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Cast enjoys twists, turns of British whodunit

Cast enjoys twists, turns of British whodunit

Curtain Call staging "Dial M for Murder"
Cast enjoys twists, turns of British whodunit
Pamela O'Connor, front, Steve Leifer, Howie Shaffer and Gary Maggio star in Curtain Call Theatre's “Dial M for Murder.”
Photographer: Photo provided

Gary Maggio is a bit particular about the parts he plays, but signing on with the Curtain Call Theatre production of “Dial M for Murder” was a no-brainer.

Originally the work of English playwright Frederick Kott, “Dial M for Murder” was quickly turned into a Hollywood movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954. The show has three male leads that most actors would love to include on their resume, and Maggio was happy to latch on to one of those characters, Inspector Hubbard.

“Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I was right for any of the parts,” said Maggio, who joins a stellar cast of Howie Schaffer, Steve Leifer and Pamela O’Connor in the Curtain Call production opening Friday night. “Maybe Hubbard is a good fit for me, but either of the other two parts would have been fun to play. I guess I got the right part for me.”

Inspector Hubbard, played by John Williams in the movie and on Broadway, is an English policeman investigating the death of a man in a London home. Leifer plays Tony Wendice, a retired tennis player, and O’Connor is his wife, Margot. Schaffer is Mark Halliday, a friend from America. Williams also won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Hubbard, who was also played by John Noble at Curtain Call back in 2001.

“I know Curtain Call did this before with John Noble as Inspector Hubbard, and I’ve seen the movie and I thought John Williams was fine,” said Maggio. “I’m just going to go in a bit of a different direction with the role. We are doing the British accents and all that. The movie was a real chestnut, and I think the play is great. It’s really a lot of fun.”

The Curtain Call production is being directed by Steve Fletcher.

“The twists and turns in this show are quite brilliantly thought out,” said Fletcher. “It’s a real whodunit, and it takes one crafty fellow to pull it off.”

Fletcher says he’s a big fan of the Hitchcock movie, which along with Williams starred Ray Milland as Wendice, Grace Kelly as Margot and Bob Cummings as Halliday.

“The movie was great, and they remade it with Christopher Plummer and Angie Dickinson in 1981,” said Fletcher. “It’s a fun play to work on, but our show is more like the original play than the movie.”

For Maggio, “Dial M for Murder” is his first play since he played the lead in “The Man Who Came to Dinner” at Home Made Theater in April of 2015.

“I tend to be very particular about the parts that I do,” he said. “I don’t do something just to say I was in it. But I love working on stage with a real collaborative director who knows how to make a rehearsal fun. That really leads to a better product.”

Rounding out the cast is Alex Perrone. William Fritz did the scenic design and costume design was by Sherry Recinella.

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

‘Dial M for Murder’
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Feb. 11; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays
MORE INFO: 877-7529, www.curtaincalltheatre.com

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