Wednesday, February 22, 2017

McCarter adds performances for Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’


McCarter Theatre Center two added performances of Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery masterpiece, Murder on the Orient Express, running March 14 – April 2, 2017. Additional performances are scheduled for March 22 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.
(full schedule below).
An iconic classic called “positively miraculous” by The New York Times book review, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express has thrilled mystery lovers from the page, the screen, and over the airwaves since its publication in 1934. McCarter audiences will be the first to experience this thrilling story live on stage. In collaboration with the Agatha Christie estate, playwright and two-time Tony Award-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig and multi-award-winning director Emily Mann join forces to present this landmark production of Christie's mystery masterpiece. More on the production can be found at

The cast features British stage and screen actor Allan Corduner as Detective Hercule Poirot, Veanne Cox (An American in Paris) as Princess Dragomiroff, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh (Disgraced at McCarter)
as Michel, Julie Halston (You Can’t Take it With You) as Helen Hubbard, Susannah Hoffman (Baby Doll at McCarter) as Mary Debenham, Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof) as Countess Andrenyi, Juha
(About Heroes at United Solo Festival – Best Festival Debut 2016) as Hector MacQueen, Samantha Steinmetz (Bedlam’s Sense & Sensibility) as Greta Ohlsson, Max von Essen (An American in Paris) as
Samuel Ratchett/Col. Arburthnot, and Evan Zes (Incident at Vichy) as Monsieur Bouc.

The creative team features a quartet of Tony Award-winning designers: sets by Beowulf Boritt (Act One, On the Town); costumes by William Ivey Long (15 Tony noms.; 6 wins); lighting by Ken Billington (Chicago);
sound by Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher).

Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Pritchard, says: “Hercule Poirot is 100 years old and has never been more full of life. My grandmother’s best known character continues to invite new interpretations and to
inspire other great talents. I’m delighted that Ken Ludwig will be bringing his unique voice to what some would say is Poirot’s greatest story. No medium is more collaborative than the theatre and working with
Ken for us is also about working with his great collaborators. We are delighted that Emily Mann will continue her collaboration with Ken and that McCarter is to be the scene of their crime. McCarter’s record
as an American theatre able to take great works to their full potential is unrivaled. We couldn’t be in better hands”.

Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is the author not only of The Mousetrap, the longest running stage production in history, but also Witness for the Prosecution and And Then There Were None to name but a few of her greatest stage successes. Her novels have sold more than two billion copies around the world and she is only outsold by the Bible and Shakespeare. Born in 1890, in Torquay, Devon, England, to an American father and English mother, she wrote her first play Black Coffee (the only play in which she chose to feature Poirot) in 1930 having been disappointed by the way The Murder of Roger Ackroyd had been adapted into Alibi in 1928.

She adapted her bestselling novel And Then There Were None for the stage in 1943, giving it a different ending, followed by, in quick succession, Appointment with Death (1945), Murder on the Nile (1946), and The Hollow (1951). With The Mousetrap (1952), Witness for the Prosecution (1953), and Spider's Web (1954), she became the only female playwright to have three plays running in the West End at the same time.

Later plays include Towards Zero (1956) co-adapted with Gerald Verner; Verdict (1958), possibly her most unusual play; Go Back for Murder (1960); and Rule of Three (1962), a series of three one act plays. After a hugely successful career and a wonderful life, Ms. Christie died peacefully on 12 January 1976. You can read Agatha Christie's own account of her life in An Autobiography which was published after her death in 1977.

Ken Ludwig (Playwright) has had 6 shows on Broadway and 7 in London’s West End, with productions in more than 20 languages.  Lend Me A Tenor, which the Washington Post called "one of the classic comedies
of the 20th century,” won two Tony Awards.  He has also won two Laurence Olivier Awards, the Charles acArthur Award, two Helen Hayes Awards, the Edgar Award for Best Mystery and the Edwin Forrest Award
for Contributions to the American Theater.  His plays have been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Old Globe and the Bristol Old Vic.  His 24 plays and musicals include Crazy For You (5 years on Broadway, Tony Award for Best Musical), Moon Over Buffalo (with Carol Burnett), Twentieth Century (with Alec Baldwin)
and Baskerville. His newest play, Robin Hood!, premieres in August at The Old Globe. His book How To Teach Your  Children  Shakespeare (Random House) won the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of 2014. He holds degrees from Harvard, Haverford College and Cambridge University.


Emily Mann (Director/Artistic Director) has overseen 150+ productions as McCarter Theatre’s multi-award-winning Artistic Director and Resident Playwright. Ms. Mann’s recent McCarter productions include: All the Days, Baby Doll, Five Mile Lake, Antony & Cleopatra, Proof, A Delicate Balance. Recently directed world premieres: Danai Gurira’s
The Convert; Sarah Treem’s The How and the Why; Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon; Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I. Broadway productions: A Streetcar Named Desire, Anna in the Tropics, Execution of Justice, Having Our Say. Her plays: Hoodwinked; Gloria (Steinem) Live At Lincoln Center; Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth; Execution of Justice; Still Life; Greensboro (A Requiem); Annulla, An  Autobiography; Greensboro (A Requiem); Meshugah; Mrs. Packard. Adaptations: Baby Doll, Scenes from a Marriage, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, The House of Bernard Alba, A Seagull in the Hamptons, Antigone. Most recently she’s been awarded a Princeton University Honorary Doctorate of Arts, a Helen Merrill Distinguished
Playwrights' Award, and the Margo Jones Award given to a "citizen-of-the-theatre who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the encouragement of the living theatre everywhere.”


Led by Artistic Director/Resident Playwright Emily Mann and Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, McCarter Theatre Center is a leading destination for playwrights, actors, and directors to collaborate on ambitious world premieres, re-imagined classics, adaptations, and developmental workshops. Awarded the 1994 Tony Award for
Outstanding Regional Theatre, McCarter has evolved into a nationally and internationally acclaimed theatre recognized for its first-rate productions, daring world premieres, and lasting contributions to the American
theatrical canon.  The theatre is celebrated for its emphasis on the creation and development of new work, marked especially by an on-going program of commissions, an annual artists retreat, and the fostering of long
term relationships with emerging and established playwrights.
Among the noteworthy dramatists whose work has received world premieres, developmental productions, and workshops at McCarter are: Edward Albee, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Sarah Treem, Marina Carr, Lydia Diamond, John Guare, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Regina Taylor, Beth Henley, Danai Gurira, and Athol Fugard. Many, including
Eclipsed, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013 Tony Award for Best Play), Having Our Say, Anna in the Tropics, Crowns, Valley Song, and Yellowman, received original workshops at McCarter before moving on to Broadway and/or become some of the most frequently produced plays in the American theater. McCarter is equally recognized for its reinvestigations of the classic canon including Fiasco Theater’s reimagined production of Into the Woods, Stephen Wadsworth’s acclaimed adaptations of the Marivaux Trilogy and Beaumarchais’ Figaro plays, Brian
Friel’s Translations, and Emily Mann’s adaptations of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba.
McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations. McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ.

For more information, please visit
Murder on the Orient Express is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Murder on the Orient Express is sponsored by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

Opening night is sponsored by PNC Bank.

Murder on the Orient Express is presented in special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Murder on the Orient Express – Production Facts
Creative, Production, and Design Team
Playwright: Agatha Christie
Adaptation: Ken Ludwig
Direction: Emily Mann
Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt 
Costume Design: William Ivey Long
Lighting Design: Ken Billington
Sound Design: Darron L West
Dialect Coach: Thom Jones
Casting Director: Telsey + Company / William Cantler, CSA and Karyn Casl, CSA
Production Stage Manager: Cheryl Mintz
Stage Manager: Samantha Flint
Director of Production: David York
Resident Producer: Debbie Bisno
Managing Director: Timothy J. Shields
CAST (in alphabetical order)

Hercule Poirot: ALLAN CORDUNER
Princess Dragomiroff: VEANNE COX
Michel the Conductor/Head Waiter: MABOUD EBRAHIMZADEH
Helen Hubbard: JULIE HALSTON
Countess Andrenyi: ALEXANDRA SILBER
Hector MacQueen: JUHA SOROLA
Col. Arbuthnot/Samuel Ratchett: MAX VON ESSEN

Monsieur Bouc: EVAN ZES
The actors and stage managers for this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of
professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

: Thursday, March 2 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Please join playwright Ken Ludwig and McCarter Theatre Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann for a moderated discussion about their artistic partnership and adventure in bringing Agatha Christie’s Murder  on the Orient Express to the stage. The adaptor and director, who will be in the midst of rehearsals for this world-premiere production, will share information about this unique opportunity to adapt and produce the Christie detective novel featuring the beloved Belgian Hercule Poirot. They will also provide details on both the show’s casting and design—the collaboration of an all Tony Award-winning design team.

The event will take place from 7:00 – 8:30pm in the Princeton Public Library’s Community Room (on the first floor adjacent to the Library Café). The Princeton Public Library is located at 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ.
No RSVP or ticket is required to attend the discussion; it is free and open to the public.

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