Dial M for Murder

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Most people remember Dial M for Murder as a murder mystery. It’s not. In a murder mystery, we spend time trying to figure out whodunnit, with a big reveal at the end. In a thriller, we know who the criminal is early on, and what is supposed to happen. We also know that something will go awry. We spend the time wondering if the criminal will get away with it, or if they’ll get caught. Suspense rises, along with our heartrates, as we see the victim falling into the trap. Thrillers are atmospheric, sending us into an uncomfortable space for a while, and holding our breaths for the potential victims as well as wondering how they’ll all get out of the mess they’re in. Dial M does this very well. The whole (nearly sold out) audience, seemed to be on the edge of their seats.

Since the old-fashioned phone, and how people communicated in the 1950’s is quite different from today, it kept the show firmly planted in the 1950’s. But, the stakes were upped for the characters, making Mrs. Wendice’s affair to be with a woman, not a man, as in the original. Not only that, the woman is a novelist, and he changed Mr. Wendice’s career to be that of a failed novelist who is now a publicist who is representing his wife’s lover. It makes the plot even more complex and interesting, adding in the taboo of a lesbian relationship during those times.

The set is an elegant London apartment in the 1950’s, with much attention to detail. Oh, and pay attention, it’s used well in the play, as well as props, especially the telephone! Elegant costumes are to die for! The ladies are in stunning dresses and outfits that match perfectly, and of course, men in that era in suits and sporty looks. 

Leading the production of DIAL M FOR MURDER, director Rosenthal expresses admiration for Hatcher’s reimagining of the classic thriller. “What’s most ingenious about Jeffrey’s adaptation is that it takes the central female protagonist, originally a classic damsel-in-distress, and endows her with greater depth and agency–and even though we have preserved the 1950s setting, the story is so prescient that feels like it could be today. I find it empowering, validating, funny, and surprisingly relevant.”

Rosenthal, is a Tony®-nominated producer and proud member of The Ring Of Keys, as well as a New Georges Affiliate Artist. At Asolo Rep, they’ve directed a diverse array of productions including Grand Horizons, The Incident At Our Lady Of Perpetual Help, The Lifespan of a Fact, and Camelot, as well as overseeing educational tours of Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. Additionally, they served as assistant director to Frank Galati on Knoxville. Their dedication to new work is evident through collaborations with NYMF, New Georges, MTF, Kidoons, and National Queer Theatre. They also lead Asolo Rep’s new work series, The Ground Floor. Notable recent projects include In The Next RoomAngel Street, A Doll’s House, and Spike Heels at Studio Theatre, Trayf at New Rep, and Drowning in Cairo with N.Q.T. Their creative repertoire extends beyond the stage to include the award-winning short film Wildflower. Rosenthal’s expertise is further enriched by their alumni status at CTI and BMI Lehman Engel Workshop.

The cast includes Tony Carter as Tony Wendice and Brooke Turner as Margot Wendice. Carter is excited to be making his Asolo Rep debut! While he’s based in Chicago, he loves bouncing around the country for work. Some of his favorite credits include Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast (Drury Lane Theatre), Chris in The Play That Goes Wrong (Oregon Cabaret Theatre), Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Actors Theatre of Indiana), and Oliver in As You Like it (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre & Milwaukee Rep). He’s also proud to have worked at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, PCPA: Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and Utah Festival Opera. 

Turner is an FSU/Asolo M.F.A. candidate and intimacy director from Cleveland, OH, where she earned her B.F.A. in Classical Acting fromBaldwin Wallace University. Some previous credits include Inherit the Wind (Mrs. McLain) and Our Town (Wally U/S) at Asolo Rep, Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth U/S) and Misery (Annie U/S) at Great Lakes Theatre, and Richard III (Lady Anne) with The Idaho Shakespeare Festival. 

Rounding out the cast are Mark Benninghofen (Inspector Hubbard), Christina Mei Chen (U/S Maxine Halliday), Alex Hatcher (U/S Tony Wendice), Billy Lyons (U/S Inspector Hubbard), Sharon Pearlman (U/S Margot Wendice), Jackson Purdy (U/S Lesgate), and Mikhail Roberts (Lesgate). 

Frederick Knott’s classic thriller of blackmail and revenge, the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie, is given a stylish, intoxicating update in Jeffrey Hatcher’s brand-new adaptation. In 1950s London, a husband plots to murder his wife, but when his plan goes awry, he must scramble to keep from getting caught. Will he get away with it, or will justice be served? Only one way to find out. 

Check out the season here:

https://www.asolorep.org/season-tickets/tickets

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