Peninsula Players' AND THEN THERE WERE NONE Opens Tonight
Peninsula Players Theatre, America's Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theater and Door County's theatrical icon, continues its 79th season July 9 with Agatha Christie's classic whodunit "And Then There Were None." While the Players have produced other Christie works "And Then There Were None" makes its Players debut with this production.
The stage play "And Then There Were None" was adapted by Christie from her best- selling novel.
Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on isolated Solider Island. When the only ferry leaves the island and the host fails to appear, they are marooned and cut off from everything but each other. A mysterious recorded voice plays and accuses each of murder. One by one they start to die.
Christie published her book in Britain in 1939, four years after the founding of Peninsula Players, and it was serialized in the United States in the Saturday Evening Post. "The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery Agatha Christie has ever written," said a New York Times reviewer.
"And Then There Were None" was first produced at the St James's Theatre in London Nov. 17, 1943 and then in New York City June 27, 1944. Christie's fans may recognize "And Then There Were None" from other titles. When published in the United States her work was renamed and the poem she uses within the story/play was also adapted to "Ten Little Soldiers."
"Ten little soldier boy going out to dine; One went and choked himself, and there were nine ..."
The cast of "And Then There Were None" includes Players veterans Tom Mula and Carol Kuykendall as Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, part of the household staff; Erica Elam is Vera Claythorne, a young woman lured to the island to be the host's secretary; Sean Fortunato is Anthony Marston, a flashy, reckless chap; Joel Hatch is William Blore, mysteriously posing as a gentleman; Kristine Thatcher is Emily Brent, a self-righteous woman fond of her bible; Dale Benson is General MacKenzie, a retired officer; Matt Holzfeind is Philip Lombard, a former military man involved in questionable activities; and Tim Monsion is retired Judge Sir Lawrence Wargrave.
Making their Players stage debut are Mark Moede as Fred Narracott the sailor who carries the guests to the island; and Sean Grennan as a successful London doctor named Edward Armstrong who specializes in treating people with nervous disorders.
"We like to offer our patrons a mix of shows," said Artistic Director Greg Vinkler. "No one writes old-fashioned murder mysteries like Ms. Christie. I think this may be her best one. Great situation, fun characters and a doozy of a puzzler. She spins tightly woven plots and tense scenes filled with suspense."
The credits of the cast are extensive. Mula is in his 20th season at the Players and has directed and performed in many memorable roles including "Chicago," "Opus," and "Heroes" as well as directing "Making God Laugh" and "The Tin Woman."
Elam ("The Tin Woman," "Born Yesterday," "Panic") returns to the Players after a stint in Los Angeles and travels with Second City. Holzfeind's ("The Tin Woman") regional credits include Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Chicago's Writers Theatre and Theatre Wit. Kuykendall's ("The Tin Woman") credits include Arizona Theatre Company, The Asolo Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival and various theaters in Chicago.
Hatch's ("The Tin Woman," "Arsenic and Old Lace") credits include the Broadway productions of "Annie" and "Billy Elliot." Hatch premiered in "Adding Machine: A Musical" at Next Theatre in Evanston, Illinois. It eventually ran Off-Broadway garnering him an OBIE and a Lucille Lortel Award. Thatcher ("The Tin Woman," "Pygmalion" "Dancing at Luhgnasa") was nominated for a Jeff Award for her solo performance in "Underneath the Lintel" at First Folio Theatre in Chicago. Thatcher is a playwright whose works include "Emma's Child," "Voice of Good Hope," "Under Glass," "Among Friends," "Niedecker" and the Door County themed "Apparitions."
Benson ("Romance in D") was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Joseph Jefferson Award for 55 years of comedic portrayals on Chicago stages; Fortunato ("Chicago," "Doubt," "Sunday in the Park with George") recently closed a production of "M. Butterfly" with Court Theatre; and Monsion's ("Opus," "The Fox on the Fairway," "Murder on the Nile") regional credits include The Goodman, The Kennedy Center and Cincinnati Playhouse. His television credits include "Modern Family" and "Law and Order: Los Angeles."
Grennan makes his Players' stage debut. His regional performance credits include Victory Gardens, Drury Lane and "Law and Order (SVU and CI") on television. Moede, a Door County resident, also makes his Players debut having graced the stages of Theatre M, Door Shakespeare and Third Avenue Playhouse.
The cast is under the direction of Linda Fortuanto, whose credits with the Players include directing "The Fox on the Fairway," "Once a Ponzi Time" and "The Nerd." She has also choreographed "Chicago," "Cabaret," and "A Little Night Music" as well as appearing in "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "Noises Off."
She received a Jeff Award for her choreography for "Kiss of the Spider Woman" at BoHo Theatre and "42nd Street" at Theatre at the Center. Her recent credits include choreography at Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, TimeLine Theatre and Writers Theatre.
The creative team includes regional and award-winning designers Jack Magaw, scenic design; Kärin Simonson Kopischke, costume design; B. Emil Boulos, lighting design; Sarah E. Ross, properties design with sound design by Mikhail Fiksel.
"And Then There Were None" is sponsored by Main Street Market, Egg Harbor.