Inspired by the real-life mystery of Susan Berman’s murder – and her close relationship with Robert Durst – BROKEN STORY explores issues of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal in this West Coast premiere of author Cyndy A. Marion’s study of motivations, suspicions, and conjectures surrounding this complex crime torn from today’s headlines. The production is performed by the New York City’s White Horse Theater Company in association with 134 West at North Hollywood’s Sherry Theater in November 2022.
Seen through the eyes of Jess (Lindsay Danielle Gitter), a driven young New York reporter who comes to Los Angeles hoping to uncover the true story behind the murder of novelist Jane Hartman (Lynn Adrianna Freedman), BROKEN STORY follows the obsessed journalist’s investigation as facts collide with fancy. But her study of those closest to the victim, including Jane’s best friend Darby (Liana Arauz) and her manager Kipp (David Hunter Jr.), only cloud the issues even further. And it doesn’t seem to help that Jess’ boyfriend Eddie (Rod Sweitzer) is begging her to forget about the case and come home. Tension continues to ramp up as Jess’ involvement becomes personal.
Directed by Tamara Ruppert, BROKEN STORY depends on the slow but steady revelation of the many levels of the mystery. As each comes to the fore, new layers appear. The ensemble cast does a good job of keep the mysterious in mystery, only slowly allowing new evidence to leak into the audience’s perception. Andis Gjoni’s scenic design creates the right environment for the actors to shine. In fact, the production team does a fine job of creating just the right cocoon for a whodunit. Derek Nye Lockwood’s costumes hit the mark, as do Katelan Braymer’s lighting and Andy Evan Cohen’s sound.
BROKEN STORY is a fascinating replay (with some surprises) of a Hollywood headliner murder. It is entertaining and absorbing as it slowly unfolds for the viewers. At times, it may seem a bit slow as clues are unraveled – but the shocker twist ending makes it worth it.
BROKEN STORY runs through November 27, 2022, with performances at 8 on Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Sherry Theater is located at 11052 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Tickets are $25. For information and reservations, go online.