Murder on the Orient Express

Discover Ken Ludwig's adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express for the stage

A play adapted from Agatha Christie's classic mystery Murder on the Orient Express by Tony-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You).

First published in 1934, Murder on the Orient Express is widely regarded as one of Agatha Christie’s greatest literary achievements. Ludwig’s stage adaptation offers fans of the mystery classic the same suspenseful, thrilling ride.

The play had its world premiere at the multi-award-winning McCarter Theatre, Princeton in 2017, directed by Emily Mann (Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years and A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway). Ken Ludwig has said of adapting the production, that the goal was to give the audience two hours with "glamorous, interesting people." In the UK, the show was most recently staged in 2022, at Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal Bath, with Henry Goodman taking on the role of Hercule Poirot.

Show synopsis

Winter 1934 and an avalanche stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed eight times, his door locked from the inside. Trapped in the snow with a killer still on board, can the world’s most famous detective, Hercule Poirot, crack the case before the train reaches its final destination?

A love letter to the original material, with a swift moving script adaptation by Ken Ludwig. ... [E]verything you could want - broadly drawn characters, exotic settings, and a spectacular murder with no shortage of suspects.
Broadway World

I believe it was the greatest case of my career, but who am I to say? Modesty forbids it.

Hercule Poirot, Ken Ludwig's Murder on the Orient Express
Thumbnail MOTOE Tour

New UK and Ireland Tour Announced 2024-25

Following a sell-out tour of the best-selling crime novel of all time, And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie Ltd, Fiery Angel and Lucy Bailey (director of the West End hit Witness for the Prosecution) will bring Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of another Agatha Christie classic to the stage in 2024. The UK & Ireland Tour of Murder on the Orient Express will open on 6 September at the Lowry in Salford and will continue through to 2025, finishing on 26 April at Brighton Theatre Royal.

James Prichard of Agatha Christie Limited said, “We're thrilled to once again be working with Lucy Bailey and the team at Fiery Angel and excited to bring Ken Ludwig's magnificent adaptation of one of my great grandmother's most atmospheric and ingenious stories back to UK audiences.”

Having recently directed three of Christie's classic thrillers for the stage - this will be Lucy Bailey's fourth. She said, “Murder on the Orient Express, fast, funny almost farcical at times but with a dark undercurrent of loss and revenge… A train stuck in a snow drift. The holed up passengers all suspected of murder - what fun to be had!”

Casting is to be announced.

Murder on the Orient Express
will be directed by Lucy Bailey and designed by Mike Britton, with lighting design by Oliver Fenwick. To find out more about the show and discover the 20+ venues the show will be touring, visit the official website.

It is not a mere train that will carry you tonight, it is a legend. It runs like no other vehicle on the earth.

Bouc, Ken Ludwig's Murder on the Orient Express

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Did you know?

  1. During rehearsals for the 2017 premiere in the US, the cast got a very special lesson in method acting. On the second day of tech, a terrible blizzard caused some members of the cast to ask if the theatre would be shut down due to weather.

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About the Creative Team

About Ken Ludwig

Ken Ludwig may well be the most performed playwright of his generation. He has had six productions on Broadway and eight in London’s West End. His 34 plays and musicals are staged around the world and throughout the United States every night of the year. They have been produced in over 20 languages in more than 30 countries, and many have become standards of the American repertoire.

His first play, Lend Me a Tenor, won two Tony Awards and was called “one of the classic comedies of the 20th century” by The Washington Post. Crazy For You was on Broadway for five years, on the West End for three, and won the Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical. His adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is being performed around the world and his musical Crazy For You is currently touring Japan.

In addition, he has won the Edwin Forrest Award for Contributions to the American Theatre, two Laurence Olivier Awards, two Helen Hayes Awards, the Charles MacArthur Award, and the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for writing the Kennedy Center Honors. His other plays include Moon Over Buffalo; Leading Ladies; Baskerville; Sherwood; Twentieth Century; Dear Jack, Dear Louise; A Fox on the Fairway; A Comedy of Tenors; The Game’s Afoot Shakespeare in Hollywood; and Moriarty They have starred, among others, Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Tony Shaloub, Joan Collins, and Kristin Bell.

His book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, published by Penguin Random House, has been a bestseller and is coming out this year in a new, expanded edition. It won the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of the Year. His essays on theatre are published in the Yale Review, and he gives the Annual Ken Ludwig Playwriting Scholarship at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

His first opera, Tenor Overboard, opened at the Glimmerglass Festival in July 2022. His most recent world premieres were Lend Me A Soprano and Moriarty, and his newest plays and musicals include Pride and Prejudice Part 2: Napoleon at Pemberley, Lady Molly of Scotland Yard, Beginner’s Luck and Easter Parade.

He has been commissioned to write plays by the Agatha Christie Estate, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Old Globe Theatre, and the Bristol Old Vic.

For more information visit www.KenLudwig.com

About Lucy Bailey

Lucy Bailey studied English at Oxford University where she directed the world premiere of Lessness by Samuel Beckett in consultation with the author.

Recent productions include: Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (Northampton / Fiery Angel, UK Tour); Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe); Oleanna and Switzerland (Theatre Royal Bath & West End); Gaslight (Bill Kenwright, UK Tour), Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution (site specific production, London’s County Hall), Ghosts (Royal & Derngate Northampton); Cave (a site specific opera for London Sinfonietta and Royal Opera House, at the Print Works London); Comus, A Masque In Honour Of Chastity (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Globe), Kenny Morgan (Arcola, London).

Lucy co-founded The Print Room a new venue in Notting Hill Gate and was artistic director from 2010 - 2012. Shows she directed include: Fabrication, Snake in the Grass, Kingdom of Earth and Uncle Vanya with Iain Glen. She was co-founder and co-artistic director of the gogmagogs (1995 – 2007) a music theatre company comprising seven string players. She directed/devised seven shows with the company which toured through UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Brazil, Australia and the US.

Other credits include: Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, Timon of Athens, As You Like It, The Maid’s Tragedy (Shakespeare’s Globe); The Winter’s Tale, Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar (RSC/ Stratford/London/ New York); Baby Doll, The Night Season (National Theatre/West End); The Graduate, Great Expectations, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Dial M for Murder (West Yorkshire Playhouse/West End/ UK tour); Love From A Stranger , Gaslight (Royal & Derngate/UK tour); The Importance of Being Earnest (West End/UK tour); Fortunes Fool (London’s Old Vic); King Lear (Theatre Royal Bath); The Beggar’s Opera (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); Private Lives, Glass Eels, Comfort Me with Apples (Hampstead); Don’t Look Now (Crucible, Sheffield/Lyric Hammersmith); Tonight at 8.30, Stairs to the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre).

Opera credits include: Gudrun Fier Sang (Copenhagen dry dock), Jenufa (English National Opera); Cheryoumushki 1958 (Lyric Hammersmith); Noyes Fludde, Triptych, Mary of Egypt (Aldeburgh Festival); Pasolini’s Teorema (Maggio Musicale Florence/Munich Biennale/Queen Elizabeth Hall); Mitridate (Wexford Opera Festival).

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