“Murder on the Orient Express” is the current offering at Ogunquit Playhouse. Jay Goldsmith

A dandy detective drama and two interesting approaches to popular music top this week’s picks of the tix.

At the Ogunquit Playhouse, for the first time in more than a dozen years a non-musical is offered. It’s Dame Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” one of the most popular whodunits ever written.

In Arundel, Vinegar Hill Music Theatre continues its season on Saturday with the Texas Tenors, a trio of guys in 10-gallon hats with great voices and a very broad range of repertoire.

Deertrees Theatre and Cultural Center wraps up its 2019 summer season with “IMAGINE,” a musical program that focuses on the post-breakup solo careers of the individual members of the Beatles.

‘Murder on the Orient Express’

One elegant train stranded in a snowdrift, one murder victim, eight suspects and eight airtight alibis: Those are among the problems faced by Hercule Poirot, a mustachioed Belgian detective who speaks with a fearsome French accent and unravels deep, dark mysteries with legendary skill and finesse.

That’s the essence of “Murder on the Orient Express,” the immensely successful detective novel written by Dame Agatha Christie in 1934 that has been subsequently adapted to multiple formats.


Currently running at Ogunquit Playhouse is a stage version with script by comic genius Ken Ludwig. It’s also the first non-musical offering at the venerable playhouse in about 15 years, and it’s a huge success.

I won’t say anything more about the devilishly clever plot for the benefit of the one or two readers who’ve been living under a rock for decades. But expect to be surprised.

Ogunquit Playhouse has mounted a memorable production of “Murder on the Orient Express,” paced by Steven Rattazzi as detective Poirot, who dominates the stage from opening curtain to denouement. He’s got a superb supporting cast of nine, led by Ruth Gottschall playing a loud, oft-divorced American socialite.

Kudos also to the technical team, especially the opulent set by Beowulf Boritt and moving projection design by Jason Lee Courson.

Ogunquit Playhouse, a mile south of the village on U.S. Route 1, presents “Murder on the Orient Express” through Aug. 31. Call 646-5511 or visit OgunquitPlayhouse.org.

Texas Tenors

“O sole mio!” is one of the most famous arias in the Italian repertoire, a signature showcase of operatic tenors from Enrico Caruso to Luciano Pavarotti.


This Saturday in Arundel, music aficionados can savor the song sung by three guys in cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats. The Texas Tenors are motoring into Vinegar Hill Music Theatre on their 10th-anniversary tour.

The “three tenors” concert format has become a standard in the world of musical entertainment in recent decades, and every trio that employs it has its own shtick. The Texas Tenors do it with a traditional western look plus an incredibly broad spectrum of repertoire.

To be sure, they’ll pull off a few big operatic arias, but they’re also well versed in other musical styles that include Nashville, Tin Pan Alley, American Songbook, rock and Broadway.

Since getting their start on the 2009 season of “America’s Got Talent,” Marcus Collins, John Hagen and J.C. Fisher have performed more than 1,300 live concerts, released three albums, copped three Emmy Awards and were recognized by Billboard as one of the world’s top crossover artists.

The Texas Tenors will perform twice, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., on Aug. 24 at Vinegar Hill Music Theatre, 53 Old Post Road in Arundel. Call 985-5552.

‘IMAGINE: The Beatles Solo Years’

When the Beatles disbanded in 1970, the bitter breakup marked the end of history’s most successful pop music group at a time when the fab four – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – had reached the pinnacle of their creative energies.


These creative energies were expressed in the 1970s and beyond in stellar post-breakup careers, with each of the four enjoying a string of successful performances and recordings as solo artists with new collaborators.

This Saturday, several of these post-breakup hits will be performed by Joe Boucher and a nine-piece rock band he has assembled. Boucher, whose day job is with the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s operations department, has created a number of sell-out shows in recent years featuring himself on piano and lead vocals, and a host of collaborators drawn from southern Maine’s vibrant musical community.

Boucher’s hit shows include “Piano Men,” which features the tunes of Billy Joel and Elton John, and “Classic Rock,” which covers a broader range of repertoire. I’ve seen both of these and I tremendously admire what Boucher has accomplished.

“IMAGINE: The Beatles Solo Years” will debut as the final show of the 2019 season at Deertrees Theatre and Cultural Center. Catch it at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at 156 Deertrees Road in Harrison. Call 583-6747.

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