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East Lynne Theater Company presents "Dial M for Murder"

originally published: 07/10/2024

East Lynne Theater Company presents "Dial M for Murder"

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May will produce an updated version of "Dial M for Murder" by Jeffrey Hatcher for five weeks this summer. Performances take place Wednesdays through Saturdays from July 31 to August 31, 2024 at 7:00pm.

Originally an English stage thriller, “Dial M for Murder” by playwright Frederick Knott came to Broadway soon after it opened on the West End to become a staple of the American theater. Most famously, however, famed Director Alfred Hitchcock turned it into a time-honored film in 1954 starring Ray Milland and Grace Kelly. In keeping with East Lynne Theater Company’s revised mission to present more modern classic American plays, Artistic Director Craig Fols chose Hatcher’s new, updated adaptation of “Dial M for Murder,” first produced in 2021 at The Old Globe in San Diego.

“It’s a great time for thrillers, whether for streaming or for stage. This (Hatcher’s version) is a very hot show right now, and I was surprised and thrilled that we got the rights to it,” says Fols, adding that numerous theaters across the U.S. are anxious to produce it. “I really wanted to do a show this season that would make a big splash and this new ‘Dial M for Murder’ is it.”

There are two primary updates that Hatcher has incorporated into his uber suspenseful adaptation. First, the main female character Margot (famously played by Kelly in the movie) is having an affair with a successful mystery novelist named Maxine (it was “Max” in the original play; “Mark” in the movie). Margot’s husband Tony, who is plotting to kill Margot, was a tennis pro in the original but, in this current version, he, too, is a writer of mysteries, though not a successful one. For Tony’s character, these changes add intricate and tortuous layers of humiliation with regard to the sexual dynamic between him and Margot, as well as intense jealousy over Maxine’s success as a writer.

Ezra Barnes, who has performed at East Lynne multiple times, notably as Sherlock Holmes, portrays Inspector Hubbard in “Dial M.” He believes that crime plays, whether mysteries or thrillers, are very important and exciting for theaters to produce.



 
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“They really are great choices for theater companies because they involve the audience in this quest, this journey of ethics, evaluating right versus wrong. How do they fix it? How do they solve it? Can it be saved?” queries Barnes. “These types of plays are really valuable in building a sense of community with the audience.”

Fols claims that passion and sexuality seethe through every scene in this production. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the cast is made up of, according to Fols, “five of the hottest people you’ve ever seen.”

“This is our sexy show,” laughs Fols. “Everyone in it is tall, dark and sexy as hell.”

The cast includes Larissa Klinger (Margot), Christopher Joel Onken (Tony), Lilly Tobin (Maxine), Kieran Danaan (Lesgate), and Ezra Barnes (Inspector Hubbard)

The 2-hour show runs 7:00pm on the following Wednesdays through Saturdays: July 31-August 3, August 7-10, August 14-17, August 21-24, August 28-31. General admission tickets are $35, seniors $30, students and military $20. East Lynne is located at 500 Hughes St., Cape May. More information, as well as tickets, can be found at EastLynneTheater.org.

Founded in 1980, East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC) was the first theater in the country with the unique mission of presenting and preserving America's theatrical heritage. The New York Times listed ELTC as one of the 75 top summer theaters in North America. In 2018, the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly passed a joint legislative resolution recognizing ELTC as “one of the state’s most important cultural treasures.”



 
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