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Agatha's Opus World Famous Murder Mystery Next Up On Stage

Seven people stranded in a resort by a blizzard. Cut off from the outside world. Then ... murder. It could be a February day in Minnesota. Instead, it's the Agatha Christie murder mystery "The Mousetrap" presented by Central Lakes College (CLC) T...

Nicole Rothleutner (front, left), Jessie Brutscher, Bri Keran (back, left), Nicholas Kory, Bob Spear and Nitasha Sanders will perform “The Mousetrap” Feb. 13-21 in the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Photo by Sara Wilson
Nicole Rothleutner (front, left), Jessie Brutscher, Bri Keran (back, left), Nicholas Kory, Bob Spear and Nitasha Sanders will perform “The Mousetrap” Feb. 13-21 in the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Photo by Sara Wilson

Seven people stranded in a resort by a blizzard. Cut off from the outside world. Then ... murder.

It could be a February day in Minnesota. Instead, it's the Agatha Christie murder mystery "The Mousetrap" presented by Central Lakes College (CLC) Theatre. The play opens with a 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 show. The play also will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19-21. All shows are in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

"The Mousetrap" holds the distinction of being the longest-running play in theater history. Opening in London's West End in 1952, the play was originally a short radio broadcast in 1947 called "Three Blind Mice." That nursery rhyme song figures prominently in the play.

When she wrote the play, Christie gave the rights to her grandson as a birthday present. In the United Kingdom, only one production of the play in addition to the West End production can be performed annually and no film adaptation can be produced until the West End production has been closed for at least six months. At this point in time with well over 25,000 performances, it doesn't seem likely that a film version will be happening any time soon.

The play also has made theatrical history by having an original "cast member" survive all the cast changes since its opening night. The late Deryck Guyler can still be heard, via a recording, reading the radio news bulletin in the play to this present day.

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Christie's story takes place in Monkswell Manor, a small bed and breakfast establishment in the English countryside, owned and operated by a pair of newlyweds. On this particular night, a blizzard is paralyzing the area, and five guests arrive for the weekend, including an unexpected visitor whose car has gotten stuck in a snowdrift. Soon after all the group is assembled, one of them is murdered. The arrival of a police detective on skis begins the unravelling of the whodunit.

The cast for the CLC production includes some actors familiar to local audiences. Playing the roles of Mollie and Giles Ralston, the proprietors of Monkswell Manor, are Nicole Rothleutner and Jessie Brutscher. Rothleutner has been seen in numerous productions, most recently in last summer's "Blithe Spirit" as the petulant ghost Elvira. Brutscher played the sheriff in the CLC production of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Christopher Wren, a rather flamboyant guest, is portrayed by Nicholas Kory. Kory is recognizable for past roles such as Ray-Bud in "Dearly Departed." Bri Keran, long-time actor in CLC productions such as "The Foreigner" and "Blithe Spirit" portrays the formidable Mrs. Boyle.

Nitasha Sanders plays Miss Casewell. Sanders was last seen as Catherine in the October comedy hit "The Foreigner." Bob Spear, another veteran of numerous productions, portrays Major Metcalf, retired officer. Spear was last seen as L.A. television producer Gary in "I Hate Hamlet."

Michael Sanders plays the unexpected Mr. Paravicini. Sanders last graced the CLC stage as Pseudolus in the musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Detective Trotter, the skiing policeman, is portrayed by Nick Brutscher. He's familiar to audiences for roles in "The Foreigner" and "The Weir."

"The Mousetrap" is directed by Erik Steen. Previous productions under his direction have included "I Hate Hamlet" and "The Diary of Anne Frank" at CLC, and "Morning's at Seven" and "Arsenic and Old Lace" at Pequot Lakes Community Theatre. The setting is designed by Tim Leagjeld. Costumes are by Dawn Marks. Ben Kent is the sound and lighting designer. The production stage manager is Shawna Sylvester. Production manager/technical director is Sarah Broton.

The show is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. Lakes Printing is the major sponsor for the play.

Tickets for "The Mousetrap" are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 855-8199, or online at clcmn.edu/arts​.

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