The Durham Performing Arts Center’s is excited to present the U.S. tour of the National Theatre of Great Britain’s award-winning 2012 production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, on Feb. 21-26 as part of its 2016-17 SunTrust Broadway Series. Ingeniously adapted for the stage by English playwright Simon Stephens (Heisenberg) and brilliantly staged on both sides of the Atlantic by War Horse co-director Marianne Elliott, the stage version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is based on the bestselling 2003 mystery novel by English novelist Mark Haddon; and it features music by Adrian Sutton.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time opened on Aug. 2, 2012 in London’s West End and is still running — through June 3, 2017 — at the Gielgud Theatre. The show’s London production won seven 2013 Olivier Awards, including Best New Play and Best Director, and the 2014 Broadway production of the play, which debuted on Oct. 5, 2014 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and ran for 799 performances before closing on Sept. 4, 2016 (making it the longest-running Broadway play in more than a decade), won five 2015 Tony Awards®, including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play — plus six Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Play; the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play; and five Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Play.
In his Time magazine review of the play, Richard Zoglin wrote, “One of the achievements of this stage adaptation … is that it is a play about a disabled teenager that totally avoids medical explanations or conventional, courage-in-the-face-of-illness sentimentality. The play … is part mystery story, part family drama, part young-adult adventure tale. But mostly it’s a demonstration of the power of theater to transport us to exotic places, none more exotic than the inside workings of a discombobulated human mind.”
Zoglin adds, “… The set is a black box of crosshatched graph paper — the grid of Christopher’s rigid but wildly disconnected mind[…. D]irector Marianne Elliott … orchestrates a dazzling array of sound and light effects, video projections and choreographed movement by a group of actors who remain onstage at all times — alternately handling props, helping animate scenes by impersonating kitchen appliances and other household objects, and playing all the people in Christopher’s life.”
The current more than 30-city U.S. tour, which commenced on Sept. 27, 2016 at the Auditorium Theatre in Rochester, NY, and is scheduled to conclude on Sept. 12-17, 2017 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, stars 2015 Juilliard Drama Division graduate Adam Langdon as socially inept 15-year-old math prodigy and amateur detective Christopher John Francis Boone, who investigates the death of his neighbors’ dog — a la his hero, Sherlock Holmes — while struggling with an unspecified neurodevelopmental disorder that falls somewhere on the autism spectrum; and Maria Elena Ramirez as Christopher’s teacher and mentor Siobhan, who reads excerpts from his writings aloud — in place of Christopher’s first-person narrative in the novel — as the hypersensitive boy, who is incapable of normal social interactions, embarks on his obsessive quest to discover who speared Mr. and Mrs. Shears’ big black poodle Wellington with a garden fork in their garden.
“Christopher has a unique set of challenges,” claims Gene Gillette, who plays the boy’s father Ed Boone, a boiler engineer. Gillette adds, “Lights and sounds are overwhelming to Christopher. He has a brilliant mind, but he’s socially awkward and doesn’t like dealing with other people. He doesn’t like being touched….”
And yet, Gillette says, the mysterious nocturnal demise of a neighbor’s poodle — for which suspicion initially falls on Christopher — impels the boy to venture far, far out of his comfort zone and embark on his own investigation of the dog’s death — in quixotic quest that ultimately takes him 80-odd miles, from Swindon in Wiltshire, in South West England, all the way to London. “Along the way, Christopher unearths all kinds of secrets,” says Gene Gillette, “and he makes an earth-shattering discovery about his own family.”
In addition to Adam Langdon as Christopher, Maria Elena Ramirez as Siobhan, and Gene Gillette as Ed, the first national tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time — which takes its title from the 1892 Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” — stars Felicity Jones Latta as Christopher’s mother and Ed’s estranged wife Judy Boone; John Hemphill and Kathy McCafferty as the Boone’s neighbors, Roger and Eileen Shears; Amelia White as the Boone’s neighbor Mrs. Alexander, who provides key information during Christopher’s investigation into the dog’s death; and Benjamin Wheelwright, who plays Christopher at certain performances. The show’s Ensemble includes Brian Robert Burns, Francesca Choy-Kee, Robyn Kerr, J. Paul Nicholas, and Geoffrey Wade. Understudies include Josephine Hall and Tim Wright.
Produced by Stuart Thompson, Tim Levy, NT America, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Lisa Burger, NT Productions, Bob Boyett, Roger &, William Berlind, Scott M. Delman, Roy Furman, Glass Half Full Productions, Ruth Hendel, JFL TLP Partnership, Jon B. Platt, Scott Rudin, Triple Play Broadway, and The Shubert Organization, in conjunction with associate producers Franki De La Vega and Kevin Emrick, and directed by two-time Tony winner Marianne Elliott, with choreography by Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett, and Frantic Assembly, the U.S. tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time features the Tony Award-winning scenic design by Bunny Christie, lighting design by Paule Constable, and video design by Finn Ross. The tour’s creative team also includes associate director Benjamin E. Klein, associate choreographer Yasmine Lee, sound designer Ian Dickinson and Autograph, hair designer David Brian Brown, associate scenic designer Evan Adamson, associate costume designer China Lee, associate lighting designer Gina Scherr, associate sound designer Joanna Lynne Staub, and associate video designer Shawn Duan. Tony-winning scenic designer Bunny Christie also designed the costumes for the Broadway production and the tour.
Gene Gillette, a 42-year-old Evergreen, CO native, grew up in Franktown, between Denver and Colorado Springs; studied theater at the University of Colorado Boulder; and earned an MFA certificate in acting from the Shakespeare Theater Company’s Academy of Classical Acting in Washington, DC in 2007. He calls The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience. “It’s a really beautiful marriage of spectacle and storytelling,” he says. “You’re going to see a lot of really cool visuals, but at the end of the day, it’s a beautiful story about family.”
Gillette, who played Albert Narracott’s drunken father Ted in the War Horse in 2013-14, is tackling another hard-to-like character when he plays Ed Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Ted Narracott bought Albert’s beloved Bay Thoroughbred Joey on a boozy whim, and then sold him to the British Army for rent money at the outbreak of World War I, despite Albert’s distraught pleas for him to give the money back. Ed Boone has some character flaws of his own which make for a rocky relationship with his son Christopher.
“These plays are actually very similar,” Gene Gillette points out. “They’re hero’s journeys, and both of the heroes are boys …. In War Horse, Albert goes off to fight in World War I. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Christopher makes a [harrowing] journey to London,” in search of his mother Judy, whom his father has told him is dead.
In preparing to play Ed Boone, a struggling single father, Gene Gillette says that he was able to use a personal tragedy of his own to get closer to the character. “I lost my mother when I was five,” he says. “My father was a single father who raised my sister and me. I tried to imagine what that was like for my dad, and all the weight that was on his shoulders.”
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is known for its spectacular set. “It’s pretty impressive,” Gillette says. “We travel with about five tons of steel….
“I don’t think that [the show] differs at all from the productions on Broadway and in the West End,” he adds. “We’re doing the same show…. When you see the story onstage, you’re going to see it from Christopher’s point of view…. The set is inside Christopher’s head, and all the other characters are Christopher’s brain microbes….”
Gillette notes, “The play raises doubts about how these events really unfolded. Is this what actually happened, or is this Christopher’s version of it?”
Playing Ed Boone eight times a week is challenging, Gene Gillette says. “It’s very physical,” he says, “and it’s very emotional…. There’s a lot of movement work, and there’s a lot of beautiful scene work as well. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been a very rewarding challenge.”
SECOND OPINION: Feb. 20th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh BWW TV interview with actor Adam Langdon, conducted by Jeffrey Kare: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-TV-Adam-Langdon-of-THE-CURIOUS-INCIDENT-OF-THE-DOG-IN-THE-NIGHT-TIME-National-Tour-20170220; Feb. 16th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/curious-new-play-the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in/article_dc9c8b62-f3ee-11e6-99ea-031796c8aeb0.html (Note: You must subscribe to read this article); and Feb. 11th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time/Event?oid=4995526
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21-23, 8 p.m. Feb. 24, 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 25, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $30-$155. Click here for DPAC Special Offers.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/2271507.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.
SHOW: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-nighttime and https://www.facebook.com/events/1646360432320993/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBQJJlTzhUg.
DPAC‘S SUNTRUST BROADWAY SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/suntrust-broadway-series-2016-17.
THE TOUR: http://curiousonbroadway.com/, https://www.ibdb.com/tour-production/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time–501083, https://www.facebook.com/CuriousBroadway, and https://twitter.com/CuriousBroadway.
TOUR CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM: http://curiousonbroadway.com/#cast.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25th, performance.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003 mystery novel): http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/73405/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time-by-mark-haddon/9781101911617/ (Penguin Random House) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curious_Incident_of_the_Dog_in_the_Night-Time (Wikipedia).
The Novel: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Mark Haddon (English novelist): http://markhaddon.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/mark-haddon-496546 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Haddon (Wikipedia).
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2012 West End and 2014 Broadway drama): http://www.curiousonstage.com/ (official West End website), https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time (National Theatre show page), http://curiousonbroadway.com/ (official Broadway website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time-496543 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curious_Incident_of_the_Dog_in_the_Night-Time_%28play%29 (Wikipedia).
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Study Guide: http://cdn.spotcointeractive.com/websites/curiousincident/_downloads/CuriousIncident-StudyGuide.pdf (National Theatre).
Simon Stephens (English playwright): http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsS/stephens-simon.html (Doollee.com: The Playwrights Database), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/simon-stephens-496545 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Stephens (Wikipedia).
Gene Gillette (actor who plays Ed Boone): http://www.genegillette.net/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/gene-gillette-509934 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3262171/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/gene.gillette.18 (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/gillette_gene (Twitter page).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing email@example.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)