“Dial M For Murder” premiered on the London stage in the spring of 1952 to great acclaim, followed by an equally successful Broadway run that October.
However, it was not until Alfred Hitchcock’s film of the same name, that “Dial M” became a classic.
The principal players in the TCP production are:
Todd Crouse as Max Halliday
Gary Goerée as Captain Lesgate
Ian Hopkins as Tony Wendice
Vikki Schnurr as Margot Wendice
Mike Vanderloo as Inspector Hubbard
Margot Wendice – Tony’s wife
The production is directed by Jon Guistini a retired teacher making his directorial debut with TCP. Prior to working with TCP, Guistini’s experience includes producing and directing musicals involving numerous school children.
I spoke with him about his first experience directing community theatre.
1) What inspired your interest in theatre?
I cannot even tell you what inspired me, because I have never sung or acted in my life, but I am inspired when I see what children can do when given the chance, the support, the permission and the direction to excel even beyond their own expectations. Kids are so wonderful!!!!!!
My wife, a singer in her own right, had school school choirs for many years as well. We both love the arts and our kids were exposed to that love for most of their lives.
2) What characteristics were you looking for in role of Tony Wendice, the psychopath tennis professional who appears on the surface to be solicitous and loving to his wife?
If I said that I was looking for something specific I would be lying.
At his audition Ian Hopkins, Tony, interpreted the text of his monologue so convincingly that I knew he was the right one. He was sinister in an understated way. His natural gentleness in combination with a good understanding of Tony, was excellent.
3) This is your first time directing in community theatre, what was the biggest lesson you learned?
Believe me, I got lots of advice as to what I should do as a first time director. It was my daughter, who has acted with and directed The Community Players of New Hamburg, that I to looked to.
The murder scene has cost me sleepless nights, but I think and hope that we have got something that works well.
I learned that I have to proceed as I see fit.
I learned that I get further when I work collaboratively with others, incorporating their ideas with my vision. It gives them ownership of the project and lets them know that their ideas are appreciated.
This group of actors all contributed beyond my expectations.
My favourite part of every rehearsal turned out to be the 15 minutes before it began when I would look around the room and see the cast cast & crew gathered in small groups discussing ideas and rehearsing parts of scenes on their own. That was when I knew it was working. They were co-directors with me.
4) “Dial M for Murder” is set in an apartment which can lead to a sense of claustrophobia. How did you work with that?
I was, and continue to be, impressed by the design and general appearance of the set.
Our artistic director – Brent Roth – is brilliant. The set has become another character in the play.
It is large, inviting, spacious, and set with a look which indicates upper middle income Brits in the fifties. The costuming – done by my wife – is excellent. She has been searching and scouring for months to get the right pieces.
The Community Players of New Hamburg’s “Dial M For Murder” continues through Nov. 14th, with 2pm matinées Saturdays and Sunday.
For tickets Click Here.
by Keith Tomasek