Deathtrap — Comedy-thriller to open 32nd season at Players’ Ring theater
PORTSMOUTH – Take two acts, one set, just five characters and a play that will have you on the edge of your seat for the opening of the 32nd season at the Players’ Ring Theatre in Portsmouth.
“Deathtrap,” directed by Jack Neary and written in 1978 by Ira Levin, references itself as a play within a play. It holds the record for the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway and was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Play.
The play begins with Broadway writer Sidney Bruhl, played by John Budzyna, who is struggling to overcome a dry spell which has resulted in a string of failures and a shortage of funds. A break in his fortunes occurs when he receives a script from a student —a thriller that Sidney recognizes immediately as a potential Broadway smash.
“We have good reasons to believe that ‘Deathtrap’ will be the perfect opener for our 32nd Season,” said Producing Director Margherita Giacobbi.
“The Ring has been striving to present the perfect mix between brand new works and published plays. Our space is so uniquely intimate, that audiences will get to experience the most popular titles – like ‘Deathtrap’ – in a completely new light. Our hope is that they will then choose to trust us once again, and come witness the excellent original works by local playwrights that we have in store for them this season!”
Over the past few years, Lowell, Mass.-native playwright and director Jack Neary has chosen to premiere some of his plays at the Players’ Ring.
Both, including “Moonglow” (2022) and “The Stands” (2023) were incredibly well received by the Seacoast audience. This time around, the Ring hired him to helm the production of this popular title.
“Deathtrap” is a fun play to direct, as long as you have good actors, which I do,” Neary said. “It's a brilliantly constructed thriller that actually tells the audience what it's doing, while it's doing it, and still shocks them are the right times.”
This is Neary’s third time directing “Deathtrap.” He’s also staged several other iconic thrillers, at various venues during his career.
But, the Players’ Ring’s intimate space is truly unique.
Directing “Deathtrap” in this venue is a “thrill mainly for the actors, and a challenge, for the actors and the director,” Neary said.
“We're telling a story, and we require the audience's rapt attention line by line, so the proximity to the action contributes to that,” he said. “At the same time, actors have to really bear down to concentrate to make sure the closeness of the audience members doesn't distract them. Ultimately, the intimacy of the Ring is a very good, and special thing.”
The other four actors cast in “Deathtrap” are Sally Nutt, Thomas Carnes, Trish Aponte and Ed Simeone. The play’s duration is two hours with intermission.
Located in a historic building adjacent to Prescott Park in Portsmouth since 1992, the Players’ Ring strives to nurture creative freedom and artistic excellence within the local artist community, and to offer patrons inspiring theatre experiences within its uniquely intimate performance space with just 75 seats.
The Puddle Dock Restaurant right across the street, and its sister restaurant Tour on Lafayette Road offer a 10% discount on food to Players' Ring ticket holders. If patrons choose to take advantage of this offer at the Puddle Dock, they will be able to leave their cars parked in the restaurant's lot for the duration of the play (subject to availability.)
The Players' Ring is grateful for the support of its Main Sponsors: The Puddle Dock Restaurant, Tour Restaurant, Southport Printing Company, Kennebunk Savings and MacEdge.
Go & Do
“Deathtrap” – a thriller-comedy directed by Jack Neary
Where: The Players’ Ring theater
105 Marcy St., Portsmouth, NH
Phone: (603) 436-8123
When: Sept. 8 through Sept. 24
Fridays: 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays: 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.
Ticket Prices: General admission, $28; seniors (over 65) and students, $25
This show is included in the Players’ Ring subscription packages:
four-, six-, and nine-show subscriptions available ($92, $129, $179, offering 20%, 25% and 30% off single-ticket prices.)
Visit www.playersring.org to order tickets and subscriptions.
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