Thursday, September 3, 2020

One That Got Away: Deathtrap

I loved the movie version of Deathtrap the minute I saw it, especially during that one scene that included such a surprise that people in the theater screamed. Okay, I screamed, too. Anyway, as much as I enjoyed the movie, I was also consumed with the idea of seeing it as a play. Even as a film, it just screamed (verb intended), "I am meant to be seen live!" 

A few years ago, there was a high-profile London revival starring Jonathan Groff. Immediately, rumors circulated that a Broadway transfer was in the cards. But nothing came of it, and I went back to hoping for a thrilling revival over here. I remain confident that some day, I will be able to take the play off my One That Got Away list.

One That Got Away:
Ira Levin's Deathtrap

John Wood, Marian Seldes and Victor Garber

About Deathtrap:
  • There has been only one Broadway production of the play.
  • It began previews at the Music Box Theater on February 21, 1978, and 6 shows later, opened on February 26, 1978.
  • It was Ira Levin's biggest Broadway success. Musical theater fans know that he provided the book and lyrics for the short-lived, cult-favorite Drat! The Cat!
  • The original cast included Tony Award winner John Wood (Travesties) and, in his debut, Victor Garber.
  • Also in the original cast was stage legend and Tony winner Marian Seldes (nominated for this show as well), who famously played every single performance of the play. All of them!

Stacy Keach (left), Marian Seldes (center)

  • Robert Moore was the director. He made his directorial debut with Promises, Promises, and went on to direct several other Neil Simon works, including They're Playing Our Song. His final project was Woman of the Year.
  • Over the play's run, such high-profile actors as John Cullum, Farley Granger, Stacy Keach and Robert Reed joined the cast.
  • Deathtrap played its final six months of performances at the Biltmore Theatre, where it closed on June 13, 1982 following 1,793 performances.
  • Deathtrap is currently the fifth longest-running play on Broadway, and the forty-second longest-running show overall.

Here's hoping there'll be a revival soon. I could use a fun scream these days.


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