Since 1952, Agatha Christie’s murder mystery The Mousetrap has stumped—and entertained—millions of theatergoers in London. Now, after 70 years of performances on the West End, the beloved whodunit is finally coming to Broadway, reports the New York Times’ Alex Marshall.
The London production, which ran mostly at St. Martin’s Theatre, holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running play in the world. Actors have performed the show more than 28,000 times for more than 10 million audience members, per data shared by the London production. In 2002, Elizabeth II attended the 50th-anniversary show.
The Mousetrap is slated to debut in New York sometime in 2023, though details about the upcoming Broadway run are scant. Adam Spiegel, the show’s British producer, is collaborating with Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollum to bring The Mousetrap to the United States. The show is coming to Broadway for a “limited engagement,” according to the website; when the Times asked him to elaborate, he offered few additional details.
Spiegel did reveal that the New York version will end the same way as the London production: with a cast member encouraging audience members to keep the mystery alive for theatergoers who have not yet seen the show by not revealing the killer’s identity.
Christie originally wrote the story—which follows the plight of snowed-in guests trapped in a house with a murderer—as a gift to Mary of Teck, queen consort of George V, for the queen’s 80th birthday, per the author’s website. Originally called Three Blind Mice, the tale premiered as a 30-minute radio play on the BBC in 1947. Christie drew inspiration from a real-life case involving two brothers who’d been abused in foster care.
The story made its stage debut in 1952 under a new name, The Mousetrap, starring husband-and-wife duo Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim. Actors have been performing the play ever since, pausing only because of the pandemic. After a 15-month hiatus, it reopened in May 2021 and has had a successful run ever since, which gave its producers a “renewed sense of purpose about where else it might work, and New York seemed a good place,” Spiegel tells the Times.
Though 2023 will mark the first time The Mousetrap has run on Broadway, the play did open off-Broadway at the Maidman Playhouse in 1960. Christie and the play’s original producer, Peter Saunders, didn’t want it to go to New York, according to the London Times’ David Sanderson. But Mathew Prichard, Christie’s grandson, decided to go against his late grandmother’s wishes after seeing how popular the show became when it reopened last year.
Born in 1890 in Torquay, England, Christie was homeschooled and taught herself to read as a child; she began writing short stories at age 18. The author met and married pilot Archie Christie in 1914 amid World War I, and five years later she gave birth to the couple’s only daughter, Rosalind. The pair divorced in 1928 and Christie married British archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1930.
Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920—and the imaginative writer’s career blossomed from there. In the end, she penned 66 novels and 14 short story collections, which have collectively sold more than a billion copies in English and a billion copies in other languages. She died in 1976 at age 85, and she remains one of the best-selling authors of all time.