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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Chevy Chase Players Dial M for Murder

By • Mar 8th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Dial M for Murder by Frederick Knott
Chevy Chase Players
Chevy Chase Community Center, Washington, DC
Through March 19th
2:30 with one intermission
$15/$13 Seniors and students
Reviewed March 5th, 2011

Dial M for Murder, so well-known it ranked ninth on AFI’s list of top ten mystery films, had its start as a teleplay for the BBC. In 1952, the play opened in London’s West End, followed by a successful engagement on Broadway. The movie, which premiered in 1954, holds a special place (with To Catch a Thief) as Hitchcock films I’ve seen more than once, and is the only one I own.

Chevy Chase Players’ production of the play, which centers around a couple whose marriage has entered the dangerous territory of extramarital affairs and revenge, features very strong performances by Morrigan Condo (Margot Wendice), the central figure around which the plot revolves, Evan Hart (Tony Wendice), who plays Margot’s revenge-hungry, calculating husband and Calen May-Tobin (Captain Lesgate), the man of questionable character who becomes a victim of Tony’s web of deceit. Thomas McGrath (Max Halliday), plays the American mystery writer who has captured Margot’s attention, to her detriment. Peter Markey, plays the low-key detective, Inspector Hubbard, who puts all the pieces together just in time.

Peter Chewning’s staging moves at a slow but steady pace toward the play’s inevitable conclusion. Carolinn Kuebler’s sophisticated set and costumes by Linda Swann and the cast provide the upscale setting for this drama.

In most cases, the cast is spot on with their characterizations. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. And, while improvisation is sometimes refreshing to watch, there is also something to be said for adapting the rhythms and word-choice of the play’s author a bit more closely.

Director’s Notes

As far as we know, Frederick Knott wrote only three plays, but two of them are among the most-produced plays in the world: Wait Until Dark, which Chevy Chase Players presented in 2007, and Dial M for Murder, which we’re honored to present to you now. (The third was Write Me a Murder.)

Dial M for Murder was Knott’s first play. At first he had trouble getting it produced, but it ultimately debuted to great acclaim in London in 1952. And that was just the beginning: Dial M for Murder ran for 552 performances on Broadway, and it became a hit film directed by none other than Sir Alfred Hitchcock. It has been translated into two dozen languages, and it is performed regularly by professional and amateur groups alike.

The Chevy Chase Players’ depiction of the ultimate dysfunctional marriage could not have been possible without the efforts of very talented artists who trusted my vision.

My excellent cast brought a vast array of knowledge and experience to this production. With them, getting this show ready for presentation was truly a collaborative process. I thank each of them for their efforts throughout the entire process.

The production crew has also worked incredibly hard, getting the set designed, built, painted and lit in a short period of time. They did their usual thorough good job.

Please enjoy the show.

Peter Chewning

Cast List

  • Tony Wendice: Evan Hart
  • Margot Wendice: Morrigan Condo
  • Inspector Hubbard: Peter Markey
  • Max Halliday: Thomas McGrath
  • Captain Lesgate: Calen May-Tobin
  • Murphy: Terry Gish
  • Reporter, Roger, Thompson, Williams: Terry Gish
  • O’Brian, Pendleton: Calen May-Tobin
  • Radio Announcer: Thomas McGrath
  • Pre-show Announcements: Lord Alfred

Production Staff

  • Producer: Kim Randolph
  • Assistant Producer: Maria Raquel Ott
  • Director: Peter Chewning
  • Set Design: Carolinn Kuebler
  • Master Carpenter: John Vandegriff
  • Set Construction/Painting, Props: Kim Randolph, Peter Chewning, Carolinn Kuebler, Thomas Houlahan, Patty Reeber, Helen Templin, Brian Turley
  • Set Decoration/Dressing: Carolinn Kuebler
  • Lighting Design/Operation: Jim Robertson
  • Sound Design: Peter Chewning
  • Sound Operation: Brian Turley
  • Costumes, Makeup & Hair: The Cast (with assistance from Linda Swann for Margot Wendice’s costume design & wardrobe)
  • Fight Choreography: Morrigan Condo, Calen May-Tobin
  • Stage Crew: Thomas Houlahan, Carolinn Kuebler, Hugh Pettigrew
  • Box Office/Hospitality: Thomas Houlahan, Maria Raquel Ott, Brenda Shaw, Helen Templin, John Vandegriff, Joanne Young
  • Program: Lennie Magida

Disclaimer: Chevy Chase Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.

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