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Thriller NIGHT MUST FALL Takes Olney Theatre Audiences Into The Mind Of A Killer 9/30

Night Must Fall, a psychological thriller that takes audiences on a chilling journey into the mind of a murderer, targets Olney Theatre Center beginning September 30. Stage, screen and television actor Rosemary Prinz, perhaps best known for her role as Penny Hughes on As the World Turns, plays Mrs. Bramson.

Night Must Fall plays the Mainstage September 30 through October 25. Tickets are $26 to $49, with discounts available to groups, seniors, military, and students. Call the Box Office at 301.924.3400 or visit olneytheatre.org for tickets. In addition, Olney offers several special performances that include sign interpretation, audio description, and post-show discussions. 

Night Must Fall was a huge hit for Emlyn Williams in New York and in London's West End in the mid-1930s, and reflects his own fascination with violent crime. The play takes place in the sitting room of Mrs. Bramson's bungalow in Essex. A crotchety old tyrant, she spends much of her time in her wheelchair, reveling in her hypochondria. Living with her is her niece, Olivia, who is penniless and reduced to acting as her aunt's personal assistant.

Everything changes when a guest at a nearby inn is found dead near the bungalow. Mrs. Bramson summons Dan, the inn's bellhop, to her home to lecture him on doing right by her maid Dora, who is pregnant with his child. However, Dan appeals to the grande dame's vanity, and insinuates himself into her affections. Only Olivia sees through him, and even suspects him of murder, but she is too attracted to him to do anything.

Night Must Fall was first performed at Olney in 1949. Directed by Harry Elerbe, the cast included Viola Roache, Pamela Simpson, Ralph Sumpter, Phillipa Bevans, Mary MacArthur, Leon Janney, Francis Compton, and Ruth Masters.

Rosemary Prinz (Mrs. Bramson) made her Broadway debut in 1952 in The Grey-Eyed People with Walter Matthau. Four years later, she joined the soap opera As the World Turns as Penny Hughes, whom she portrayed until 1968, and returned to play in later years. Other Broadway productions include Prisoner of Second Avenue, George Abbott's revival of 3 Men on a Horse, Tonight in Samarkand with Louis Jourdan, Late Love, and Tribute with Jack Lemmon. Off-Broadway, she originated the role of M'lynn in Steel Magnolias, which she played for two years.

Julie-Ann Elliott takes on the role of Mrs. Bramson's niece, Olivia. She was last seen on Olney's stage as Epifania Ognisanti Di Parerga in The Millionairess. Other recent Olney Theatre Center credits include Madame Bathilde and The Sultan of Turkey in Is He Dead, Molly in The Mousetrap, Constance Middleton in The Constant Wife, and Hedda in Hedda Gabler.

Worming his way into both of their lives is Tim Getman as Dan, who performed at Olney in An Enemy of the People and Somewhere in the Pacific. He has also performed regionally at Arena Stage, RepStage, Signature Theatre, Theater J, and Woolly Mammoth, among others.

Portraying Mrs. Bramson's trio of helpers are Briel Banks as Dora, the maid; Anne Stone as Mrs. Terence, the cook; and Kathleen Akerley as Nurse Libby. Ms. Banks returns to Olney, having just played Laura Wingfield in Jim Petosa's production of The Glass Menagerie. She has also crossed the boards of the Historic stage as Ela Delahay in Charley's Aunt. Ms. Stone's Olney productions include Morning's at Seven, Death of a Salesman, Hedda Gabler, Tartuffe, and The Madwoman of Chaillot. Ms. Akerley most recently appeared in Theater Alliance's production of Five Flights. Other local credits include Catalyst Theatre's Crumble, Macbeth, Caligula, and Hedda Gabler and Hapgood (for which she received a Theater Lobby Award for the title role) for Washington Shakespeare Company.

Rounding out the cast are Paul Morella as Inspector Belsize and Carl Randolph as Hubert. Mr. Morella is currently appearing on Olney's Mainstage in A Passion for Justice: An Encounter with Clarence Darrow. Before that, he appeared in Olney's critically acclaimed production of Rabbit Hole, as well as in Brooklyn Boy, The Laramie Project, Art, Becket, Broken Glass, M Butterfly, The Time of Your Life, The Mousetrap, and others. Mr. Randolph returns to Olney having recently appeared in Fiddler on The Roof and 1776. Recent credits include Candida at Bay Theatre, Here's to the Ladies: The Women of Tin Pan Alley at H Street Playhouse, Opus at Washington Stage Guild, A Prayer for Owen Meany at Round House Theatre, Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center, and the National Tour of A Chorus Line.

This production of Night Must Fall is in the capable hands of Associate Artistic Director John Going. Going has staged more than 30 productions at Olney, most recently The Millionairess. Others include The Mousetrap; Doubt: A Parable; 13 Rue de L'Amour; I Am My Own Wife; and The Constant Wife. A four-time Helen Hayes Award nominee, Going received the award for Outstanding Direction for his work on The Miser at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre. He won the Kevin Kline Award for Best Director for I Am My Own Wife at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

In addition to Going, the creative team includes James Wolk (Scenic Designer), Liz Covey (Costume Designer), Dennis Parichy (Lighting Designer), Jarett C. Pisani (Sound Engineer), Nan Flanigan (Wig Designer), and Leigh Smiley (Dialect Coach).

TICKETS: $26 - $49; discounts available for groups, seniors, military, and students

BOX OFFICE: 301.924.3400; olneytheatre.org

LOCATION: Olney Theatre Center
2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Maryland 20832
Located just north of Washington, DC, the theater sits 1¼ mile from the intersection of Olney-Sandy Spring Road (Route 108) and Georgia Avenue (Route 97). Parking is free.


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