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Adapted by David Houston for three actors, with recorded music and effects,
for presentation at public libraries, schools, and other free-admission
venues; not for publication or recording in any form

 

 

Diana Heinlein (Jane Marple), David Houston, and Rick Heuthe (Hercule Poirot)
(Ray Gobes, Jr. is alternate Poirot)
 
ON THE CASE: CHRISTIE MYSTERIES

 In a 65-minute show, three versatile actors perform David Houston’s
radio play (with music and sound effects) from classic short stories by the all-time
mistress of suspense and surprise—including a fully staged scene in which
Miss Marple and Monsieur Poirot meet and discuss “Getting Away with
Murder,” drawn from numerous Agatha Christie sources.

BASIC INFORMATION

$375.00 package includes three actors, small stage setting, reading stands,
music/effects equipment, and travel (included for Long Island and Queens);
facility is asked to supply an 8x12 acting area, basic lighting,
and amplification if the space is large

For more information, bookings, to inquire about travel fees, contact
 David Houston (516) 293-2638;
DH@davidhouston.net

SCROLL DOWN OR CLICK THESE LINKS

Scheduled Performances
Actor Bios
Publicity Photos
Photo and Biography of Agatha Christie
Sources

Comments and Reviews

SCHEDULED PERFORMANCES

Bronx Library Center, Saturday, March 14, 2015, 2:30 p.m.

East Meadow Public Library, Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

Seaford Public Library, Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 1:00 p.m.

Friedberg JCC, Oceanside, Thursday, May 1, 2014, 1:00 p.m.

Riverhead Free Library, Sunday, October 28, 2013, 2:00 p.m.

North Babylon Public Library, February 24, 2013, 2:00 p.m.

Syosset Public Library, Friday, March 8, 2013, 2:00 p.m.

Queens Library, Glen Oaks, Tuesday, October 22, 2012,3:00 p.m.

Queens Library, Windsor Park, Wednesday, October 23, 2012,5:30 p.m.

Queens Public Library, Bay Terrace, Friday October 29, 2011, 1:30 p.m.

New City Library, New City, NY, Sunday, January 30, 2011, 2:00 pm

Oceanside Library, Wednesday March 23, 2011, 2:00 pm

Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, Wednesday May 11, 2011, noon

Jericho Public Library, Monday August 1, 2011, 2:00 p.m.

Port Washington Public Library, Friday, September 16, 2011, 12:15 pm

Longwood Public Library, Middle Island, Sunday, September 18, 2011, 2:00 pm

Hicksville Public Library, Saturday October 15, 2011, 2:00 pm

Franklin Township Public Library, Somerset, NJ, Wednesday October 19, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

Douglaston Queens Library, Thursday, October 20, 2011, 6:00 pm

Garden City Public Library, Thursday, October 27, 2011, 2:00 pm

East Meadow Public Library, Monday, October 31, 2011, 1:00 pm

 

ACTOR BIOS

 
Diana Heinlein, Miss Jane Marple, is well known to Long Island theater-goers. Reviewing a recent production of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, NEWSDAY said, "Diana Heinlein is solid and hilarious at the center of the angst-ridden comedy; watching her wallow in comic pathos in the Long Island premiere of Charles Busch's lively surprisingly complex comedy is a delight." Diana has acted myriad leading and featured roles in Neil Simon classics including Mrs. Banks in Barefoot in the Park, Kate in both Broadway Bound and Brighton Beach Memoirs, Cookie in one production of Rumors and Claire in another, and Florence in the female version of The Odd Couple. Other memorable portrayals include Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, and Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa. She originated the role in Houston's The Ghost of Dorothy Parker and has joined him in several performance readings in the style of radio drama.  

Rick Heuthe, Hercule Poirot, is an accomplished character actor and singer with more than 25 years' theatrical experience.  His diverse leading roles include Norman in The Dresser, William Detweiler in How the Other Half Loves, Sancho in Man of La Mancha, Amos in Chicago, Sir Joseph in H.M.S. Pinafore, Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Ernie Cusack in Neil Simon's Rumors, and Paravaccini in Christie's The Mousetrap. He toured with an ensemble of six in Gilbert and Sullivan a la Carte, singing at least one number from every G&S operetta, featuring Rick performing the famous patter songs. He also had major roles in the world-premiere productions of The Mummy Musical (published by Dramatist's Play Service) and the popular cabaret revue Hollywood Exposed. He is Edgar Allan Poe in Houston's Murder and Madness and Poe, and plays Cole Porter in Houston's Let's Do It!

Ray Gobes, Jr, Alternate Hercule Poirot, is a leading man, character actor and musical comedy performer with an impressively varied resume—including The Devil in Damn Yankees, Owen in The Foreigner, Sir Evelyn in Anything Goes, Captain Keller in The Miracle Worker, Bob Cratchit and Jacob Morley in A Christmas Carol, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma, Capulet, Friar Lawrence, Prince and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Jigger in Carousel, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Bud Frump in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Reverend Parris in The Crucible, and Slim in Of Mice and Men. At the Engeman Theater in Northport, Ray understudied Felix Unger, Murray and Speed in The Odd Couple and Porterhouse, Troughton and the Reporter in Run For Your Wife.

David Houston, writer/director and narrator, has appeared in leading roles in scores of plays and musicals, including Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Senex in A Funny Thing, Ben in Death of a Salesman, Major Bouvier in Grey Gardens, Herr Shultz in Cabaret and Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes, and Sir in The Dresser.  He is a published and produced writer of fiction and non-fiction. His original plays—including Let's Do It!, The Last Dance, The Ghost of Dorothy Parker, Murder and Madness and Poe, and The Dickens!—have been seen at a number of Long Island schools and libraries. His Joan Crawford biography Jazz Baby (St. Martin's Press) was optioned for movie production, as was his mystery novel Shadows on the Moon (Leisure Books). Performance readngs include Travels With Charlie, Fahrenheit 451, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the first Sherlock Holmes novel Study in Scarlet.

 

PHOTOS OF ACTORS
FOR USE IN NEWSLETTERS, FLYERS, PRESS RELEASES
Diana Heinlein, Rick Heuthe, David Houston

 

     
    

   

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Agatha Christie is the best-selling writer of all time, Shakespeare included—with sales of more than four billion books in 103 languages, making her also the most translated author in the world.

Many of her works have been made into popular movies, the all-star Murder on the Orient Express for example, for which Ingrid Bergman won the supporting-actress Oscar, and into numerous TV series, including the current Marple and Poirot mysteries imported from England.

Among her dozen or so highly successful West End and Broadway productions, The Mousetrap is the longest running play in theater history. It opened in London in 1952 and is running there to this day, after about 24,000 performances. 

She was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, Devon, England. Her mother was the daughter of a British army captain and her father an American stockbroker. She had a sister, Madge, and a brother, Monty, both a decade or so older than Agatha.

During World War I, she worked as a hospital nurse. She called the work “one of the most rewarding professions that anyone can follow.” She later worked at a hospital pharmacy, where she began to accumulate a handy knowledge of poisons.

On Christmas Eve 1914 Agatha Miller married Archibald Christie, an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. They had a daughter, Rosalind, and it was during this marriage, in 1920, that she published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Hercule Poirot’s first case. Her marriage to Christie ended in divorce after Agatha discovered he was having an affair, in 1926.

On December 8, the couple quarreled, Archie left to spend the weekend with his mistress, and Agatha disappeared the same night leaving a cryptic note saying she was going to Yorkshire. Agatha’s mysterious disappearance caused a public outcry.

She was found eleven days later at a Yorkshire hotel registered as “Mrs. Neele from Cape Town.” The name of her husband's mistress was Nancy Neele. Many believed she had had a nervous breakdown. Many resented her for staging a publicity stunt. And others believed she was trying, as revenge for his affair, to make police think her husband had killed her. Agatha never explained.  

In 1930, she married archaeologist Max Mallowan. Theirs was by all accounts a long happy marriage. Her travels with him provided backgrounds for several novels set in the Middle East; for example, the popular Death on the Nile (the movie version starred Peter Ustinov as Poirot, with Bette Davis, David Niven, Angela Lansbury, George Kennedy, Mia Farrow, and Maggie Smith.)

During World War II, Agatha worked in the hospital pharmacy of University College, London, where she expanded her understanding of poisons. Her very modern use of thallium to do the trick was described in such accurate detail that her use of it in 1961 in The Pale Horse helped real doctors solve a baffling case (the first symptom is hair loss).  

To honor her literary accomplishments, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956, and was promoted to Dame Commander in 1971three years after her husband was knighted for his archeological work.

In 1971, Agatha’s health began to fail. Recently, researchers in Canada have suggested that she was beginning to sense the onset of Alzheimer’s. Sensing her increasing weakness, she signed over the rights of The Mousetrap to her grandson, Mathew Prichard—who is still associated with Agatha Christie Limited.

Agatha Christie died from natural causes January 12, 1976, at age 85, at her Winterbrook House in Cholsey Parish. She is buried nearby in the churchyard of St. Mary’s, Cholsey.

SOURCES

The Tuesday Club Murders (published in England as The 13 Problems) (1932) Miss Marple:
 "The Idol House of Astarte" and "The Four Suspects"

The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (1939) Hercule Poirot: "The Dream"
And for our short play "Getting Away With Murder"
quotes were taken from the following Agatha Christie novels and short stories:
Three Act Tragedy, 4:50 From Paddington, "The Thumbprint of St. Peter," "Miss Marple Tells a Story,"
Elephants Can Remember,
Taken at the Flood, The Hollow, Sleeping Murder, After the Funeral,
"The Four Suspects,"
Third Girl, and
"The Mystery of the Bagdad Chest," 

Reviews and Comments about 
Literary Entertainments Readings and Plays

Diana Heinlein as Marple, Rick Heuthe as Poirot in CHRISTIE MYSTERIES

Kristen Jording, Library Programmer, Seaford Public Library: "The performance, content and production were fantastic! The audience simply enjoyed it; they can't wait for the library to have another show with David Houston. Jude Schanzer, Programs and Publicity, East Meadow Public Library: "As always, the performance, content and production values were stellar. The audience was completely enthralled!" Tina Holinski, Assistant Library Manager and Children's Librarian: "I thoroughly enjoyed this program! The actors are expert! I love their British accents. The props and musical accompaniment complement the plays so beautifully and precisely. Bravo!" Erin L. Blatt, Programming and Outreach Librarian, Franklin Township Public Library, Somerset, NJ: "Our audience had nothing but kind things to say about the performanceinteresting, fun, different, and engaging, to name a few." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "As I would expect, the Christie show is another stellar production from David Houston and company. Top ratings in all categories." Yvette M. Postelle, Administrative Assistant, Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "Very good;  Well received by the audience; very positive comments from the patrons as they left. A few actually mentioned that they were inspired to pick up and read some Agatha Christie novels again." Michelle Young, Program Director, Oceanside Library: "Excellent. David Houston's shows are as consistent as he is to work with: great every time."

David Houston as Noёl Coward, Rick Heuthe as Cole Porter in LET'S DO IT!

Phyllis Cox, Program Director and Publicity, Jericho Public Libray: "Excellent. Thank you again for a wonderful performance. You keep making me look so good! [75 patrons expected, 128 came]." Frances Altemose, Head of Community Services, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook: "The program was delightful and entertaining. Top notch! The audience was hanging on every word and had an appreciation for the clever lyrics and dialog. Yvette M. Postelle, Assistant, Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "Every patron passing me as they left that evening had glowing comments.The audience was captivated, and I noticed quite a few swaying to the music! Many said we should have more programs of this sort." Staff, Queens Library Forest Hills: "Several members of the audience stopped by to comment on how much they enjoyed the play. I will be sure to pass along a recommendation for your return to Queens Library. Connie Ellis, Programs, Peconic Landing Retirement Community, Greenport: "Excellent. Our audience thought you were terrific. The length of the show [one hour] was appropriate for them. Thank you! Be sure to stay in touch for future programs."  

David with Ray Gobes, Jr. in SUTTON

Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Excellent. A David Houston production always delivers what is promised. I recommend this one highly." Patricia Ann Magee, Elmont Memorial Library: "Wonderful show! The audience loved it! The actors were great, the music very professional" Angela Hughes, Reference Librarian, Franklin Square Public Library: "This was a very entertaining and well performed program." Kristin Jording, Adult Programmer, Seaford Public Library: Once again, David, you never seem to disappoint me. Our patrons who attended thought it was fantastic. Thank you for coming!" Nadine Connors, Cultural Programs Coordinator, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library: "I can imagine that when doing a reading for an hour, the tendency can be to 'sag' without knowing it. But you kept it crisp, cues piled up, music in, etc. Good characters and voices. It was very well written. Ray did a nice job as Willie Sutton. This was one of your better productions.  

Diana Heinlein as THE GHOST OF DOROTHY PARKER

Penelope Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "Bravo! Another coup! You could have heard a pin drop during the entire hour of David Houston's portrait of this brilliant complicated woman.  Ms. Heinlein's portrayal was delivered lovingly and with great intelligence; it was warm, witty (OK, some thanks to Dorothy), and always completely engaging. I would recommend this production to anyone anywhere!" Marcia Johnson, Adult Program Coordinator, North Shore Public Library: "As usual the professionalism showed. It was a delightful script deftly handled by Diana. I feel like I got to know dear old Dorothy at little bit." Tracey Simon, Program Coordinator, Lynbrook Public Library: "I could not attend the production myself, my misfortune; but the feedback I received afterwards was very positive, from the performance to the costumes and sets." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "David Houston's productions continue to educate entertainingly; we've never been disappointed in the talent he and his staff of performers exhibit.  'Dorothy Parker' is excellent in all categories" [audience response, script, literary content, performance, set and costumes]." Barbara Minerd, Program Director, Garden City Public Library: "Diana's performance was brilliant.  The play was excellent."
 

Rick Heuthe in MURDER AND MADNESS AND POE

Penelope Wright, Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "Edgar Allan Poe came alive in this sympathetically portrayed, finely acted, brilliantly written dramatic presentation.  David Houston never fails to present great offerings at our library." Tracey Simon, Program Coordinator, Lynbrook Public Library: "Very good audience response, excellent performance; totally professional as always, well prepared." Maureen Chiofalo, Nassau County Library Association (performance at Reference and Adult Services brunch): "It was a very enjoyable program; the staging and dialogue were very appealing. We received enthusiastic feedback from the membership." Patricia Brandt, Librarian, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor: "Audience comments: 'Great writing.' 'Very well done; I couldn't get over the amount of dialog the actor had to memorize and how well he did it.' 'Engrossing.' 'Spooky!' 'When are you having another program by Mr. Houston?'" Jude Schanzer, director of PR and Programs, East Meadow Public Library: "Well done. Absolutely perfect for a library or school." Debbie Starker, in Deb's Web LI Theatre Newsletter: "A 70-minute, tour de force in which Edgar Poe (Heuthe) auditions for a reading tour. I have always loved Poe and did a college thesis on Poe as the Father of the modern detective mystery. This presentation is perfectly suited to the Halloween season. See it if you love Poe, poetry, the macabre, etc."

 

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