Murder on the Orient Express
By Agatha Christie
Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig
San Diego Premiere of the Classic Whodunnit
March 18 – April 16, 2022
Thursday-Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 2pm
No performance Easter Sunday 4/17
Directed by Tyler Richards Hewes
Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, the passengers rely on the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to identify the murderer – before he or she decides to strike again. Everyone is a suspect in this celebrated mystery crime drama.
Ken Ludwig’s clever adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic boasts all the glamour, intrigue and suspense of Dame Agatha’s celebrated novel, with a healthy dose of humor to quicken the pace.
Ken Ludwig has had six shows on Broadway, seven in London’s West End, and many of his works have become a standard part of the American repertoire. His 28 plays and musicals have been performed in over 30 countries in more than 20 languages and are produced throughout the United States every night of the year.
Dame Agatha Christie, known as the best-selling novelist of all time, is recognized for her contributions to literature as well as to the theatre. Agatha Christie’s 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections have sold over 2 billion copies and ranks third in the world of most-widely published books, behind Shakespeare and the Bible. In 1954, she became the first female playwright to have three plays running simultaneously in London’s West End. The Mousetrap is Christie’s longest running play, having first opened in November 1952 and still runs to this day in London’s West End.
“A love letter to the original material, with a swift moving script adaptation by Ken Ludwig. … [E]verything you could want – broadly drawn characters, exotic settings, and a spectacular murder with no shortage of suspects.” Broadway World
“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
“Agatha Christie is not the bestselling novelist in history for nothing, and Ken Ludwig’s adaptation strikes the perfect balance of the cerebral and the comic. Get on board – it’s a great ride.” Houstonian Magazine
ANDREA ACUNA (Hector MacQueen) (She, Her) is beyond thrilled to return to the stage for the first time since the onset of COVID-19. Her last production at CPH was in 2015 where she appeared as Mariane in Tartuffe. She appreciates this opportunity to play another male-identifying character, having previously played Antony in Antony & Cleopatra (New Match Collective) and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (PowPAC/Pickwick Players). Other credits include Claudia Faith Draper in Nuts (PowPAC), Mrs. Webb in Our Town (Patio Playhouse), and Georgie in Spike Heels (OnStage Playhouse) – all Aubrey Award-winning performances. Andrea would like to thank her partner, Aaron, for his endless love and support; Tyler, for his bold vision and direction; the cast and crew, for their dedication and commitment to safety; and YOU, the audience, for supporting this production. Enjoy the show!
SUSAN BRANCH (Greta Ohlsson) is excited to be making her CPH debut in this production. She is a lover of the murder mystery genre. Susan is a recent transplant to Coronado having retired from the active practice of law in central California. In a “prior life,” Susan was a dancer with the Kansas City Ballet. She is thankful for the loving support of her husband, Bob.
EMILY CANDIA (Countess Andrenyi) is happy to make her CPH debut with this great team. She was last seen in The Drowning Girls at OSP in Chula Vista. Past credit includes Clybourne Park (Tenth Avenue Arts); All My Sons (OSP); Peter And the Starcatcher (Lamplighters); A Piece of My Heart (OnStage Playhouse); Magic at the Marketplace (The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre and Music Hall); The Cherry Orchard (Cal State Bakersfield); Next to Normal (The Empty Space). Emily holds a BA in Theatre from Cal State Bakersfield, and has been a part of the San Diego theatre scene for over 5 years.
HEATHER DEERFIELD (Hercule Poirot) is excited to return to Coronado Playhouse. Her most recent roles were Agnes in When We Were Young and Unafraid at Patio Playhouse, and Rosie in Mamma Mia! at Coronado Playhouse. Some of her other roles include Grandma Rosie in the OB Playhouse production of The Wedding Singer, Latrelle in Sordid Lives at Coronado Playhouse, Violet in 9 to 5 The Musical at OnStage Playhouse, and multiple roles in the Aubrey Award-winning ensemble of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at Pickwick Players. When not performing, Heather can be found working as the Life Enrichment Director at Fredericka Manor Retirement Community and spending time with her loving and supportive husband Bill and their two dogs. Heather has truly enjoyed working with this incredibly talented cast and production team, and she is so happy that live theatre is back!
KEITH FOSTER (Michel) is excited to make his debut at Coronado Playhouse. Keith got his degree in theatre at Idaho State University, in his hometown of Pocatello, Idaho. Keith has a background in improv and sketch comedy and has been a player in The Comedy Project, Zygote, There’s Something on the Wing: An Improvised Twilight Zone, Book Club, and Improv Vs. Standup as well as hosting his own alternative comedy cabaret Alt. Comoedia. Keith was also the co-host of the late night talk show Tonight in San Diego and is currently a co-host of the movie podcast The Macguffin.
LU GARCIA (Head Waiter/Ensemble) is excited to be working again with Coronado Playhouse after appearing as Patchy the Pirate/Old Man Jenkins in The SpongeBob Musical. Growing up in Philadelphia, Lu majored in Classical Guitar at Eastern University and exercises his love for the arts through Musical Theater along with his three daughters Elaine, Grace, and Emilia.
MIGUEL GONGORA JR. (Samuel Ratchett) is happy to make his Coronado Playhouse debut. He was last seen on a physical stage in Going To A Place Where You Already Are (OnStage). He studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He is also an actor for Playwrights Project. His next production will be in Tony Kushner’s The Illusion with Mesa College Theater Company. Miguel works for federal court-appointed defense attorneys.
JULIAN KALB (Ensemble) is excited to be working again at Coronado Playhouse after being cast as Purser in Anything Goes during the 2020 Season Pre-Covid before its abrupt cancellation. Since then, Julian has been returning to voice acting in roles such as Connie Springer in Attack on Titan: Requiem (TBA) and Uncle Paps in evil lies adults tell children (2022) and works part-time at The Haunted Trail in San Diego.
DANI LEANDRA (Mary Debenham) (She, They) is thrilled to return to CPH in this fantastic show. Some previous credits include (Magenta/Usherette) The Rocky Horror Show, (Alison Bechdel) Fun Home, (Martha Dunnstock) Heathers The Musical, (Audrey) Little Shop of Horrors, (Heather McNamara) Heathers The Musical. Dani would like to thank Tyler for the opportunity and the production team for their support! Enjoy the show!
SARA JANE NASH (Monsieur Bouc) is delighted to be back at Coronado Playhouse, where she last appeared as Princess Diana in King Charles III, for which she won a Blue Ribbon Award for “Best Actress Minor Support Comedy/Drama”. Other favorite theatrical credits include Moira in And Neither Have I Wings to Fly, Lady Windermere in Lady Windermere’s Fan, and Mrs de Winter in Rebecca. Represented by Shamon Freitas Talent Agency. Amusez-vous bien!
(Swing/Ensemble) is excited to be returning to Coronado Playhouse after performing in Clue (Yvette). She has performed improv and sketch comedy around San Diego and recently completed the improv training program at The Groundlings Theatre and School.
AMY STANLEY (Helen Hubbard) is thrilled to be performing at Coronado. Some recent theatrical credits include God of Carnage (Veronica), The Tin Woman (Joy), To Kill a Mockingbird (Jean Louise), Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Hermia), and Steel Magnolias (Truvy). Amy is grateful to Tyler for trusting her to bring this crazy woman to life. And to Shawn, Charlie, Sophia, and Mom; her biggest fans…thank you for the unending love and support!
KARA TUCKFIELD (Princess Dragomiroff) Kara is so glad to be back at the wonderful Coronado Playhouse. Recent credits: Caesar in Julius Caesar (Vanguard), Karen in Air Turbulence (Star Theater), Geneva in 1940’s Radio Hour (Lamplighters), Paulina in The Winters Tale (Coronado Playhouse), Miss Hannigan in Annie (Vanguard), Mrs. Boyle in Mousetrap (Lamplighters), director Godspell (Vanguard). Other credits include Hippolyta/Tatiana in Midsummer Night’s Dream (Castle Theater), Sister Roberts in Nunsense (Atascadero Dinner Theater), Muriel in Woman in Mind (Margetts Theater). Kara is grateful to the great cast and director at the CPH for this delightfully murderous experience.
DANI UCMAN (Ensemble) is excited to be a part of this cast. This is her first time performing at Coronado Playhouse. While she loves performing on stage you can also find her stage managing shows as well. She wants to thank her friends, family, and boyfriend for their support.
SAMUEL YOUNG (Colonel Arbuthnot) is thrilled to be back on the Coronado Playhouse stage working with this great group of actors and wonderfully supportive crew. He last treaded the boards at Coronado Playhouse in Macbeth, King Charles III, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet. He also directed The Winter’s Tale, Moon Over Buffalo, and Constellations at the Playhouse. He is excited for live theatre to come back and wishes everyone to stay safe and healthy.
Ken Ludwig (Playwright) has had six shows on Broadway, seven in London’s West End, and many of his works have become a standard part of the American repertoire. His 28 plays and musicals have been performed in over 30 countries in more than 20 languages and are produced throughout the United States every night of the year.
Lend Me a Tenor won two Tony Awards and was called “one of the classic comedies of the 20th century by The Washington Post. Crazy For You was on Broadway for five years and won the Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical.
In addition, he has won the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year, two Laurence Olivier Awards, two Helen Hayes Awards, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Contributions to the American Theater. His plays have starred, among others, Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Tony Shaloub, Joan Collins and Hal Holbrook.
His stage version of Murder on the Orient Express was written expressly at the request of the Agatha Christie Estate, and his latest play, Dear Jack, Dear Louise, won the 2020 Charles MacArthur Award for Best New Play of the Year and is optioned for Broadway.
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 in the Yale Review.
He is a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge and is a frequent guest speaker for groups as varied as The Oxford-Cambridge Society, The Jane Austen Society of North America, The Folger Shakespeare Library, and The Baker Street Irregulars.
For more information, see his website at www.kenludwig.com.
TYLER RICHARDS HEWES (Director) (He, Him, His) is returning to CPH after making his Coronado Playhouse acting debut as Mrs. Peacock in 2021’s Clue and having previously directed the San Diego premiere of King Charles III at CPH in 2017. Recent theatrical projects include directing November, God of Carnage, Treasure Island, Romeo & Juliet, To Kill A Mockingbird; performances in Bedside Manners, Funny Business, Greetings!, It’s a Wonderful Life, Macbeth, And Then There Were None, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tyler is thankful for his love, Heather, and for the incredible support of his family, Abby, Henry, and Margaret, and his work family at WEIL.
SHAUN LIM (Assistant Director) (They, He) is proper chuffed to collaborate with Coronado Playhouse again after having previously been seen on the CPH stage in The World Goes ‘Round. Select directorial credits: Almost, Maine (Trinity Theatre Company), Oleanna and Mergers and Accusations (Yale-NUS). Select performance credits: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Patio Playhouse), This We’ll Defend (American History Theatre) and An Iliad (Yale-NUS). Many thanks to Tyler for the opportunity, as well as the Murder cast and production team for the wonderful rehearsal process. Forever grateful to family, friends, mentors, and the cat for their constant love and encouragement. IG: @caenorhabditise
MIO ROSE ALDANA (Stage Manager) is excited to stage manage her first production at CPH after previously working designing lights for James Bond: The Musical. She is an aspiring light designer and stage manager, having worked with many local theatres in San Diego. Select production credits SWC Dance LIVE!, The Art of Dance, Dancing Through Life, Dance to the Musical, Oedipus El Rey and Waiting for Lefty (Southwestern College). Mio would like to thank her mother, sister, and life partner Brenton James for their endless support in her endeavors, as well as her professor Michael Buckley and Tammy Ray for all the opportunities.
DENNIS FLOYD (Set Design) This is Dennis’ third executed design for Coronado Playhouse – CPH fans almost got to see his set for Richard III in the summer of Covid. He’s happy to be creating again and working with Tyler Hewes and the fantastic Murder on the Orient Express team and cast. Dennis’ most recent designs include Harlem Duet and Comedy of Errors (Coronado Playhouse), The Cocktail Hour and God of Carnage (Lamplighters), and Treasure Island (Pickwick Players). He’s also grateful for the support of his long-suffering wife – Thanks Pam! “Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so; and being done, thus Wall away doth go.”
MASHUN TUCKER (Lighting Designer) is an Artist based in San Diego. He has worked with multiple companies in the area including San Diego Rep, New Village Arts & The Old Globe. He is happy to be making his debut at the Coronado Playhouse stage. He is very excited to be working in a new space & to be back in theatre doing what he truly loves. He would like to thank Tyler for for such a wonderful opportunity. Enjoy the show!
KIMBERLY KING (Producer) is thrilled to get her first-time producer badge at Coronado Playhouse with this impactful show! Murder on the Orient Express, and all Agatha Christie literature is a staple in my mystery/crime-solving cannon,” gushes Ms. King. “Once you see Hercule Poirot’s mustache you know the perpetrator is quakin’ because he ain’t getting away, and he knows it!” Other appearances: A sixth-grade classroom near you; various nonprofit board meetings; your mom’s house. Upcoming: WOW Festival 2022; Pop-up therapy sessions around town.
CASSANDRA SHELLUM (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be working with Coronado Playhouse again after recently running the soundboard for Clue. She also has stage managed Merchant of Venice at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and assistant stage managing Romeo and Juliet with Pickwick Players. She is also grateful to be working with Tyler again and wants to thank him for the opportunity. She would also like to thank her girlfriend for her patience and support through the rehearsal process.
PAM STOMPOLY-ERICSON (Costume Design) has been a costume designer and make-up artist in California for DECADES… She was resident designer for Lyric Opera San Diego and has designed at PowPAC, Teatro San Diego, OB Playhouse, Patio Playhouse, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Sledgehammer, Moonlight, San Diego Rep, Long Beach Opera, North Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and Southwestern College, as well as being a principal make-up artist with San Diego Opera. Pam has also been producing and just directed at Lamplighters Theatre. Thanks to her best friend and husband Paul, and Mom, thanks for looking down and watching out for me from the best seats…
Press images by Ken Jacques
SINGLE TICKETS: Thursday $24, Friday $27, Saturday $30, Sunday $27.
Active Military, Student & Senior Discounts. Great Group Rates.
Group discounts available for parties of 8 or more. (Pricing will automatically adjust when 8 or more Adult Tickets are purchased together. Group rates only apply to adult ticket pricing).
For questions, call the Box Office (619) 435-4856 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are no special events currently scheduled for this production.
Community Theatre is made by, with and for the community in which it is performed. Coronado Playhouse is committed to pursuing community theatre in the truest sense of the words by giving back to the people of San Diego County and Coronado and using our public platform to help those in need.
Community partnership information will be posted here.
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