Barrett Jones couldn’t be more excited about getting the lead role in the school play. But when his first practice is interrupted by a mysterious booming voice, Emily Jones must investigate the “phantom of the school play.”
It's time for Odyssey Theater's Fall Musical Production, and Odyssey residents get the chance to try out for different parts to be a part of the musical. Barrett Jones gets the lead part (Tony Anthony the Trombone player), Matthew Parker and Emily Jones get to be stage managers. Barrett is really excited about getting the lead role, and then is approached by Jay Smouse. Jay states that he didn't get a part, and warns Barrett that he will "Rue the day!". Jay taunts Barrett some more as he walks away.
Later Emily and Matthew go back to the theater to help manage the stage. They meet the director of the Theater Guild, Charlie Stolfitz. They follow him to help him move some set pieces from his last production called The Pirates of Penance. Matthew and Emily go to move a fake palm tree covered with bird droppings. Upon realizing that it was indeed bird droppings that it was covered in, Matthew drops it on Emily's foot. They look around and see that the majority of the set pieces are covered in bird droppings. Mr. Stolfitz explains that instead of using a fake parrot, he used a real one that got a little "out of control".
When they were finished, they went into the main room to watch Barrett and Priscilla Peterson in their big duet number. As they begin the song, they hear a loud noise. Rhonda Adelaide brushes it off at first, and says "I'm sure it was just the central air conditioning kicking in". The songs starts again, and Barrett starts singing. The loud noise is heard again and it's more of a loud yell. Then in a spooky voice it says "Rue the day!" and it begins to spook all the kids. Matthew and Barrett Jones automatically think that it's Jay behind the voice. Emily decides to call Jay to see if he's home or at the theater with him. Jay answers which means that it wasn't Jay. The kids in turn run out of the theater scared.
The next day Emily tries to convince Barrett to stay in the play convinced that it is merely a prank. Barrett is not easily swayed by Emily and does not want to be in the theater as long as there's a phantom running around. Priscilla comes up and mentions that the Phantom is the Phantom of Taft Hartley. She tells them the whole story, "fifty years ago the Taft Hartley Theater was built and then after that Roosevelt Hartley died under mysterious circumstances and ever since the phantom has haunted the theater." She also informs them that the whole cast has decided to drop out of the production and that Barrett was voted to tell Rhonda Adelaide. Upon hearing this, Barrett passed the task onto Emily since she's the only one that isn't afraid. Emily is convinced that there's more to it than meets the eye. And with Matthew's help, the Jones and Parker Detective Agency would solve the case.
Emily manages to get Matthew to go with her back to the theater to tell Miss Adelaide about the cast dropping out. Matthew comes against his will, still convinced that the phantom is real. When they find Miss Adelaide, she says maybe she'll cancel practice for today. She is shaky in fright over the phantom. Matthew tells her that the whole cast dropped out anyway, and she seems fine with it.
Matthew and Emily continue into the theater to investigate and to get Barrett's trombone. They find Barrett's trombone, and they look for the light switch. They are spooked by the slightest noises, and hear the sound again. Matthew takes off and falls through a hole in the stage, the trap door into the storage room. Emily goes down to Matthew and he seems able to walk. After Emily helps him up, they see a light under a dressing room door. They open the door to see who is in there, and find Jay. Matthew accuses him of being the phantom, and then Jay runs away. They chase him, but fail to catch him. Jay was wearing a cape pointing to Jay as the phantom. But Emily points out that he was upstairs flying past them one minute, and downstairs in the dressing room the next. She concludes that something doesn't add up. After thinking for a moment, she comes up with an idea that may solve the mystery. She tells Matthew to tell the cast to meet them tomorrow after in the theater. She says to tell them to come if they want to see the phantom for themselves.
Everyone meets her just like she asked. She starts with a speech about irrational fear. Emily explains how Jay couldn't be the phantom. Jay was in the dressing room because he was practicing for the next production, which was how he planned to get his revenge on Barrett. He got the phrase "Rue the day!" from the play. The others are now convinced that Jay is not the phantom. But that brings the remaining question of who is the phantom. Emily then has Mr. Stolfitz talk to them. He explains that the parrot from his production that was thought to have flown away, had been living in the theater rafters ever since the production. Emily holds out some "parrot popcorn" and Winnifred then flies down to Emily. She goes on to say that Mr. Stolfitz was the one behind the whole thing. Upon being revealed to the cast, he came out of his fake character he'd been playing. He explained that he came to Odyssey as an experiment. He'd been going around filming everything he did for experimental theater. He wanted to impress Broadway producers and show his powers to convince rational people to do irrational things. Upon being told that they'd be on television everyone forgave Mr. Stolfitz. The play went on, Barrett did an excellent job as Tony Anthony, and Priscilla did great as his romantic partner. So the mystery was successfully solved by the Jones and Parker Detective Agency.
- Should the kids in Odyssey have been scared of the noises?
- Should we investigate the source of our fears before they take over?
Heard in episode
|Barrett Jones||Andy Pessoa|
|Emily Jones||Cristina Pucelli|
|Matthew Parker||Zach Callison|
|Jay Smouse||Whit Hertford|
|Rhonda Adelaide||Barbara Niles|
|Charlie Stolfitz||Jess Harnell|
|Priscilla Peterson||Gatlin Green|
Mentioned in episode
|Nick Smouse||Rhonda Adelaide|
|Silvia Smouse||Rhonda Adelaide|
- Read a devotional thought about this show.
- A clip from this episode can be heard below:
- Emily mentions the name of the episode, "Stage Fright".
- Originally, Katrina was to play the part of the teacher in this episode, but the staff at AIO didn't think she would be that afraid.
- This episode was originally planed for Album 51 but was bumped back when The Jubilee Singers became a 3 part episode instead of the originally planned 2 parts.
- The Taft-Hartley Theatre was named after Thelma B. Taft and Roosevelt P. Hartley. Taft and Roosevelt are the names of former US Presidents, specifically William Howard Taft and Theodore (and also Franklin D.) Roosevelt. The theater's name also could be an allusion to the unofficial name of the Management Relations Act of 1947; better known as the Taft-Hartley Act after sponsors Fred Hartley, a Congressman from New Jersey, and Ohio Senator Robert Taft (incidentally a son of the aforementioned President Taft) that sought to limit the power of unions following a series of strikes immediately following World War II.
- The title of the play The Minestrone Man is an allusion to the musical The Music Man. The song "Twenty-Two Trombones" that Barrett sings is a reference to "Seventy-Six Trombones", a musical number from the same play.
- The title of the play Mr. Stolfitz's group put on, The Pirates of Penance, is a reference to the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Pirates of Penzance.
- The play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Heidelberg is a reference to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Matthew and Emily reference the book The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and it's main character Ichabod Crane, see below.
- Matthew tells Emily that he heard that Hartley's ghost lost his head and rides a horse. Emily assures him that that was Ichabod Crane. Ichabod is the main character in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In the story however, Ichabod is the one who is frightened by the Headless Horseman, not the Horseman himself.
- Emily refers to Winnifred the parrot as "he" after Mr. Stolfitz says "her name is Winnifred".
Jay Smouse: Rue the day!
Emily Jones: There's no business like show business, especially if that business leads to MURDER!! <dramatic music> Okay, maybe not murder.
Emily Jones: ...I call it, The Mystery of the Phantom of the School Musical. Nah, too many words. Never mind. Hey! We could call it Stage Fright. Yeah!
Emily Jones: I'll be the first to admit that my brother is pretty amazing. Talented, charming, personable, but when it comes to moments of fear. Well, let's just say he has issues. Remind me later and I'll tell you about how much he hates clowns.
Emily Jones: You're kidding me. The whole cast is afraid?
Priscilla Peterson: Uh huh. Someone is supposed to tell Miss Adelaide this afternoon. We voted and decided that Barrett should do it. Since he was the loudest screamer.
Barrett Jones: You voted me to represent you guys? Wow, that's an honor. I'll do it.
Barrett Jones: Twenty-two trombones led the marching band! Twenty-two trombones, all at my command! I just want to say that I'd hold you all day if I didn't need 2 arms to play!