BWW Interview: DEATHTRAP to Open 2016 Season at Washington County Playhouse

With the cold weather just beginning, the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children's Theater will present the chilling thriller Deathtrap for the first show of their 2016 season.

Deathtrap, written by Ira Levin and directed by Shawn R. Martin, is considered a "play-within-a-play" and also was the longest running comedic thriller on Broadway. Sidney Bruhl was, at one point, a successful playwright, but has recently produced a series of flops. When Sidney receives a stunning play, also entitled Deathtrap, from one of his writing students, Clifford, Sidney forms a plan to murder Clifford so he can claim the successful play as his own. However, this thriller provides many twists and turns as more murder and mayhem occurs throughout the evening.

With an intimate cast of only five characters, the actors enjoyed rehearsing the rapid-paced thriller.

"The most enjoyable part of this show has definitely been meeting and working with new people. I've made some great new friends and rekindled old relationships with this show" said Steve Steele, who plays Sidney Bruhl

"As always, the most enjoyable part of the rehearsal process is developing my character, exploring his relationships to the other characters, trying new things and working with other creative people who enjoy theatre as much as I do" said Jeff Wine, who plays Clifford Anderson.

"It's a great cast and a great show with suspense, surprises and psychics!" said Allison Banzhoff, who plays Helga ten Dorp.

The cast faced various challenges with a thriller play featuring darkly complex characters.

"The biggest challenge has been getting inside Clifford's head and taking myself to a place I would never go to achieve the same him a back story to draw conclusions as to why he does the things he does" said Wine

"For me, personally, the challenge with Helga ten Dorp [was that] her character is not native English speaking. Her dialect and syntax is crazy, but she's also crazy fun!" said Banzhoff

"Productions can be challenging in lots of different ways. In Deathtrap, there is a ton of "business." There are several sections in this play that require no dialogue... just the actor or actors running around and doing stuff that's very important to the plot and has to be done in the order. It's like learning choreography for a musical. And there's some stage combat as well... characters fighting and otherwise trying to perform mayhem on one another. It's lots of fun and the audience will get a kick out of it, but also challenging to learn and perform properly" said Steele

With only a few days until the thriller opens, the cast is ready to present Deathtrap as the first show of the Washington County Playhouse 2016 season.

"It is non-stop action from beginning to end; a classic thriller. Just when you think you have it figured out, there's another surprise around the corner! It's not until the end that you truly know what is going on!" said Banzhoff

"There are lots of twists and turns in this show and several moments that the audience will really enjoy. And there are a few spots that just might make the audience jump in their seats a little. Ira Levin is one of the most devious playwrights ever to put pen to paper" said Steele

"It's one of the best thrillers written for the stage. To my knowledge, it's rarely been produced in this area. The script also has a perfect combination of witty dialogue and humor mixed with some very dramatic and intense moments. But while most thriller/comedy plays I'm familiar with are lighter in tone, Deathtrap contains darker elements that I believe enthusiasts of this genre will greatly appreciate. It's the perfect play to enjoy on a cold winter's evening!" said Wine

Deathtrap also features Diana Abrecht as Myra Bruhl and Shawn R. Martin as Porter Milgrim. Deathtrap runs January 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30 and February 5, 6, 12 13, 19, 20, with one Sunday matinee on January 24. Dinner hour will begin at 6:00 with the show shortly following at approximately 7:45 for evening performances and lunch hour for the matinee performances begins at 1:00 with the show following at approximately 2:30. For more information about the production or to make reservations, please call the box office at (301) 739-7469 or visit

Photo Credit: Washington County Playhouse

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From This Author Johnna Leary

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