Spectacle-wearing Michele Dumoulin, who plays Velma in a stage show based on the iconic “Scooby-Doo” gang, admits that some aspects of her role aren’t that different from her everyday life.
“In the show, I push the glasses up the bridge of my nose, and with my normal glasses, I usually touch the lens. Because there’s no lens in my stage glasses, I end up poking myself in the eye! ” says the 23-year-old actress with a laugh.
Although Scooby-Doo and his fellow sleuths first appeared way back in 1969, the motley detective crew remains wildly popular and stars in a new, interactive musical production, “Scooby-Doo! Live Musical Mysteries.” The show for kids, which originated in Australia (where it regularly sells out), comes to Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on Sunday, the first California stop on its North American tour.
The show features the regular “Scooby-Doo” characters: Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, Velma and the requisite ghosts. The young audiences help the characters solve the mystery.
“Children are the best audience any actor could ask for,” Dumoulin says. “It’s different than performing for cynical adult audiences that may come in with negative notions about theater. That’s not how kids come into shows. They get excited and want to be a part of it.”
When a mischievous ghost is reported, the “Scooby-Doo” crew hops into the Mystery Machine to solve the case, singing and dancing along the way.
Velma, the stereotypical nerd in the gumshoe group, doesn’t have the Barbie-esque bombshell looks of her compatriot Daphne. Her character is said to be known for “daggy” dancing, Australian slang for being stylistically unconscious and dorky.
“She’s a bad dancer, but she makes up for it with enthusiasm,” Dumoulin says. “She just commits and she doesn’t care. I may not be able to dance well, but I can commit like the best of them. We were meant to be. I can dance badly very well, just like Velma.”
Dumoulin, who auditioned for the role last year, was seduced by the stage at 11, when she followed in her older brother’s footsteps by participating in a local musical.
She hasn’t looked back since. She went to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she now lives and performs regularly when she is not out of town on a touring show.