The Hilberry Theatre's 50th season kicks off with the world's longest running play, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, running for a limited engagement September 21 to October 13, 2012. In this classic, murder-mystery thriller, a group of travelers are snowed in together on an intense journey at Monkswell Manor. One by one, they begin to meet their fates, leaving the survivors suspicious and pitted against one another in a desperate attempt to find the killer before time runs out.
The Mousetrap is celebrating its 60th year running in London's West End, where it first opened in 1952. It began as a radio play in 1947 called Three Blind Mice, commissioned by Queen Mary who was a fan of Christie. The play is based on a short story Christie wrote, but when audience response was so positive, she elaborated it, and the first performance opened October 6, 1952. The Mousetrap is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running play of all time, with over 24,000 performances and over 10 million in attendance.
Christie, also known as the "Queen of Crime," holds two other world records: best-selling fiction author of all time and the world's thickest book. Christie's stories are known for their taut atmosphere and strong psychological suspense, developed from the deliberately slow pace of her prose. Almost all of Christie's books are whodunits, focusing on the British middle and upper classes. The Mousetrap is famous for its surprise ending, and at the end of each performance, the audience is asked not to reveal it.
To help ensure the surprise ending would not be revealed, Christie requested the short story on which the play was based not be published in the U.K. until the run was over. In addition, under the contract terms of the play, no film adaptation can be made until the West End production has been closed for six months. The identity of the killer was a secret tightly kept until Wikipedia decided to publish the information on its website in 2010, despite petitions from fans.
Tickets for The Mousetrap range from $12-$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at Hilberry.com, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.