New Artistic Director Rob Melrose Helms First Alley Production MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

The Alley Theatre and Rob Melrose, new Artistic Director of the Tony Award -winning Alley Theatre, announce the cast and crew of the ExxonMobil Summer Chills production, Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, Adapted by Ken Ludwig, offering a cool escape from the sizzling summer heat. Murder on the Orient Express will be Rob Melrose's directorial debut on the Alley stage. The crime thriller runs July 19-August 25, 2019, on the Hubbard Theatre stage. Tickets are available now at alleytheatre.org or by calling the Box Office at 713.220.5700.

Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, a plot-twist masterpiece, is set aboard the Orient Express as it travels from Istanbul to Western Europe in 1934. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the train in its tracks. An American tycoon has been murdered and renowned detective Hercule Poirot must sort through a train full of suspects. Playwright Ken Ludwig (The Three Musketeers) adapts the classic thriller that will leave audiences guessing whodunit.

The Alley has a long history of producing Agatha Christie's work and the chance to direct Ken's adaptation of her most famous work and most beloved novel on stage is very exciting, said Melrose. This play moves like lightening with mysterious characters and clues dropped throughout, complemented by an amazing set design. I look forward to going on this journey with audiences and diving deep into Agatha Christie's world.

The Alley Theatre first produced Agatha Christie's work in 1958, with Spider's Web. Christie's most-produced work at the Alley has been The Mousetrap (2018, 2010, 2003, 1995, and 1981). This is the Alley's first time producing Murder on the Orient Express. Other Christie plays at the Alley include The Hollow, Death on the Nile, Witness for the Prosecution, Towards Zero, and Black Coffee.

James Black, who served as the Alley's Interim Artistic Director for the 2018-19 Season steps back into the Resident Acting Company and returns to the role of Hercule Poirot, a character he played in the Alley's 2012 production of Black Coffee. He is joined by the rest of the Resident Acting Company members Elizabeth Bunch as Helen Hubbard, Dylan Godwin as Hector MacQueen, Shawn Hamilton as Monsieur Bouc, Chris Hutchison as Samuel Ratchett, Melissa Pritchett as Greta Ohlsson, David Rainey as Marcel the Head Waiter, Jay Sullivan as Colonel Arbuthnot, and Todd Waite as Michel the Coordinator.

In addition to the Resident Acting Company are returning Alley actors Est e Burks (Cleo, Amerikin reading) as Mary Debenham, Susan Koozin (Whistlin' Dixie reading, Sustainable Living reading) as Princess Dragomiroff, and Melissa Molano (Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol) as Countess Andrenyi.

The creative team includes Scenic Design by Michael Locher, Costume Design by Raquel Barreto, Lighting Design by Cat Tate Starmer, Sound Design by Cliff Caruthers, Assistant Director Brandon Weinbrenner, and Dialect Coach Ron Carlos.

Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, Adapted by Ken Ludwig begins previews July 19, opens July 24, and runs through August 25 in the Hubbard Theatre. Performances of Murder on the Orient Express are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Murder on the Orient Express is recommended for ages 12 and up.

SPONSORS: Murder on the Orient Express and the Summer Chills series is presented by ExxonMobil. The Alley Theatre is supported by the 2019-20 Season sponsor United Airlines, the official airline of the. Alley Theatre; The Four Seasons Hotel Houston, the official hotel of The Alley Theatre; and Lynn Wyatt.

TICKETS: Tickets to Murder on the Orient Express are now on sale and start at $28. Discounted tickets are available for military, seniors, and any student, regardless of age, with a valid student ID for designated performances. Tickets can be ordered online (alleytheatre.org) or by phone (713.220.5700).

DESIGNER TALK: One hour before the Sunday, July 21 matinee preview performance (2:30 p.m.), a member of the artistic staff will lead a discussion with the production's creative team to give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the design process. These pre-show talks will offer audiences an exclusive opportunity to ask questions about the designer's work and learn how they brought the script to life. Designer Talks will take place in the Texas Room.

SPECIAL EVENT: VIP EXPERIENCE ALL ABOARD

All aboard the Orient Express! Purchase a VIP ticket and be whisked away on an extraordinary adventure. Before your performance of Murder on the Orient Express, travel behind the tracks with your personal passport to enter the world of this murder mystery. You will receive VIP access to a pre-show reception with your fellow train passengers including treats, snacks, a beverage for your journey, a customized passport, and a collectible gift, all followed by a meet and greet with the actors in costume after they appear on stage. The VIP Experience is $25 per person and may be added when you purchase your show ticket at alleytheatre.org/SummerChillsVIP or via the Box Office at 713-220-5700. You won't want to miss your shot at this experience that is full steam ahead!



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