Prepping for ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

Some of the cast of Playhouse 2000's "Murder On The Orient Express" rehearse in preparation for the show's lavish opening on Aug. 6 in the Cailloux Theater.  From left, are Judd Vermillion, Louise Vermillion, Jessica Sturm, Jesirae Kesler, Meghan Ellisor, Rebecca Vidal and Martin Vidal.

A massive stage set is under construction in The Cailloux Theater as Playhouse 2000 prepares to present another thriller by Agatha Christie in a lavish production.

Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," as adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig, will be performed for just seven performances between Aug. 6-21.

"We're excited to welcome back Hill Country theater lovers," said Playhouse 2000 Executive Director Jeffrey Brown.  "We know that 'Orient Express' will be an audience favorite, so we're pulling out all the stops to give it the kind of spectacular production it deserves."

The set, designed by guest artist Judd Vermillion, features a large and mobile re-creation of the famous train of the title, as it would have appeared in 1934, the time of the play.  Period-appropriate costumes and props will add to the experience, and carefully selected music will heighten the suspense leading to the mystery's famous final twist.

"We're having such a good time capturing the spirit of Christie in everything we're doing," said the play’s director, Amy Goodyear.  "There's so much iconic style in the setting, the story, and - of course - in the character of Hercule Poirot, who may be the most famous sleuth in the world."

Poirot was Christie's best-loved character, solving mysteries in more than 30 novels and 50 short stories published between 1920 and 1975.  He first appeared in "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and exited in "Curtain" after which he became the only fictional character to receive an obituary on the front page of the New York Times.

Though "Orient Express" was not written for the stage, it was adapted by well-known playwright Ken Ludwig in 2017 at the request of the Christie estate. It received premieres at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut's Hartford Stage Company, and has quickly become one of the most popular titles in America.

The Playhouse 2000 production of "Murder on the Orient Express" will open in the Cailloux Theater on Friday, Aug. 6 and run for three weekends, with performances on Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., plus one Sunday matinee on Aug. 15 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $22 to $27, with discounts for children and students.

Tickets are available at the Cailloux Box Office from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, or by telephone (messages can be left any time) at (830) 896-9393. Information and tickets are also available online at CaillouxPerformingArts.com (note that convenience fees apply to on-line ticket orders.)

Playhouse 2000 is Kerrville's Community Theater, and is also manager, on behalf of the City of Kerrville, of the Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts, which includes both the Cailloux and VK Garage Theaters and the Kit Werlein Annex.  More information is available at CaillouxPerformingArts.com.

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