clue: On Stage” — a murder mystery and slapstick comedy based on the classic movie and board game.

Mitchell Case, a junior at State College Area High School, will make his directorial debut Saturday with a virtual performance of “Clue: On Stage.” PHOTO PROVIDED

Mitchell, a junior at State College Area High School, is now in the process of making the show “look pretty and be coherent” through editing. Rehearsals have all taken place over Zoom — an effort that required some logistical maneuvering, as older cast members reside in different states. But Mitchell said the virtual practices ultimately allowed people to use what was available to their advantage, like household objects as props.

“I really wasn’t expecting all of that to come together,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t expect people to have candlesticks, ropes and wrenches or any of that crazy stuff, but they did.”

The process for acquiring the rights to “Clue” was also tricky. Mitchell had originally contacted Broadway Licensing in June with the goal of a late summer performance, but first had to play “phone tag” with the company for months before being able to purchase the rights to a virtual performance.

He did this with the help of his family, who gifted him the rights for Christmas.

Dustin Case, Mitchell’s father, said the price was well worth it. “Clue: On Stage” will be Mitchell’s directorial debut, but it also served as a way for continued social interaction when in-person activities are scarce. Mitchell was born with cerebral palsy and is paraplegic, but he hasn’t let that — or a pandemic — stop him from putting on the show.

“It’s been something to keep not only him, but his friends together through all of this, and they’ve just really enjoyed the process,” Dustin Case said. “I think they’re all excited to bring it to the community to see as well.”

Taylor Elliott, a sophomore at the Pennsylvania College of Technology and a State High Thespians alumnus, has known Mitchell since he was in middle school. In “Clue: On Stage,” he plays the role of Wadsworth, the butler of the show’s mansion setting.

“Obviously (rehearsing virtually) is a little more complicated than an in-person rehearsal ... it was kind of hard to have everybody in at the same time,” Elliott said. “I’m looking forward to the fact that this production will reach out to a lot of audiences, with it being virtual.”

Mitchell hopes the show will help take people’s minds off the pandemic at a time when live theater isn’t widely available.

“There’s a beauty in that other style of theater making, where you’re really getting deep into today’s issues and that cultural instability we’re facing right now,” Mitchell said. “But I also think there is a huge value, from a mental health and community perspective, from escapism and doing kind of the opposite of that.”