Stagecrafters’ Courtroom Thriller: WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION

by Patricia Bradford

WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION opens at The Stagecrafters theater on Friday, November 22 for a three-weekend run. A young man, Leonard Vole, stands accused of the brutal murder of a wealthy older woman, a casual acquaintance who, over time became most fond of him and changed her will in his favor. The stakes are sky-high as renowned London barrister Wilfrid Robarts summons all his legal talents in order to prove the man innocent. Agatha Christie at her best, treating us to a taut murder mystery, has crafted a narrative suspenseful to its very end, deftly combined with astute psychological insights and … well, lots of tingly fun throughout! One reviewer dubbed it: “… a six-course meal of a play, a lip-smacking, eye-rolling, [stomach-churning] … grand buffet of … vintage fifties, English-style murder, complete with … a wide-eyed, decent … young defendant – or so he seems. …” –; another drew surpassing praise: “… tops my list as one of the most insanely brilliant pieces of theatre I have ever witnessed. …” –

Agatha Christie (1890-1976), considered the grande dame of the whodunit, wrote sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections. The Guinness Book of World Records lists her as the best-selling novelist of all time, whose works have been translated into over a hundred languages! Based on a 1925 short story, Witness for the Prosecution is one of Christie’s most ingenious narratives, acclaimed by critics and audiences alike as an incomparable courtroom procedural. The play opened in London on October 28, 1953 at the Winter Garden Theatre, enjoying an extended run, and then in New York on December 16, 1954 at Henry Miller’s Theatre, running for 645 performances until June 30, 1956 and earning the author an Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play. A film version released in 1958, directed by Billy Wilder, featured Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich, and Tyrone Power in the pivotal roles. Among innumerable theatrical productions worldwide are included several site-specific revivals, one performed in council chambers of the York Guildhall (York, England) in 2014, and subsequently staged at several other legal venues over the following several years, including the chamber of London’s County Hall in 2017!

Production performance dates are November 22nd thru December 8th: Thu, Fri, Sat @ 8 pm, Sun @ 2 pm. No perf. T’giving, Nov. 28th; Mat. perf. Sat. Nov. 30th. Tickets are available at $21.00 Online (no service charge), $25.00 At-door. (Thu. eve performances 2-for-$32 Online, 2-for-$35 At-door). At-door discounts available for students with valid ID, seniors over 65, and Industry (Fridays only). Groups of 15 or more are offered a reduced rate of $15.00 a ticket, paid in advance. The box office opens 45 minutes before each performance. For information call 215-247-8881; for reservations-direct call 215-247-9913. The theater is located in the heart of Chestnut Hill at 8130 Germantown Ave. Visit website for details:

Special NOTE: A “Meet the Cast and Director” Q & A session will be held following the performance on Friday, Nov. 29th.

Theater/Organization: The Stagecrafters
Theater Address: 8130 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania 19118 (Map It)
Theater Phone: (215) 247-9257

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