News & Notables

Whodunnit? Act 1 Opens its 48th Season with "Murder on the Nile"

by Matthew Smaldone '19 | Sep 28, 2017

“As slick a vehicle as any theatre company could wish for.” - Leah D. Frank, The New York Times

Act 1 DeSales University Theatre opens its Main Stage season with Agatha Christie’s, Murder on the Nile.

This thrilling mystery will be presented September 27 to October 8 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, Center Valley, PA.

Murder on the Nile presents an enticing and mysterious series of events starting with the paddleboat honeymoon of a pair of newlyweds, the wealthy Kay Ridgeway and her penniless husband, Simon Mostyn. As the couple settle into their holiday cruise, they are confronted by their discarded friend and Simon’s past fiancée, Jacqueline de Severac. Hell bent on ruining the lovebirds’ holiday, Jackie has been stalking the Mostyns across Europe, finally catching up with them at last on the Nile. But all is not as it seems. The plot thickens as murderous hijinks are discovered on board and the cruise passengers must try to discover who is innocent and who is guilty. Murder on the Nile is a thrilling and complex tapestry in which Agatha Christie, the master of the genre, weaves mysterious motives and deadly consequences seamlessly into a suspenseful who-done-it adventure. “We are excited to open our season with this mystery by the great Ms. Christie,” says performing arts division head John Bell. “Our students are having as grand a grand time working on this play as I believe our audiences will watching it. It’s the clever way in which each character tackles the mystery that makes it so much fun.”

Agatha Christie is well known as the Master of the Murder Mystery. Born in Torquay, England in 1890, Christie published her first story The Mysterious Affair at Styles and introduced her most popular character, Hercule Poirot, who would appear as a recurring detective in books to come. Agatha Christie was also an accomplished playwright, penning such classics as The Hollow, Verdict, and The Mousetrap. Death on the Nile was adapted into the stage play Murder on the Nile in 1944 and was produced in London’s West End as well as on Broadway. According to director Steven Dennis, “I was fortunate to have as a resource Death on the Nile, Ms. Christie's novel, upon which this mystery is based. The book featured Poirot; however, feeling she needed a break from that character, she dropped him from the play and added a Church Canon. Preparing to direct the play, I found myself spending time with the question: why do we, as audience members, find murder mysteries so entertaining?” says Dennis. “What additional values might we plumb from exploring such an entertaining genre?  I think the answer lay within the characters.  Our challenge is to flesh them out and make them fully-dimensional human beings, some of whom with which we might relate.”

The 1930s-paddleboat journey up the Nile is brought to life by Act 1’s creative technical team, including faculty scenic designer Will Neuert, guest costume designer Deborah Burrill, and guest lighting designer Eric Haugen. Alumni Teresa Raso ’17 and Michael Lirro ’12 return to design the sound and serve as master electrician, respectively. Megan Pomposello ’20 is the production stage manager. 

The production runs September 27 to October 8, 2017 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 PM. A talk back with the director and cast is scheduled for Sunday, October 1, after the 2:00 PM performance. There is a morning matinee on Tuesday, October 3 at 9:45 a.m., followed by a talk back.

Ticket prices for Murder on the Nile are $21 for adults and $19 for students and seniors on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $25 for adults and $23 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts are available for all performances. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center box office at 610-282-3192 or by visiting the web site at

The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.

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