Commences Second Half of Great Lakes Theater’s 50th Anniversary Season at the Hanna Theatre.
The Queen of Mystery’s world-renowned whodunit celebrates 60 years this season as the longest running play in theater history. Great Lakes Theater’s production is one of 60 official stagings worldwide that will commemorate the play’s diamond anniversary.
Great Lakes Theater (GLT), Cleveland’s Classic Company, commences the second half of its 50th anniversary season with Agatha Christie’s murder mystery masterpiece, The Mousetrap. The production will be performed in the company’s revolutionary and audience-friendly home at the Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, March 9-25. 2012. Drew Barr directs the production; the first staging of Christie’s classic in the company’s history.
The Mousetrap is the longest running theatrical production in history. The iconic play has been running continuously in London for the past sixty years – accumulating over 24,500 performances. To commemorate the play’s diamond anniversary, sixty official productions have been licensed worldwide. Great Lakes Theater’s staging numbers among the sixty. The Mousetrap is based on a radio play called Three Blind Mice which Agatha Christie originally wrote for the occasion of Queen Mary’s 80th birthday in 1947. Christie subsequently adapted it into a stage play several years later.
Mysterious twists and thrilling turns abound when a group of strangers stranded in a guest house during a snowstorm discover that a murderer is in their midst. Whodunnit? Is it one of the suspicious newlyweds or the spinster with the curious background? Perhaps it’s the architect, the retired Army major or the strange man running from his past. In an evening of exhilarating intrigue, Agatha Christie‟s greatest mystery unfolds to a surprising conclusion. The identity of the killer in the play is a closely guarded secret and, famously, audiences for The Mousetrap must take a pledge not to reveal whodunit.
“All I previously knew of Christie’s play before beginning my work was its astonishing performance history and the legendary contract of secrecy forged between its performers and audiences,” said Drew Barr, the director of GLT’s production. According to Barr, the classic play continues to pose provocative questions to contemporary audiences sixty years after its creation. “What is it that excites us so about stories of murder and revenge? In the sixty-plus years since Agatha Christie first told the tale [The Mousetrap], audiences ‟hunger for such material seems only to have grown more voracious and more sophisticated. Is it our ever-increasing proximity to other people in a world that seems to shrink through over-population and mass communication that heightens our curiosity, and perhaps our understanding, of the evil that men do?”The steadfastness of the millions of audience members who have maintained The Mousetrap’s secret notwithstanding, do we grow less curious about who commits a crime as we grow more titillated by why?”
For GLT, Drew Barr most recently directed a critically acclaimed production of Chekhov‟s The Seagull in 2009. Other GLT productions include The Crucible (2008), Arsenic and Old Lace (2007), Love’s Labour’s Lost (2006), You Can’t Take It With You (2005), The Taming of the Shrew (2004) and Tartuffe (2003).
Great Lakes Theater’s award-winning home at the Hanna Theatre features a visionary “Great Room” inspired design that integrates the artist and audience experience into a single unified environment. Hanna patrons select from a variety of seating opportunities including traditional theater seats, club chairs, lounge/bar seats, banquette couches and private box seating. Arranged in an intimate 550-seat thrust configuration where the audience surrounds the stage, no seat is further than 12 rows from the performance at the Hanna.
With The Mousetrap, GLT will continue to offer free, live music in the Hanna’s lounge following Saturday evening performances (non-opening night).
Nightcap Night Saturdays encourage patrons to extend their stay at the Hanna and highlight the GLT/Hanna experience as one of the most unique entertainment options in the region. The Joe Hunter Trio will provide musical entertainment following the Saturday, March 17th performance in the Hanna lounge. The Roy King Trio will perform after the show on Saturday, March 24th.
Great Lakes Theater’s Experience Enhancement Series is organized by day of week. The series highlights the Hanna’s unique amenities and affords patrons access to GLT artists.
Salon Thursdays feature an engaging pre-show discussion with GLT artists beginning one hour before curtain. (Offered: Mar. 15 & 22)
Happy Hour Fridays afford audience members the opportunity to gather and socialize at the Hanna’s bar early. Savory and sweet hors d‟oeuvres along with a complete range of beverages are available for purchase ninety minutes before the show. (Offered: Mar. 19, 16, 23)
Nightcap Night Saturdays encourage audience members to stay after the evening performance and enjoy live music while mingling with the GLT artistic company in the Hanna‟s lounge. The Hanna bar is open until ninety minutes after the performance. (Offered: Mar. 17 & 24)
Ice Cream Social Sundays offer patrons the opportunity to enjoy a London theatre tradition brought state-side. Audience members are invited to purchase a cool, personal ice cream treat before the show or at intermission. Ice cream will be offered at every GLT performance, but on Ice Cream Social Sundays, the treat is half price. (Offered: Mar. 11, 18, 25)
Director’s Nights offer audiences the opportunity to take part in a pre-show discussion with GLT‟s Producing Artistic Director, Charles Fee, before preview performances. (Offered: Mar. 9)
Playnotes Pre-Show Discussions inform patrons with illuminating introductions to the content and history of the play presented by a guest scholar before Saturday matinee performances. (Offered: Mar. 17 & 24)
GLT will continue to afford patrons extraordinary access to its artists and production process at every Hanna Theatre performance this spring. The Hanna opens its doors ninety minutes before each performance allowing patrons to observe the complete pre-show preparation process of GLT’s actors and technical staff. Elements traditionally hidden from audiences such as stage combat rehearsals, dance calls, prop/scenic pre-sets, technical cue rehearsals and actor warm-ups will be conducted in full view of patrons, offering audiences an unprecedented glimpse into the theatrical process.
The Opening Night performance of The Mousetrap is scheduled for Saturday, March 10th with a preview performance slated for the preceding Friday night. Curtain times for all evening performances will remain at 7:30 p.m., with a 1:30 p.m. curtain time for Saturday matinees and a 3:00 p.m. curtain time for Sunday matinees. GLT will offer a sign-interpreted/ audio-described performance of The Mousetrap on Sunday, March 11.
Single performance tickets range in price from $15-$70 (Student tickets are $13 – any performance / any seat) and are available by calling (216) 241-6000, by ordering online at www.greatlakestheater.org or by visiting the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office. Groups of ten or more receive discounts of up to 40% by calling (216) 241-5490 x302.
Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland’s Classic Company, has brought the pleasure, power and relevance of classic theater to the widest possible audience since 1962. The first resident company of PlayhouseSquare, GLT celebrates its 30th year in downtown Cleveland this season. On its main stage and through its extensive education programming, Great Lakes Theater positively impacts 85,000 adults and students annually.
Great Lakes Theater’s 2012 spring productions and educational programs are sponsored by PNC. The classic theater company is generously funded by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and receives additional season support from The Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsors for GLT‟s 50th season are Cleveland Scene, The FORM Group, The Plain Dealer, WCLV 104.9 FM, WCPN 90.3 FM ideastream and WKSU 89.7 FM. The Mousetrap is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.