TheatreWorks to Present MRS. CHRISTIE West Coast Premiere

Limited Run: Oct. 4-29.

By: Aug. 23, 2023
TheatreWorks to Present MRS. CHRISTIE West Coast Premiere
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TheatreWorks Silicon Valley will kick off its 53rd Season with the West Coast Premiere of Heidi Armbruster’s Mrs. Christie. TheatreWorks’ Artistic Director Giovanna Sardelli helms this madcap mystery investigating the unsolved 1926 disappearance of the queen of mystery novels herself, Agatha Christie. Almost a century later, Christie superfan Lucy unveils a clue about the author’s highly publicized 11-day vanishing and resolves to crack the case. In parallel storylines that blend past, present, and Poirot, Lucy discovers the power of finding oneself by disappearing. Mrs. Christie will be presented October 4-29, 2023 (press opening: October 7) at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. For tickets (starting at $30) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (877)-662-8978.

 

This imaginative and speculative romp’s World Premiere directed by Sardelli at Dorset Theatre Festival was called “a most entertaining mélange of biography, sparkling with magical realism and theatrical wit” by Berkshire On Stage. BroadwayWorld lauded the work as “sophisticated, smart, funny, heartbreaking, and hopeful. Whether you're an Agatha Christie aficionado or you just like great art, this play has the power to move you. It is a love letter to writing, to theatre, to the mysterious and indomitable human spirit.”

 

TheatreWorks is committed to creating an environment that is accessible for all audiences in its community. American Sign Language interpretation will be available at the performance of Mrs. Christie at 7:30pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023. In partnership with c2 Caption Coalition, TheatreWorks will offer open captioning (a screen displaying all dialogue and a description of sound effects) for the performances of Mrs. Christie at 2pm & 7pm Sunday, October 22, 2023 and 2pm Wednesday, October 25, 2023. TheatreWorks is partnering with Gravity Access Services in offering audio descriptions to assist patrons who are visually impaired. This service, which includes a pre-show talk, will be available 8pm Saturday, October 28, 2023 and 2pm Sunday, October 29, 2023. (To utilize audio description, patrons should pre-register at (877)-662-8978 after purchasing tickets). Assisted listening devices are offered at every performance with no advance registration required. For more information about accessibility programs at TheatreWorks the public may visit TheatreWorks.org/information/plan-your-visit/accessibility/.

 

For up to date information about COVID-19 health and safety procedures the public may visit TheatreWorks.org/information/plan-your-visit/safety/.

 

Director Sardelli has assembled a talented cast to bring to life this whimsical whodunit. Seen in TheatreWorks’ Silent Sky, 33 Variations, Sense and Sensibility, and Opus, Jennifer Le Blanc returns as detective fiction writer Agatha Christie. Le Blanc won a Theatre Bay Area (TBA) Award for her performance in Arabian Shakespeare Festival’s Twelfth Night. She has also appeared onstage at American Conservatory Theater, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Aurora Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, Pacific Repertory Theater, Prague Shakespeare Company, Jewel Theatre Company, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Capital Stage Company, and Artists Repertory Theatre.

 

Performing in TheatreWorks’ tokyo fish story, Nicole Javier (she/her) returns as Lucy, a present day Agatha Christie fan who pursues a lead on Mrs. Christie’s disappearance. Javier has also acted with La Jolla Playhouse, Aurora Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Crowded Fire Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Shakespeare Orange County, Cornerstone Theatre Company, and Provincetown Playhouse.

 

Starring in TheatreWorks’ The Elephant Man and Radio Golf, Bay Area theatre veteran Aldo Billingslea (he/him) returns as Colonel Archie Christie, Agatha’s husband. Billingslea’s theatre credits include roles with American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe, Cutting Ball Theater, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Magic Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Center Repertory Company, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Portland Center Stage, and Portland Repertory Theatre.

 

Performing with TheatreWorks’ Young Playwrights Project, Kina Kantor (she/her) makes her mainstage debut as Archie’s mistress Nancy as well as Chloe, who aids Lucy in her present day quest. Kantor has performed with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Phoenix Theatre, Bindlestiff Studios, Theater Rhinoceros, and Stage to Screen. As a member of the Actor’s Reading Collective, she participated in readings with San Diego Repertory Theatre, The Playwright’s Foundation, Remote Theater, and Boston Court Pasadena.

 

Elissa Beth Stebbins (she/her) returns to TheatreWorks as Charlotte, Mrs. Christie’s secretary and assistant, as well as Mary, a maid. She starred as the titular role in in last season’s Nan and the Lower Body after originating it in TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival, in addition to appearing in A Civil War Christmas and touring in TheatreWorks’ Oskar program. Stebbins has also acted with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Marin Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theater, Cutting Ball Theater, New Conservatory Theatre Center, City Lights Theatre Company, Custom Made Theatre Company, Berkeley Playhouse, Word for Word, and Livermore Shakespeare Festival.

 

Lucinda Hitchcock Cone (she/her) returns to TheatreWorks as Jane, an enigmatic elderly spinster who is a fan of Mrs. Christie’s work. Cone also appeared in TheatreWorks’ productions of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Tuck Everlasting, Outside Mullingar, Ragtime, and Cabaret. Cone performed in the National Tour of Big River and has been seen regionally at American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Portland Stage Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and others. Cone has won SFBATCC Awards for performances in River’s End and Lips Together Teeth Apart at Marin Theatre Company, Night of Hunter at Willows Theatre, and Mad World.

 

Performing in TheatreWorks’ The Santaland Diaries and Archduke, Max Tachis (he/him) returns to TheatreWorks as present day Christie scholar William, and Christie’s publisher Collins. He won a TBA Award for his performance in City Lights Theatre Company’s Handle With Care. Tachis has also acted with Los Altos Stage Company, Palo Alto Players, Hillbarn Theatre, The Pear Theatre, Dragon Productions Theatre Company, Festival Theatre Ensemble, and Renegade Theatre Experiment.

 

William Thomas Hodgson (he/him) returns to TheatreWorks as Le Detective, a mysterious Belgian genius detective. Providing choreography for TheatreWorks’ hit production of Little Shop of Horrors last season, Hodgson performed in TheatreWorks’ Calligraphy. His theatre credits also include roles with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oakland Theater Project (Ubuntu Theater Project), Berkeley Playhouse, Shotgun Players, and Mixed Blood Theatre.

 

Mrs. Christie features scenic design by Christopher Fitzer, costume design by Cathleen Edwards, lighting design by Wen-Liang Liao, and sound design by James Ard. Taylor McQuesten serves as stage manager with Emily Wolf as assistant stage manager.

 

Heidi Armbruster (Playwright) is a New York based theater artist dedicated to creating new work and discovering new approaches to classical literature and theatre. She is a founding member and co-curator of Dorset Theater Festival’s Women Artists Writing. Her plays include Dairyland, Mrs. Christie, Murder Girl, Every Good Girl Deserves Fun (and other misremembered things), Purgatory, Where the I Divides, Miss Angela’s Legitimate Home for Women Living in Sin, and her solo show Scarecrow. Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival commissioned her to adapt Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, received a reading this Summer. As an actor, she’s performed on Broadway in Time Stands Still and her New York credits include work with Lincoln Center Theater, Second Stage Theater, Rattlestick Theater, and Primary Stages. Her TV appearances include roles on “Younger,” “Blue Bloods,” “30 Rock,” “House of Cards,” and “Daredevil.”

 

TheatreWorks’ Artistic Director Giovanna Sardelli (Director, she/her) has directed and developed plays throughout the country. Sardelli’s many directing credits at TheatreWorks include last season’s A Distinct Society; as well as the World Premiere of Nan and the Lower Body (2022), It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (2021), the Northern California Premiere of They Promised Her the Moon (2020), Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph’s Archduke (2019), FINKS (2018), The Velocity of Autumn and Crimes of the Heart (2016), Joseph’s The Lake Effect (2015), Somewhere by Matthew Lopez (2013), and the World Premiere of Joseph’s The North Pool (2011). She is an award-winning director who has worked on numerous plays by Rajiv Joseph including the World Premiere of Archduke (Mark Taper Forum) and Guards at the Taj (Geffen Playhouse; 2016 Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play) and the World Premiere of the Obie Award-winning play Describe The Night (2014 New Works Festival, Alley Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company in NYC). She has directed World Premieres of plays by Theresa Rebeck, Lynn Rosen, Joe Gilford, Jeff Augustine, Lauren Yee, Zayd DohrnMelissa Ross, Lila Rose Kaplan, Matthew Lopez, and Zoe Kazan, among others. Sardelli directed “Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show!,” a podcast series by Marvel Entertainment and Sirius XM.

 

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, led by Artistic Director Giovanna Sardelli in partnership with Executive Director Debbie Chinn, presents a wide variety of contemporary plays and musicals, revitalizes great works of the past, and serves more than 100,000 patrons per year. Founded in 1970 by Robert Kelley, TheatreWorks has grown from a truly original Silicon Valley start-up to become one of the nation’s leading professional non-profit theatre companies. TheatreWorks was recently honored as the recipient of the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award. TheatreWorks also champions new work, offering artists support and a creative home as they develop new stories for the American theatre. Offstage, TheatreWorks’ arts education programs in local schools and arts engagement programs in Silicon Valley neighborhoods uplift its audiences and strengthen community bonds. Onstage and off, TheatreWorks welcomes the mosaic of people that embody the Bay Area and beyond, celebrating the transformative power of theatre to ignite imagination, inspire conversation, and enliven our souls.

 Photo Credit: Joey Moro/Dorset Theatre Festival




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