What: "The Mousetrap."
When: 8 p.m. today, Saturday, March 23-24, March 30-31; 7 p.m. Thursday and March 29; 2:30 p.m. March 25 and April 1.
Where: MainStage, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.
Admission: $10-$25 (opening night $30).
The run of "The Mousetrap" at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre will offer these special events.
Today: A 7 p.m. opening-night gala with hors d'oeuvres and complimentary drinks celebrating the 60th anniversary of the premiere of the play precedes the 8 p.m. curtain.
March 23: A talk-back with the cast and director George Quick will follow the 8 p.m. show.
March 29: Real-time captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons at the 7 p.m. show.
March 30: A 7 p.m. Girls' Night Out reception, featuring adult beverages and light hors d'oeuvres, precedes the 8 p.m. curtain.
On any given week this year, crime-related shows have held three or four of the Top 10 spots among the most viewed television programs in the country.
For that, according to Chattanooga Theatre Centre producing director George Quick, television can thank authors such as Agatha Christie.
One of the mystery author's best-known plays, "The Mousetrap," will be presented on the CTC MainStage beginning tonight and continuing two additional weekends.
"'Law and Order,' 'CSI,' they're all modern-day whodunits," said Quick. "Clearly, there's an appetite [for such stories]."
But there's more to a mystery, he said.
"It's fun to find out who did what and why," Quick said. "These are fun characters. It's fun to watch as the whole thing unfolds."
What unfolds in "The Mousetrap" is that a group of strangers becomes stranded in a boarding house during a snowstorm. One of them is a murderer. The suspects include the newlyweds who run the house; a spinster with a curious background; an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef; a retired Army major; a strange man who claims his car has overturned in a snowdrift; and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone.
Add to that a policeman who arrives on skis and who, in order to detect the murderer's pattern, probes the background of all present and, in doing so, rattles a lot of skeletons.
Quick said he opted to use the original 1952 setting of the play.
"There are some great things about the blocking and staging from the original that help keep everyone a suspect," he said. "It's really fun. [If it had been changed], we might miss some of these red herrings."
What he and co-set designers Scott Dunlap and Warren Brady have done, he said, is take their inspiration for the set from Edward Gorey's gothic drawings.
Gorey, the late American writer and artist, was perhaps best known for his animated introduction to the PBS series Mystery! He also won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design for the 1977 Broadway production of "Dracula."
One of the artist's line drawings, Quick said, gave a "spookiness to the [design of the] manor house" in which the play is set.