The Mousetrap: Excitement Builds as SCDS’s Annual Fall Play Approaches!

By: Sara Goldberger  |  December 5, 2022
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By: Sara Goldberger

Two weeks away from the opening show, the cast and crew of this year’s Stern College Dramatics Society play are hard at work on their hilarious and riveting production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. As the world’s longest-running play, there have been over 28,000 performances of The Mousetrap since its first showing in 1952. It has just been announced that for the first time ever, The Mousetrap will finally be coming to Broadway! Lucky for you, you do not have to wait until then to see this famous play; SCDS is bringing The Mousetrap to Washington Heights this December! 

Funny, a little dark, and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, here is a taste of what is in store for you in SCDS’s production of The Mousetrap. It is the grand opening of Monkswell Manor guest house, and a blizzard has hit, trapping the new owners and five quirky guests inside. When a policeman arrives on skis, the country getaway suddenly becomes the center of a murder investigation. Everyone has a secret, but one is greater than them all… The Mousetrap will leave you wondering “whodunnit?” with twists and turns you could never have imagined. 

The show is now celebrating its seventieth anniversary, which makes you wonder how it is possible that the story’s true murderer still remains a mystery for future audiences. The answer is that after every performance the audience is asked to “preserve the tradition of The Mousetrap by keeping the secret locked in their hearts.” When you attend SCDS’s upcoming showing, you too will be asked to preserve this famous theater secret.

As I am the assistant stage manager of the play, I know a lot about the backstage side of working on the show. Although you may have heard many times before that there is so much more involved in backstage work than the glimpses the audience catches through the curtains, it does not come close to encapsulating the enormity of this project. In my position, I help our incredible stage manager, Tzivia Major, coordinate rehearsals and manage the backstage teams, among other odds and ends that come up (and they always come up). Hair, sound, lights, and set are just a handful of teams that we oversee to produce a dazzling and captivating experience for the audience. At my high school, I was always involved in our annual play as a member of the cast, choir, or crew, but when I joined SCDS, I was blown away by the high level of professionalism and dedication. Being that I am focused primarily on the management of the play, I took this article as an opportunity to speak to the cast about what it has been like for them working in front of the curtain. 

Eliana Diamond  (Mr. Paravacini): “It’s so incredible being part of such a talented production team! The whole crew is so dedicated and cares so deeply for the success of the show. It’s been so much fun to rehearse with and learn from the other actors.”

Tehila Bitton, (Mollie Ralston): “Working with the amazing cast and crew on The Mousetrap has been incredible. To tap into Mollie’s past, and focus on getting those events to show in both her actions in the present and her hopes for the future has been a welcome challenge. We have learned so much from our characters, from our amazing director Leah, and from each other. Perhaps the best part of this whole experience has been the collective bond we have formed as a cast; everyone is so encouraging and supportive. In rehearsal, we rely on and work off of each other, because your lines and reactions come out completely differently based on who is standing across from you on stage, and how they interact with your character. It has been an absolute privilege to be a part of the team and I am so excited to see this show come to life.”

Gillian Herszage, (Giles Ralston) SCDS Vice President: “One of the best parts of SCDS is getting to work with my friends on stage. The friendships that have come out of creating this production are truly amazing. In rehearsing for the play, Leah works with each of us on our characters individually. This is my first time playing a man, so she and I have been working on understanding who Giles is, how he thinks, walks, talks, and feels in every scene.”

Nancy Alexander (Major Metcalf): “It’s been really cool and exciting working with Leah. She’s such a pro! I’ve done plays before but I’ve never had a director that really viewed theatre as an art form the way that she does. She treats all of us with so much respect and really empowers us to own these characters. She’s given me the confidence to make strong choices about my role and to bring all of my skill sets to this production”

Our director Leah Gottfried is an award-winning director, writer, producer and actor, and founder of the production company Dignity Entertainment. You may recognize her as the writer, director, and star of the hit web series “Soon By You.” She is also a Stern graduate and was an SCDS member during her own time on campus! As she describes it:

“Being in the SCDS shows when I was in Stern was a huge highlight for me, definitely one of the best parts of my college experience. It’s incredibly thrilling for me to be able to return now to direct the show and work with students who are just as passionate about theatre arts as I was. I’m blown away by the talent and passion of the actors and the professionalism and dedication of the crew. They are all in it with their full hearts.”

This is high praise coming from Leah, and the cast and crew members certainly take her accolades to heart. Leah also grants us a unique and empowering perspective on what it’s like as a woman working in the arts:

“As an observant woman in the arts, I feel particularly passionate about the importance of telling our own stories. My vision for my own career is to tell authentic stories about powerful and complex Jewish women. I’m finding that my observance doesn’t hinder me in the ways many had assumed it would; it’s actually been an aspect of myself that sets me apart and really drives my work, particularly as a writer and director of film. I always encourage any young artists who are unsure if the arts is a viable career that it very much is and that the world needs to hear their stories.”

Now that you have a taste of what goes on before you enter the theater doors, join Mr. Paravacini, Giles, Mollie, and the entire cast and crew of The Mousetrap on show night. Come enjoy the Stern College Dramatics Society production of The Mousetrap, and see why this classic play has been running for over 70 years.

Buy tickets here: https://scds.ticketleap.com/the-mousetrap/ 

Show dates: December 11th at 3pm, December 12th, 14th, and 15th at 7:30pm

Location: Schottenstein Theater, Wilf Campus (560 W 185th Street

New York, 10033)

***Bussing to and from Beren Campus will be available for each show.

Price:

  • Student – $5
  • General Admission – $15
  • YU Alumni – $12
  • Sponsorship – $35

If you are an SCDS alum or a YU staff member, please email sterndramatics@gmail.com for a discount code.

Works Cited

“Agatha Christie’s the Mousetrap: A Fact File.” Agatha Christie, 21 Nov. 2019, 

https://www.agathachristie.com/news/2019/agatha-christies-the-mousetrap-the-facts.

Leah Gottfried, https://www.leahgottfried.com/.

Wiegand, Chris. “The Mousetrap: Agatha Christie’s West End Hit to Make Broadway Debut 

after 70 Years.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Nov. 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2022/nov/25/the-mousetrap-first-broadway-production-after-70-years-agatha-christie.

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