Photo Preview: THE MOUSETRAP At Walnut Street Theater
Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 203rd season with an all-new production of Agatha Christie's classic thriller THE MOUSETRAP. This timeless mystery is the world's longest running play, celebrating its 60th anniversary. Directed by Malcolm Black, THE MOUSETRAP begins previews on January 17th, opens on January 25th and runs through March 4th on the WST Mainstage.
About the show: THE MOUSETRAP, written by Agatha Christie, the mistress of mystery, is the author's most popular creation. Set in England during the winter of 1952, a group of strangers are trapped together at a manor house during a snowstorm. They soon discover one of them is a murderer and suspicion runs wild. Is it the newlyweds whose rampant suspicions nearly wreck their marriage? Maybe it's the spinster with the curious background. It could be the architect, the retired Army Major or maybe the odd man who claims his car overturned in a snow drift. You would think audiences would know whodunnit by now, but the secret has remained safe in the hearts of audiences.
To celebrate its 60th year, Mousetrap Productions has licensed 60 productions of THE MOUSETRAP world-wide, including Walnut Street Theatre. During 2012 the play will be seen on every continent, with professional productions scheduled for Australia, China, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Scandinavia, Venezuela, and across the United States and Canada. The show will also tour the UK for the first time ever, while simultaneously continuing performances at St. Martin's Theatre in London.
Dame Agatha Christie wrote 80 detective novels. THE MOUSETRAP was inspired by the real-life case of Dennis O'Neill, a boy who died while in the foster care of a Shropshire farmer and his wife in 1945. It began as a 20 minute radio play called Three Blind Mice, broadcast on May 30, 1947. The radio play was commissioned by the BBC to celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Mary, a huge fan of Christie's. Three Blind Mice evolved into the stage play THE MOUSETRAP. It premiered in the West End of London in 1952 and has never stopped running. In 1974 the play moved to St. Martin's Theatre, where it continues to entertain. With over 24,500 performances, THE MOUSETRAP is the longest continuously running play of all time. Seeing the production live is the only way audiences can experience the mystery, as no film adaptation can be produced…yet. In 1956, British producer John Woolf bought the movie rights on the condition that a film version would not be released until 6 months after the play closed. Woolf passed away in 1999.
Guiding THE MOUSETRAP on the Walnut stage is veteran director Malcolm Black, whose experience ranges all across the United States and Canada. His extensive credits at the Walnut include last season's Amadeus (the Walnut's best selling play), Damn Yankees, The Constant Wife and Streetcar Named Desire. Black also directed Morning's at Seven for the Walnut Street Theatre Company's first-ever season in 1984.
Creating a world of mystery and doubt are Walnut veterans Scenic Designer Glen Sears (Speaking in Tongues, The Ugly One, The Prince), Costume Designer Mary Folino (My Way, The Glass Menagerie), Lighting Designer Shelley Hicklin (Barrymore Award-winner – Of Mice and Men) and award-winning Sound Designer Christopher Colucci (The 39 Steps, Amadeus).
The cast of THE MOUSETRAP includes Walnut favorites Jennie Eisenhower and Dan Hodge as newlyweds and manor owners Mollie and Giles Ralston. Eisenhower, a newlywed herself, joins the cast after directing the WST for Kids' production of A Christmas Carol. Audiences will remember her from Fiddler on the Roof, Fallen Angels and her Barrymore Award-winning performance in Forbidden Broadway. Hodge was last seen wearing multiple hats in the Walnut's The 39 Steps. Paul L. Nolan (Major Metcalf), last seen in White Christmas and Laurent Giroux (Mr. Paravicini), last seen in Aspects of Love, return to the Walnut as possible murders. New to the Walnut, Eric Bryant (Christopher Wren), Charlotte Northeast (Miss Casewell), Harry Smith (Detective Sergeant Trotter) and Judith Knight Young (Mrs. Boyle) complete the list of suspects.
THE MOUSETRAP runs at the Walnut January 17 through March 4. This production is sponsored by Verizon and Fox Rothschild, LLP. Media Sponsors are B101, NBC 10 and the Philadelphia Inquirer. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org.