Who is your favorite Hercule Poirot? If you see a production of Poirots Investigate at the iTheatre, which opens Friday at 7:30 pm at the Saratoga Music Hall, you might as well just come up with a new one.
One of Agatha Christie’s favorite characters – formerly portrayed by Orson Welles, Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov and Kenneth Branna, to name a few – Poirot will play three different actors this week in Saratoga Springs.
The show, which runs over the next two weekends, is an adaptation of three Christie stories woven together by Mary Jane Hansen, who already has two Christie adaptations on her writing resume. The performance consists of three one-act pieces and two intermissions and lasts about two hours.
Poirot Investigates is a collection of short stories written by a famous English author in 1924. A slight change in the name of the show tells you that the guys at iTheatre have something different in store for the audience.
“We decided to do something unconventional and mix things up a bit,” said Will Severin, who co-wrote the original music for the show with the director of Act 3. “We have three different actors who portray Poirot, one of them is a woman, so you will see different perspectives on the character in every act. We’re throwing something to the audience that they couldn’t expect. “
John Michael Decker, Johnny Martinez and Annie DeGange will play three Poirot, former New York State Theater Institute director Patricia Snyder will direct Act 1, and Round Lake native and Troy resident Aaron Marquis will direct Act 2.
“We’ve had great success in the past doing Christie’s work,” said Severin, who is married to Hansen. “It’s always popular and there are escape elements on the show that we can fully exploit right now. Most of Christie’s work is now in the public domain, so you can change something. You may not get the Poirot you expect. “
Martinez, a Brooklyn native who moved to Saratoga Springs with his wife Diane Lachtrupp about 15 years ago and started the dance company Tango Fusion, was happy to offer his take on Poirot.
“I have always loved this character and have been a huge book and movie fan for many years, although I was not familiar with this particular story,” Martinez said. “He’s a great character, very funny, and I thought this was a great opportunity to play this role. I usually love songs and dances. I usually do musicals, so it’s a completely different role for me. “
Most recently, Martinez starred in the Park Playhouse on the Heights at Washington Park in Albany.
Decker, a native of Lake Lucerne and a resident of Queensbury, was most recently spotted at the Lake George Dinner Theater in Summer 2019 in The Dog of the Baskervilles, and DeGange, a native of New London, Connecticut, has performed regularly with iTheatre over the past five years. A Broadway veteran of Les Miserables (1987–2003) and Evita (1979–1983), DeGange moved to the Saratoga area in 2003 with her husband, Tony Award winner Ron Holgate.
In the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic, iTheatre aired two radio dramas via Bandcamp, and in the past called Saratoga Arts Center home, as well as the National Dance Museum and St. Clement’s School in Saratoga Springs. This weekend’s performance marks the first full-length iTheatre production since The Man in the Brown Suit at the Saratoga Arts Center in January 2020. Exploration of Puirot is also the first theatrical event to be held at the newly refurbished Saratoga Music Hall.
“It has been closed for over a year due to a lightning strike and a pandemic, and we look forward to being the first group to perform there,” Severin said. “This is a really nice place with flexible seats. We’re probably going to limit the crowd to 100 and follow all COVID rules. “
Since the production takes place during Halloween, Severin says some of his original music will be a little “creepy.”
“This is not a musical, so my original music is the soundtrack for the film, and since it’s Halloween now, some of the stories have a supernatural connotation,” Severin said. “So the music will be theatrical and traditional in many ways, and it will have a sense of mystery, a sense of comedy and a sense of whimsy. It will be very atmospheric. “
A cast of nine actors will fill all roles in the production, which is required by the State of New York and the Actors’ Equity All Audience Association to require proof of vaccination status. All visitors will be required to wear masks.
WHAT: staged by iTheatre based on the play by Mary Jane Hansen based on the works of Agatha Christie
WHERE: Saratoga City Music Hall, 474 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
WHEN: Opens October 29th and runs through November 7th; Show times: 19:30 on Friday and Saturday and 14:30 on Sunday.
HOW MUCH: 25-15 dollars
FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit www.poirots.brownpapertickets.com or www.itheatresaratoga.org.
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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Art