Asolo Rep Presents Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
Asolo Rep proudly kicks off its winter repertory season with Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. The classic edge-of-your-seat murder mystery will be brought to the stage with a new adaptation by two-time Tony Award-winning master of farce Ken Ludwig and directed by Asolo Rep Associate Artist Peter Amster. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS previews January 8 and 9, opens January 10 and runs in rotating repertory through March 8 in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
All aboard the Orient Express for an unforgettable adventure teeming with glamour, humor and intrigue! In the middle of a snow-filled night, as the infamous train hurtles from Istanbul to Paris, all is status quo until an American tycoon is found dead in his compartment. Everyone on board is a suspect, each with a seemingly ironclad alibi, and the dapper detective Hercule Poirot must solve the case before another passenger meets the same fate.
"MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is a quintessential thrill ride," said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "But what may surprise audiences is how Ken Ludwig brilliantly took Agatha Christie's original masterpiece and infused it with even more wit, charm and humor. To have Ken Ludwig's brilliant adaptation brought to life by our own resident master of comedy, Peter Amster, makes this production a must-see theatrical treat!"
James DeVita (Hercule Poirot) makes his Asolo Rep debut this season. He is a veteran member of the American Players Theater acting company, where he has appeared in Blood Knot, A View From the Bridge, The Seagull, Of Mice and Men, and more.
Returning Asolo Rep favorites include David Breitbarth (Monsieur Bouc), who has appeared in more than 80 productions at the theatre and is embarking on his 24th season, Matt DeCaro (Samuel Ratchett), returning for his fourth season, and Peggy Roeder (Princess Dragomiroff), returning for her ninth.
The cast also features Grant Chapman (Hector MacQueen), Diana Coates (Countess Andrenyi), Helen Joo Lee (Mary Debenham), Cora Messer (Little Girl), Tina Stafford (Helen Hubbard) and Gregg Weiner (Michel the Conductor).
Also featured are third year FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training students Jonathan Grunert (Colonel Arbuthnot) and Alex Pelletier (Greta Ohlsson). Students Carla Corvo (Miss Westmacott), Joe Ferrarelli (Marcel, Head Waiter), Michael Judah (Jacques) and Brian Ritchie (Mr. Mallowan) round out the cast.
Director Peter Amster's previously helmed Asolo Rep's productions of A Doll's House, Part 2 (2019); Morning After Grace (2018); Born Yesterday (2017); Living on Love (2016) and The Matchmaker (2015). His work has been seen at Steppenwolf, the Goodman, the Court, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, ACT, and more.
"There's something about a well-crafted murder mystery that is always thrilling, entertaining, and surprisingly soothing," said Peter Amster. "The stage becomes a world where a mystery is actually solved, where bad people are brought to justice, where order is restored. It doesn't happen often enough in the real world -especially now - but at least in the theatre, we can come together and, in a way, see what it's like when some form of justice prevails."
The set is designed by Paul Tate dePoo III, who created the set for Asolo Rep's critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music, running through December 28. He also previously designed Evita (2017) and Josephine (2016) at the theatre. His work has been seen Off-Broadway, at the Muny, Signature Theatre, ODKorea and more.
"In terms of motion, the scenic, lighting and projection departments are really working together to create that sensation on stage," said Paul Tate dePoo III. "In addition to the turns the set makes, there are special treatments in the windows that synchronize with lighting and video so that you really can't tell where one stops and the other starts. The design of the train is a hybrid of Art Nouveau and 'turn-of-the-century' elements, with a real sense of craftsmanship as well. It almost has a nautical feeling to it, like a yacht on train tracks, and that certainly speaks to the grandeur that we are trying to capture."
Asolo Rep's production of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS will also feature original music by Gregg Coffin, who previously served as music director for Asolo Rep's Sweeney Todd (2019). He also composed the original music for Asolo Rep's production of The Matchmaker (2015). He was the composer/lyricist for the Off-Broadway production of Five Course Love. Regionally, he has worked at Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theatre Center, and more.
Tickets for MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and the entire 2019-20 Asolo Repertory Theatre season are on sale now. Tickets for MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS start at $33.
Subscriptions for the season are also on sale.
To purchase tickets, call 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, visit www.asolorep.org, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office, located in the lobby of the theatre. Asolo Repertory Theatre is located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts.