One of the most successful and beloved writer of mystery stories, Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie was born in 1890 in Torquay, County Devon, England. She wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920, launching a literary career that spanned decades. In her lifetime, she authored 79 crime novels and a short story collection, 19 plays, and six novels written under the name of Mary Westmacott. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language with another billion in 44 foreign languages.
Noted for clever and surprising twists of plot, many of Christie’s mysteries feature two unconventional fictional detectives named Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Poirot, in particular, plays the hero of many of her works. Over the years, her travels took her to the Middle East where she met noted English archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan. They married in 1930. Christie accompanied Mallowan on annual expeditions to Iraq and Syria, which served as material for Murder in Mesopotamia (1930), Death on the Nile (1937), and Appointment with Death (1938). Christie’s credits also include the plays, The Mousetrap and Witness for the Prosecution (1953; film 1957). Christie was also named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1971. Christie died in 1976.
Black Coffee Plot Summary
An urgent call from physicist Sir Claud Amory sends famed detective Hercule Poirot and his friend Arthur Hastings rushing from London to a sprawling country estate. Sir Claud fears a member of his own household wants to steal a secret formula destined for the Ministry of Defense. But Poirot arrives too late. The formula is missing. Worse, Sir Claud has been poisoned by his after-dinner coffee. Poirot soon identifies a potent brew of despair, treachery, and deception amid the mansion’s occupants. Now he must find the formula and deduce which of Sir Claud’s house guests/family members is the killer.
Location: University of St. Thomas/Jones Hall
Houston, Texas 77006-4626
8:00 pm, Friday, July 18
8:00 pm, Saturday, July 19 (Benefits the Sisters at the Cenacle Retreat House)
2:00 pm, Sunday, July 20
8:00 pm, Friday, July 25
8:00 pm, Saturday, July 26
2:00 pm, Sunday, July 27
Unless otherwise indicated all net proceeds benefit the scholarship programs for drama and the performing arts at the University of St. Thomas.
Executive Producer: Louis Provenzano
Directed by: John Hounihan
Stage Manager: Mary Donna Moceri
Technical Director/Lights/Sound/Projections: Craig Trauschke
Hercule Poirot: Louis Provenzano
Sir Claud Amory: Richard Sims
Miss Caroline Amory/Sir Claud Amory’s Sister: Silvia Armendariz
Richard Amory/Sir Claud’s Son: John Hounihan
Lucia Amory/Richard’s Wife Sarah Dyer
Barbara Amory/Sir Claud’s Niece: Candi Rae Boehme
Dr. Carelli: Fully Fry
Edward Raynor/Sir Claud’s Secretary: Tim Taylor
Tredwell/The Butler: Ron Drumm
Captain Arthur Hastings: Mason
Dr. Graham: Sue Beth Fry
Johnson/A Constable: Ron Drumm
Inspector Japp: Mary Donna Moceri
Louis Provenzano – Hercule Poirot/Executive Producer. Louis has been involved with various community theatre organizations for the last 20 years and has written, directed, and acted in many local theatre productions. His list of favorite characters include: Willy Loman (Death of a Salesman), Dr. Carelli (Black Coffee), Bob Cratchit (A Christmas Carol), Ernie Cusak (Rumors), and St. Paul (The Conversion of St. Paul). Louis would like to thank John, the director of Black Coffee, for his dedication and hard work and the cast and crew for their outstanding contributions to this show.
Louis received two of his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of St. Thomas and is honored to support scholarship programs for the performing arts on campus through his participation in this production.
Louis is married and is an ordained Deacon in the Catholic Church.
John Hounihan – Richard Amory/Director. John is thrilled to make his community theatre directorial debut with a talented cast of veterans. John was recently seen in the HTG production of the John Steinbeck classic “Of Mice and Men.”A long time actor and director of high school and college club theater, he can’t wait to make the transition with such a wonderful opportunity. Favorite past roles include Elwood Dowd in Harvey and C.C. Showers in the Divines. Thanks to the cast and crew for welcoming him as director to this production of Agatha Christie’s classic “Black Coffee” and his parents for their support of his love for the stage.
Fulton Fry – Dr. Carelli. Fully has been doing community theater since 1996. Working with Louis, Ron, Tim and Candi again is a true pleasure, as is meeting all the other talented members of this cast. Fully was last seen as Lenny Small in the John Steinbeck classic “Of Mice and Men.”
I am never comfortable dedicating performances to people I love, because..what if I am terrible.
Candi Rae Boehme – Barbara. Candi calls Pasadena Little Theatre home. There she has worked in ten plays, several in which she acted and was assistant stage manager. Candi has been seen most recently as Glad Hand in Westside Story and as Mrs. Webb in the HTG production of Our Town. Before this she performed in Our Little Town of Christmas, Light up the Sky, Getting Sarah Married, And then there were None, Murder in Bloom, and the Young Man from Atlanta.
Her most favorite role to date was Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday. It was a great role and she had a blast becoming this blonde bomb-shell that believed she was not smart and proved everyone wrong. She would also like to thank the amazing cast and crew assembled for “Black Coffee” for their dedication and hard work on this great theatre production.
Mary Donna Morceri – Inspector Japp/Stage Manager/Box Office. Mary is pleased to make her first community theatre appearance in this production of “Black Coffee.” Mary would like to thank her husband for his support of her decision to revive her acting career. Thanks to John our director for his support and guidance.
Mary Donna is a member of the Houston Northwest Delta Gamma Alumnae Chapter, Vice President of Programs, Team Captain of the MDA 2014 Sprint for Life Walk benefitting ovarian cancer, 2014 Judge Ken Wise Campaign, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, 2014 Premium Seating Committee and 2010-2012 Directions and Assistance Committee.
Timothy Taylor – Mr. Raynor. Tim has acted in several productions at different venues over the years. These include A Few Good Men, American Sunset (Mr. Upton), The Taming of the Shrew (Curtis, servant to Petruchio), Lady Windemere’s Fan (Mr. Dumby), And Then There Were None (Captain Philip Lombard ), Getting Sarah Married (Noogie), Light Up The Sky (Tyler Rayburn), The Little Town of Christmas (Narrator) and West Side Story (Detective Schrank).
Tim’s favorite role to date was as Harry Brock, the crooked “self-made”millionaire junk man, in Born Yesterday. He has been seen locally in the majority of these productions at Pasadena Little Theatre. Tim is honored to work with such a great group of people in a very special production of this classic Agatha Christie play at the University of St. Thomas.
Mason Burrus – Captain Hastings – Mason has appeared in various productions at the University of St. Thomas. This is his first show with Houston Theatre Group. Mason is a full time student at the University of St. Thomas and is a Drama major. He would like to thank the cast of Black Coffee for this wonderful opportunity.
Sue Beth Fry – Dr. Graham – Community theater actors create “bucket-lists” early, but they out age their dream roles quickly. Many of mine fell off the list long ago: Stella, Maggie the Cat, St. Joan and Juliet to name a few. How happy I am to mark off Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee, actually the role of Dr. Graham wasn’t what I had in mind…Oh well there’s always Baby Jane if a stage production comes along.
Sylvia Armendáriz – Claudia Amory – Sylvia is currently an about-to-graduate-soon-I-hope Senior in Drama at the University of St. Thomas. While at UST, she’s had roles in Enchanted April (Mrs. Graves), The Velveteen Rabbit (Nanny), Little Women – The Broadway Musical (Aunt March), Spoon River Anthology (Multiple Characters). She was Costume Mistress for UST’s recent production of The Miracle Worker. She also studied at the UH School of Theatre. She’s performed in over a dozen Houston Community College Central Drama Department’s productions (plays and musicals) and also has some on screen credits.
I’m delighted to be working with the wonderful company of HTG and especially appreciate their sharing the proceeds with other non-profits including the UST Drama Department. I may have been a recipient of some of that scholarship money.
Sarah Dyer – Lucia Amory – Sarah is a recent graduate of the University of Houston, where she acted, directed, and produced for a student theatre group. This will be her first performance with HTG, and she is very excited to work with such a talented group.
Ron Drumm – Butler/Johnson – Ron is a Houston native who graduated from Deer Park Senior High in 1967. He attended San Jacinto College and went on to California State College at Los Angeles. He has been performing onstage since the age of 13. He lived and performed in San Francisco from 1976 through 1996. He returned to Houston where he returned to the stage at Pasadena Little Theatre and makes his third appearance with us in Black Coffee. “I love being able to continue to do what is a passion for me at the age of 65.”
Craig Trauschke – Lighting and Sound – Craig has been doing lighting and sound design for numerous theatre companies in the Houston area. He is proud to bring his technical expertise to this production of the Agatha Christie classic “Black Coffee.”