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McCarter Presents "Sleuth" by Anthony Shaffer

McCarter Presents "Sleuth" by Anthony Shaffer

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- In a remote manor in the British countryside, a celebrated murder mystery writer drafts his next great detective novel. But when he invites his wife’s lover to his home for a glass of scotch, it suddenly becomes unclear where the fictional plot ends and the real game begins. Sleuth will keep you on the edge of your seat with a suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse filled with plotted murder, jealousy, and revenge. The production runs March 10 through March 29 in McCarter’s Matthews Theatre.  

McCarter has gained a well-deserved reputation for producing masterworks of the murder-mystery genre, including world premieres such as Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, as well as an invigorating look at the classics as with The Mousetrap. Now, director Adam Immerwahr (A Christmas CarolThe UnderstudyThe Mousetrap) returns with a fresh look at Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth, a play originally born as a psychologically subversive look at the classic murder mystery story. After initially shocking audiences during its original Tony award-winning run, Shaffer’s masterpiece continues to impact the genre, most recently as a direct inspiration to Rian Johnson’s all-star blockbuster mystery Knives Out.

About the enduring appeal of the story, director Adam Immerwahr remarked “Sleuth is a terrific, suspenseful story, in part because it’s ABOUT terrific, suspenseful stories. The play turns the standard murder mystery completely on its head, and in the process takes these characters, and the audiences, on a ride which is completely unexpected. It’s a psychological thriller that asks the audience to figure out not only “whodunit”, but “who will do it?”

The principal cast includes Derek Smith (Andrew Wyke), veteran of three critically acclaimed McCarter productions directed by Steven Wadsworth: MirandolinaThe Barber of Seville, and The Marriage of Figaro. His Broadway credits include a memorable run as Scar in The Lion KingThe Green BirdThe Government Inspector, and many more. Mr. Smith is joined onstage by John Tufts (Milo Tindle), seen nationwide at the nation’s most esteemed regional theatres including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and The Goodman among others. Also featured in the production are Phillip Farrar, Harold K. Newman, and Roger Purnell all making their McCarter debuts.

The creative team includes scenic designer Alexander Dodge (McCarter’s Mousetrap, Broadway’s Anastasia, and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder); costume designer Ivania Stack (numerous D.C. area credits at Woolly Mammoth, Arena Stage, and more); lighting designer Nancy Schertler (McCarter’s Uncle Vanya, Broadway’s Full Moon); Tony and Obie award winning sound designer Darron L West (McCarter’s Murder on the Orient ExpressInto the Woods and many others); wig and makeup designer Carissa Thorlakson (McCarter’s A Christmas Carol); fight director J. Allen Suddeth (Broadway’s AladdinAngels in America); and dialect coach Julie Foh. Cheryl Mintz and Alison Cote are production stage manager and stage manager, respectively. Casting by Caparelliotis Casting.

McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, New Jersey.


About the Playwright

Anthony Shaffer
 (1926 – 2001) delighted audiences with his ingenious comic thriller Sleuth, which played 2,359 performances in London’s West End and more than 2,000 performances on Broadway, where it won the Tony Award for best play of 1970. He went on to write the screenplay for the 1972 Oscar-nominated film version. Shaffer devised several additional plays, notably Murderer (1975). He had far greater success, however, with his many other screenplays, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy (1972), The Wicker Man (1973), Sommersby (1993), and three Agatha Christie adaptations: Death on the Nile (1978), Evil Under the Sun (1983), and Appointment with Death (1988). Shaffer also wrote novels in collaboration with his twin brother, Sir Peter Shaffer, playwright of Five Finger Exercise, Equus, Royal Hunt of the Sun, and Amadeus.


About the Director

Adam Immerwahr
 (Director) is the former Associate Artistic Director at McCarter (credits include The Understudy, The Mousetrap and A Christmas Carol) and the former Resident Director at Passage Theater. He is currently Artistic Director of Theater J, the nation’s largest and most prominent Jewish theater (located in Washington, D.C.). Adam’s NYC directing credits: The Public, Theater Row (both for Summer Play Festival), Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Wild Project, and NYU’s Studio Tisch. Internationally, he directed the African premiere of The Convert (nominated for Zimbabwe’s National Arts Medal). Regionally, Adam has directed for Walnut Street Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Cleveland Play House, Theater J, Passage, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Adventure Theater, Luna Stage, Hangar Theatre, Bristol Riverside, Premiere Stages, PlayPenn, and many others. Graduate of Brown University. Drama League Directing Fellow (2008). www.AdamImmerwahr.com


Principal Cast Biographies

Derek Smith (Andrew Wyke) Broadway: The Green Bird (Tony nom.), The Government Inspector, Timon of Athens, Jackie, Getting and Spending, Ring Around the Moon, and several years as Scar in The Lion King.  Off Broadway: Original cast of Sylvia, The Green Bird (Obie award), King John (Derwint Award), Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Dance of Death, The Witch of Edmonton (Calloway Award) Dark Rapture, Ten by Tennessee, Desire, Hyde in Hollywood, Incident at Vichy, School for Scandal, The White Devil, Heartbreak House.  Regional: Old Globe, La Jolla, Pittsburgh Playhouse, A.R.T. in Cambridge, and affiliated artist at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. McCarter: The Barber of SevilleThe Marriage of Figaro, and Mirandolina; all directed by Stephen Wadsworth. TV: The Good Wife, The Equalizer, Internal Affairs, Ryan’s Hope. Alumnus of Juilliard and The Acting Company.

John Tufts (Milo Tindle). McCarter Theater Debut. Regional Theatre: 12 seasons with Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Henry VRomeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s Dream, The CocoanutsAnimal CrackersInto the WoodsEquivocation (also at Arena Stage, Seattle Rep.), The Belle’s Stratagem, and more. The Guthrie Theater: The Cocoanuts; Ensemble Theater Company: I Am My Own Wife.  Actors Theatre of Louisville: Virtual Meditation (2003 Humana Festival). Chicago:  Goodman Theater:  Bernhardt/Hamlet; Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Nell GwynnTug of War. Off-Broadway: Primary Stages: Pride and Prejudice; Ensemble Studio Theater: Virtual Meditation; Mint Theatre: Fashions for Men.  Film/ Television: Bad TeacherFashions for Men (PBS), Dangers of a Broken CarBAQ-132. Awards: Lucille Lortel Nominations for Fashions for Men and Pride and Prejudice; Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting; Indy Award for I Am My Own WifeWall St. Journal Best of 2016 for Tug Of War. Training: B.F.A., Carnegie Mellon University.   www.john-tufts.com

McCarter Theatre Center

Under the leadership of award-winning playwright and Artistic Director Emily Mann, Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg, and Special Programming Director William W. Lockwood, McCarter’s mission is to create world-class theater and present the finest artists for the engagement, education, and entertainment of the community. Winner of the 1994 Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre, world premieres include Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013 Tony® – Best Play); Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays;  Emily Mann’s Having Our Say; and Danai Gurira’s The Convert. McCarter brings artists from around the world to Princeton, New Jersey including Chris Thile, Zakir Hussain, Keb Mo, and more. Education and outreach efforts serve tens of thousands through student matinees, in-school residencies, and adult classes.  

originally published: 02/14/2020

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