The Mousetrap: Agatha Christie’s West End hit to make Broadway debut after 70 years

Whodunnit running in the West End since 1952, interrupted only by Covid, will open in New York in 2023

The world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap, is to finally make its Broadway debut. The announcement was made on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the London production of Agatha Christie’s whodunnit.

The only surviving piece of the original set from 1952, a mantelpiece clock, will be lent from London for the run in New York when it opens in 2023. The play will be co-produced by The Mousetrap’s UK producer, Adam Spiegel, and US producer Kevin McCollum, whose credits include Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and the Broadway outings of the British am-dram spoof The Play That Goes Wrong and the musical Six.

The Mousetrap 70th anniversary cartoon by Nick Newman.
The Mousetrap 70th anniversary cartoon by Nick Newman. Photograph: Nick Newman

McCollum said that Christie’s murder mystery “changed popular theatre” and had long been a landmark attraction for US visitors to London. Theatregoers are encouraged to keep secret the identity of the murderer in the play, in which a group of strangers are snowed in at a remote guesthouse.

Roughly a third of the play’s West End audiences are believed to be foreign tourists. He added: “I’m excited for the huge Christie fanbase in North America, and for the acting company in New York who will join the esteemed ranks of The Mousetrap alumni.” Casting has not yet been confirmed.

Christie, known as the “queen of crime”, had her work staged on Broadway a handful of times including The Fatal Alibi, based on her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, in 1932. Her courtroom drama Witness for the Prosecution, now staged at County Hall in London, ran from 1954 to 1956 in New York.

But her most famous play, which starred the married actors Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim when it opened in 1952, never made it to the Great White Way. Spiegel said: “After the longest out of town try-out in history, The Mousetrap is finally ready to transfer to Broadway.” He added that the London production “is more popular than ever, and has shown a real resilience since Covid, with huge numbers of Americans coming to see it, and so it felt like it was time to be front-footed and take it to Broadway”.

The Mousetrap has also released a special cartoon, commemorating 70 years since it opened in London, drawn by Private Eye’s Nick Newman. The show has been performed almost 29,000 times in London, its continuous run interrupted only by Covid. A 70th anniversary tour opened at Nottingham Theatre Royal in September.

Contributor

Chris Wiegand Stage editor

The GuardianTramp

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