Village Theatre is set to spring ‘The Mousetrap’
January 8, 2013
By Warren Kagarise
Expect more than a month of snow — on the Village Theatre stage, at least — as the scene-setting snowstorm in “The Mousetrap” is re-created night after night.
The classic whodunit is considered mystery maven Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. “The Mousetrap” opens Jan. 16 as the lone play — the only nonmusical offering in the 2012-13 lineup — in the Village Theatre season.
The “Murder on the Orient Express” author and creator of characters Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple debuted “The Mousetrap” in London’s West End theater district in 1952. Since then, “The Mousetrap” set the record as the longest-running stage show in history after racking up more than 25,000 performances in 60 years.
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In the play, a mismatched group — guests, innkeepers and a policeman seemingly lifted from a Clue board — is stranded by a snowstorm in a guesthouse, Monkswell Manor.
The murderer’s identity is a closely guarded secret. Tradition calls for the audience at each performance not to reveal the surprise ending, so as not to spoil the surprise for future theatergoers.
The play opens at Village Theatre as the cast at St. Martin’s Theatre in London celebrates the 60th anniversary and a touring version embarks across the United Kingdom.
In Issaquah, a Seattle-based cast brings the characters to life in the taut thriller.
Director Jeff Steitzer, a Village Theatre alumnus and the man at the helm of “The Odd Couple” in the 2011-12 season, leads a cast rooted in past Village Theatre productions. Actor David Pichette even starred in the playhouse’s last whodunit — “Sleuth” in early 2011 — and returns to another manor mystery in “The Mousetrap.”
The long history of ‘The Mousetrap’ is almost as engaging and rich as the show itself.
July 1951 — Agatha Christie completes ‘The Mousetrap.’
October 1952 — ‘The Mousetrap’ debuts on stage at Theatre Royal, Nottingham in Nottingham, England.
November 1952 — The play opens at London’s Ambassadors Theatre and runs for the next 22 years.
April 1958 — Inmates escape from Wormwood Scrubs, a London prison, during a special performance of ‘The Mousetrap’ held at the facility.
March 1974 — ‘The Mousetrap’ moves from the Ambassadors Theatre to St. Martin’s Theatre.
December 1976 — ‘The Mousetrap’ logs 10,000th performance in London.
December 2000 — The longest-running stage show reaches 20,000th performance in London.
November 2012 — The play sets a milestone at 25,000 performances in London.
January 2013 — ‘The Mousetrap’ debuts at Issaquah’s Village Theatre.
Sources: Agatha Christie Limited, The Issaquah Press archives, Village Theatre