While Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” has been a theater staple for 65 years, Leigh Selting, director of Michigan City’s Dunes Summer Theatre’s production of the mystery, has a way to keep the source material fresh.
“Agatha Christie puts these little red herrings throughout the play trying to implicate each of the eight characters. It's quite fun to direct and tweak and emphasize those red herrings and take the audience on a fun ride through the evening through literally the last page.”
Running today through Aug. 20, “Mousetrap” follows eight guests of a manor, all of whom are suspected – and suspect each other – of the murder of a woman. After a series of twists and turns, the woman’s killer is revealed.
Penned by long-beloved mystery author and playwright Christie, “Mousetrap” is the stuff of theater legend. The play made its debut on London’s West End in 1952 and has remained in production there ever since, logging in more than 26,000 performances over five decades-plus.
Selting, who lent his talents behind the scenes on and off Broadway and currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Wyoming, was encouraged to helm “Mousetrap” at the request of his friend, Dunes Summer Theatre artistic director Jeffrey Baumgartner.
"I'd never worked in the Chicagoland area, and the Dunes Summer Theatre is under new management. They're excited about the potential of what was happening there. I said 'I'll come and be on board,'" he said.
Selting’s “Mousetrap” cast is made up of Andy Ricci as Giles, the manager of the manor, Kalika Rose as Mollie, Giles’ wife and manor owner, Aaron Michael Davis as Detective Trotter, Donna Rowland as the elderly Mrs. Boyle, Jeff Gamlin as retired Army Major Metcalf, Zoe Sjogerman as guest Miss Casewell, Peter Newman as suspicious guest Christopher Wren and Craig Eperdling as mysterious guest Mr. Paravicini.
"It's great to be able to work with a mixture of professional actors out of Chicago plus a couple of accomplished community theater actors, who are all eager and all adept at bringing these characters to life,” Selting said. “That and working in this new environment has been a highlight for me."
Next up for Dunes Summer Theatre is a production of the drama “Love Letters,” scheduled to open Aug. 25.