Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express
Adapted by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Bruce K. Freestone
Performance Dates TBD
“A love letter to the original material... Everything you could want – broadly drawn characters, exotic settings, and a spectacular murder with no shortage of suspects.” – BroadwayWorld
It’s 1934. Snow is falling. And the Orient Express is filled to capacity. What starts as a luxurious journey through Europe becomes the scene of a murder in the blink of an eye. Just after midnight, the famous train is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. When the isolated passengers discover a man stabbed to death in his room, they quickly become suspects as the one and only detective Hercule Poirot strives to identify the killer before the murderer strikes again. This clever and quick-witted adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous mystery, will keep you asking, “Whodunit?”
“The fast-moving, powerful theatrical locomotive Murder on the Orient Express will get you to a better place, and slay you merrily en route.” – Hartford Courant
“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”
Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
Famous detective Hercule Poirot is called back from Istanbul to London on urgent business. He intends to book a first-class compartment on the Orient Express, run by his former friend and colleague, Monsieur Bouc. The train is surprisingly full, but Bouc manages to secure Poirot a spot in the first-class cabin. While aboard the Orient Express, Poirot meets a host of peculiar characters: an aging Russian princess, her Swedish companion, a Hungarian countess, a Minnesota housewife, a Scottish colonel, an English governess, a French conductor, a disagreeable American businessman, and his anxious secretary.
A hint to the mystery is foreshadowed as the play opens with disembodied voices recounting the abduction of Daisy Armstrong, the child of the wealthy American Colonel Armstrong and his wife, which ultimately ended with her death.
As a snowdrift halts the Orient Express in its tracks, Ratchett, a rather detestable passenger, is found stabbed multiple times in his locked train compartment. Poirot is tasked by Monsieur Bouc to solve the murder, as the killer could still be in their midst. As Poirot investigates, conflicting clues and convoluted alibis lead him to dead ends. Over the course of 48 hours, will Poirot be able to solve the case of the Murder on the Orient Express?
Though many will already know the ending, it is the ride that makes the production so much fun and Ken Ludwig injects a good mix of humor into the proceedings.
“What a climax! When the train whistle blows in the theater, all we need to do is sit down, shut up and enjoy.” – The Houston Chronicle
Murder on the Orient Express is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous stories. It's an intricate mystery revolving around a group of characters cut off from the world where Poirot exhibits not only the power of his little grey cells but his concern and compassion for humanity.
The underlying plot of the story was one Agatha Christie pulled from the headlines at the time, the abduction of Charles Lindbergh’s son, a traumatic real-life mystery involving murder and extortion that had yet to be solved when Murder on the Orient Express was published.
Murder on the Orient Express is widely regarded as one of Agatha Christie’s greatest literary achievements. First published in 1934, the stylish, suspenseful murder mystery about an unlikely cast of potential suspects - including a colonel, a princess and a countess, all with alibis – trapped aboard the luxurious Orient Express during a snow storm features one of the most iconic fictional detectives of all time – Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot. Ludwig’s stage adaptation promises fans of the mystery classic the same suspenseful, thrilling ride.
Ken Ludwig is a two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright who has written over 28 plays and musicals, including 6 shows on Broadway and 7 in London's West End. His first Broadway play, Lend Me A Tenor, won two Tony Awards and was called "one of the classic comedies of the 20th century” by The Washington Post. His other awards include the Helen Hayes Award, the 2017 Samuel French Award for Sustained Excellence in the American Theatre, the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Contributions to the American Theater. His book How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, published by Penguin/Random House, won the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of the Year, and his essays are published by the Yale Review. Ken’s best known works include Crazy For You (5 years on Broadway, Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical), Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo, The Game’s Afoot, Baskerville, Sherwood, A Fox on the Fairway, A Comedy of Tenors and a stage version of Murder on the Orient Express, written expressly at the request of the Agatha Christie Estate, which will open in the West End next season. His play, The Gods of Comedy, premieres this season at The McCarter Theater in Princeton and The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. His newest plays are Moriarty and Dear Jack, Dear Louise, which will premiere this fall at Arena Stage. On Broadway and the West End, his plays have starred Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Tony Shalhoub, Lynn Redgrave, Joan Collins and Kristen Bell. He holds degrees from Harvard, where he studied music with Leonard Bernstein, and Cambridge University. His work has been performed in over 30 countries in more than 20 languages and is produced somewhere in the United States every night of the year. Read More