Vertigo announces 48th season filled with premieres

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For its 48th season, which launches in September, Vertigo Theatre will be bringing Calgarians a world premiere, three Canadian premieres and a veteran of the mystery genre.

The season, which artistic director Jack Grinhaus says is filled with people confronting their pasts to face the future, will open with Stephen Mallatratt’s stage version of the 1983 gothic horror novel The Woman in Black.

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The Woman in Black, which closed its 36-year run on the London stage last March, is second only to Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap for its popularity and durability. Theatre Calgary produced a version of this ghost story in 1991, and Vertigo last produced it in 2010.

Two men recount the story of a young lawyer sent to handle the affairs of a recently deceased recluse, only to learn her village is haunted by a ghost avenging the death of her child. Daniel Radcliffe starred in the 2012 film version.

Grinhaus has hired Jamie Dunsdon to direct The Woman in Black because “she knows how to do horror. Her production of Stephen King’s Misery, which opened our 2022/23 season, is one of our all-time top sellers.

Agatha Christie will take centre stage for the holiday season when Vertigo presents the Canadian premiere of Murder on the Links, adapted for the stage by Steven Dietz. It’s a comic version of Christie’s 1923 whodunit about a body found on a golf course in France, and features her famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Grinhaus calls Murder on the Links “a hat-switching play, like The 39 Steps, because six actors play more than 30 roles, and often switch character and costume pieces in mid-speech. Jenna Rodgers knows the playwright and brought this play to us, so it’s only natural she should direct it.”

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Vertigo Theatre’s artistic director Jack Grinhaus. Courtesy, Dahlia Katz cal

In February 2025, Vertigo will present the Canadian premiere of David Foley’s Deadly Murder,  directed by Valerie Planche. Already produced in the United States, the U.K. and Europe, Deadly Murder is an erotic thriller about a successful female jewelry designer with a penchant for younger men. One night she brings home a young waiter who holds her hostage. Grinhaus says Deadly Murder “is a real cat-and-mouse thriller filled with twists and turns, intrigue and a host of double-crosses. It’s a lot like Deathtrap and Sleuth, and those are plays our audiences really like.”

Grinhaus will be directing the world premiere of A Killing At La Cucina (A Lucia Dante Mystery) by Thomas Morgan Jones next March. The year before Grinhaus was appointed artistic director of Vertigo, he was already in talks with Jones to direct this whodunit about a famous food critic who is murdered in a five-star restaurant. Grinhaus is excited because “the play introduces a new crime-solving detective in Lucia Dante. It’s a two-character play in which one actor plays Lucia and the other plays all the suspects. It’s such a clever, fun, witty play with great roles for its two actors. This will be a co-production between Vertigo and Winnipeg’s Prairie Exchange Theatre.”

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Vertigo Theatre’s upcoming season will include the mysteries The Woman in Black and The Da Vinci Code. cal

The season will wrap up with the Canadian premiere of a new stage version of Dan Brown’s celebrated novel The Da Vinci Code by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, who coauthored The Girl on the Train which opens at Vertigo on March 16. Grinhaus is excited because the playwrights asked if Vertigo would be interested in staging the Canadian premiere of their play, which toured the U.K. in 2022, and had its U.S. premiere in Maine last September. He has asked Simon Mallett to direct and promises “It’s going to be epic. It will need a great deal of heavy lifting from our technical teams, but it also relies heavily on its storytelling and acting. With 10 actors, it’s our big-cast play of the season, and I want to do one large-cast show each year.”

Subscription packages for this upcoming season are now on sale, starting at $196, and can be purchased at vertigotheatre.com or by phone at 403-221-3708.

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