Strictly Murder

This crackerjack murder mystery hails from the prolific English playwright/screenwriter/producer Brian Clemens. “Strictly Murder” is set in 1939 in Provence, France, where an English couple, Peter and Suzy, are living in idyllic isolation, far from the rumblings of the coming war. Their peace is shattered when Suzy discovers she’s been betrayed: Peter is not the man he claims to be, and in fact may be a ruthless killer on the run. When a Scotland Yard detective arrives, events become even more complicated and frightening in this dark and disturbing roller coaster of bluff … and double bluff.

by Brian Clemens
Director – Mary Powers
March 7 – 24, 2024


MATTHEW CONLON (Ross) acted at HTC twice last year, playing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play and John D’Agata in The Lifespan of a Fact. He also appeared in The Crucible at Bay Street Theater last November. In 2019 he starred in three HTC productions: as Sherlock in Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Victor in Private Lives, and Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, the company’s first musical. This is his 17th HTC production. NYC: HB Playwrights: The Game of Love and Death (w/ Herbert Berghof); Freud’s Last Session (w/ Fritz Weaver); Sonnet Rep: The Tempest; EST: The Traveling Lady (Drama Desk nomination – Best Play); LaMama: A Human Equation. REGIONAL: Patchogue: The Diary of Anne Frank; Penobscot: To Kill a Mockingbird; Bay Street: Men’s Lives; Cleveland PlayHouse: The Importance of Being Earnest; O’Neill: Fuddy Meers; StageWest: Suddenly Last Summer (w/ Kim Hunter); Mendelssohn: Oedipus Rex. Film: The Redeemer; Fire Island; Sweet Lorraine. TV: Distemper; Law & Order(s); One Life to Live. Upcoming: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at HTC in late May/June, and As You Like It at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island in late July.

SCOTT HOFER (Josef) is thrilled to be back at HTC with Mary and this wonderful cast and crew. He last appeared as the donut-loving Norman in HTC’s 2018 production of The Boys Next Door. Previously he appeared at the John Drew in Run For Your Wife, Lend Me a Tenor, Barrymore and Greater Tuna, and was director for Lips Together, Teeth Apart. As an actor he has appeared in A Christmas Carol, Our Town, I Hate Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, Lombardi, Hairspray, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Beauty & the Beast, Sideman, True West, Art, The Lisbon Traviata, Fully Committed, Torch Song Trilogy, Gemini, Cuckoo’s Nest, Social Security, Other People’s Money, The Foreigner, Flora the Red Menace, Fiddler on The Roof, Fools, Forum, The Rink, Greetings, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare-abridged. As a director: Breaking Legs, Torch Song, Sly Fox, Ruthless, Psycho Beach Party, Steel Magnolias, Red Scare on Sunset, The Lady in Question, Last Night at Ballyhoo, and The Dixie Swim Club. He appears as Sam in the movie Night for Day. He also appears in The Night Never Sleeps starring Eric Roberts, Armand Assante and Robert Clohessy, and in The Nomad. Next up he’ll play Max in The Producers at Theatre Three in May/June, and Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Vanderbilt Museum in July.

CATHERINE MALONEY (Miriam Miller) is very happy to be performing once again on HTC’s stage. Most recently she portrayed Emma in 2022’s Over the River and Through the Woods, and played several roles in 2023’s A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play. Previous HTC credits: Kate in Sylvia, Maria in A Comedy of Tenors, Mrs. Fremus/Mrs. Warren/Clara in The Boys Next Door, Gert in Lost in Yonkers, Betty Chumley in Harvey, and Emilie Ducatel in My Three Angels. Other favorite theatrical credits: Big Momma in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Rosemary Muldoon in Outside Mullingar, Becky in Becky’s New Car, Truvy in Steel Magnolias, Masha in Three Sisters, Kate Keller in All My Sons, Melissa in Love Letters, Mildred Murphy/Katie in Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Musical Play, Bertha in Boeing Boeing, Veronica in God of Carnage, diverse roles in Love, Loss and What I Wore, and Kathleen in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Catherine would like to thank her director Mary for this opportunity, as well as her wonderful cast mates and HTC’s always-supportive audiences! Much love to her friends, family and JP.

DAYNE RASMUSSEN (Peter Meredith) is delighted to return to the stage with the company of Strictly Murder. Dayne has appeared across Long Island in theatre and film productions, including Cyrano de Bergerac (Christian De Neuvillette), which was performed at Suffolk County Community College and at the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium; Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) at the Long Island Shakespeare Festival; Twelve Angry Men (Juror 7), Royal Productions, Ltd.; Journey (Jesus) at Creative Ministries; and the eponymous role of Dracula at the Patchogue Center for the Performing Arts. Dayne has studied with Ron Peretti at the Barrow Group, and with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company. This is Dayne’s first production with the Hampton Theatre Company. He is grateful for his wonderfully talented director, castmates and crew, and for the constant love and support of his family and friends. Dayne not only dedicates this performance to his loving
Momma, but to all those who still fight to pursue their dreams. Keep going!

ASHLEY UNDERWOOD (Suzy Hinchcliffe) is excited to be playing the role of Suzy and to be joining her first production at Hampton Theatre Company. Her favorite roles have included Portia in Julius Caesar, Rosalind in As You Like It, and Mrs. Elton in Emma. A native of Utah, she received her BFA from Utah State University before moving to New York to receive her MFA from The New School. Ashley would like to thank her husband Jon for his support and enthusiasm as she returns to theater.

MARY POWERS (Director) has worked extensively as a director and as a producer for 30 years. Some favorite productions include Vincent, Steel Magnolias, Respect, Don’t Dress for Dinner, Lost in Yonkers, I Am My Own Wife, Greater Tuna, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Lend Me a Tenor, Run For Your Wife, Barrymore, I Hate Hamlet, Nunsense, Little Shop of Horrors, Beehive and Hamlet. Locally she has directed at Theatre Three, Patchogue Theatre and Guild Hall. She worked as assistant director for Bay Street Theatre’s Gross Points, starring Alec Baldwin, and as assistant director for Julie Andrews on The Boyfriend. She is involved with Arts in Education projects, having worked with local high schools, Guild Hall, the Children’s Museum of the East End, and Bay Street Theater’s Young Playwrights. After a 34-year hiatus, she is happy to rejoin old friends at HTC, where she once served as a board member and met her husband.

BRIAN CLEMENS (Playwright) was a prolific English writer and producer whose career in television, film and the theater spanned six decades. Perhaps best-known for his creative contributions to the long-running British TV series The Avengers (and for casting Diana Rigg in the show), Clemens enjoyed international success with TV series like Remington Steele, Diagnosis: Murder and Highlander: The Series. Among the many films he contributed to as a writer and/or producer are See No Evil, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The Watcher in the Woods and Highlander 2: The Quickening; notable theater productions include Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, All About Murder, Inside Job and Murder Hunt. Clemens counted Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) among his ancestors, naming one of his sons Samuel in honor of the legendary writer.

LAURIE ATLAS (Production Stage Manager) is thrilled to be a part of this production. Last year she acted onstage at HTC as Emily Penrose in The Life-span of a Fact, and before that she played Abby Binder in 2022’s Ripcord. She holds a BA in Theatre and has been a member of SAG-AFTRA for over 40 years. She has worked in radio, film, as a voiceover artist, plus onstage and behind the scenes in broadcasting and theatre. She would like to express her thanks and gratitude to the entire Hampton Theatre Company family, alongside whom she is so proud to work. Congratulations to Mary and her talented cast and crew on a wonderful production. Love always to her husband Fred, daughter Jamie, and her family and friends for their unwavering support.

NICHOLAS AULETTI (Rehearsal Stage Manager/Lighting/Sound) is an actor, director, playwright, and stage manager from East Quogue, NY, who graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Lycoming College. Corchaug Repertory Theatre recently premiered his play Over and Under the Wings of Vultures in their One-Act Festival Series. Nick was last seen in Northeast Stage’s Macbeth as Macduff. He is ecstatic to be a part of his first Hampton Theatre Company production! Nick is grateful for the friendly cast and crew guiding him throughout this process. He would also like to thank his friends, family, and Esme for all their support.

MEG SEXTON (Sound Design) is thrilled to be working on her eighth production with Hampton Theatre Company. Other productions with this company include Native Gardens, Ripcord, A Doll’s House Part 2, Over the River and Through the Woods, The Lifespan of a Fact, The Portuguese Kid, and Rose and Walsh. Meg has previously worked as the Education Manager at Bay Street Theater as well as the Grants Manager & Marketing Coordinator at Patchogue Theatre. Currently, she is the Director of Marketing at The Suffolk.

TERESA LEBRUN (Costume Designer) is the resident costumer for HTC. She began helping with costumes in 1986 and has designed the costumes for the company’s productions since 2005. Teresa has also costumed for Westhampton Beach High School. Much love to her sons, Josh and Noah, family and great friends.

JULIA MORGAN ABRAMS (House Manager). After retiring from the legal department of Bristol Myers Squibb, Julia began a second career as a volunteer, initially for Literacy Suffolk, HTC, the Southampton Animal Shelter and Early Girl Farm, where she wrote grants and worked in fundraising. She continues to write grants and help with marketing for several local nonprofits. Julia would like to thank all of her dedicated House Assistants for their continued support.
Director – MARY POWERS


Set Design – MEG SEXTON


Costume Design – TERESA LEBRUN

Rehearsal Stage Manager – NICHOLAS AULETTI

Production Stage Manager – LAURIE ATLAS

Tech Director – RICKY BOTTENUS

Sound Design – MEG SEXTON





Review: Sold Out Opening Night of “Strictly Murder” Gets Huge Standing Ovation

T.J. Clemente –
The surprise ending of the Hampton Theatre Company’s Production of “Strictly Murder” propelled the opening Saturday night audience to rise as one to give a standing ovation. “Strictly Murder,” written by Brian Clemens, will run at the Quogue Community Hall until March 24th. Directed by Mary Powers, this Hampton Theatre Company’s production of “Strictly Murder” is a winner. Andrew Botsford and Roger Morley produce this show. Hampton Theatre Company House Manager Julia Morgan Abrams gracefully handled the seating once again.

This show takes place in a rustic cottage in a valley in Provence, France in 1939 and both resident Set Designers/Builders Ricky Bottenus and Meg Sexton have constructed a wonderful set. Their attention to period detail enhances the atmosphere and reality of this show. “Strictly Murder” is a show that draws you in from the first lines and keeps you thinking and wondering right up to the surprise ending. The audience was as quiet as one can be as everyone was thinking what might happen next. One could tell the audience’s enjoyment by the applause after every scene. Once again, the Hampton Theatre Company has put together a fine show that entertained the audience. This show is one fine night of local East End Theater worth buying a ticket and attending.

The talent of Dayne Rasmussen was showcased wonderfully by Director Mary Powers. His portrayal of Peter Meredith added an energy that carried the show. Mr. Rasmussen connected with the audience. His complex character was a challenge he mastered. Matthew Conlon was “doubly” good in his role as Ross. Mr. Conlon is always at home on the stage at Quogue Community Hall. He is a Hampton Theatre Company stalwart and favorite.

Ashley Underwood starred as Suzy Hinchcliffe. She carried the show with her simple, elegant presence throughout the production. Ms. Hinchcliffe distinct skill set was always on display as she glided around the stage clearly delivering her lines. The audience enjoyed Scott Hofer as Josef. Mr. Hofer showed his range as an actor in this complex role. His magical stage presence was obvious in every scene he was in.

Catherine Maloney, another Hampton Theatre Company favorite, dazzled playing the role of Miriam Miller. Ms. Maloney was spot on with distinct movements and gestures attuned to the role.

Accolades to Director Mary Powers because her cast is a cohesive team. The show flowed and had a certain energy level that never dropped or stopped; instead, it just kept building for the surprise ending.

Teresa Lebrun does a great job putting the cast in period costumes. Sebastian Paczynski’s lighting design adds pizazz at just the right moments, as do the fade-ins and outs. Congratulations to Nicholas Auletti for his lighting/tech work during the show and to Tech Director Ricky Bottenus. The Production Stage Manager is Laurie Atlas, and a shout-out must go to Meg Sexton for the instrumental sound magic.

This is The Hampton Theatre Company’s 39th season and is dedicated to Quogue residents and longtime supporters Don and Judy Gruhn.

Review: STRICTLY MURDER at Hampton Theatre Company

The production runs through March 24th.
By: Melissa GiordanoMar. 16, 2024

The Hampton Theatre Company (HTC) does it again with a great production of Brian Clemens’ Strictly Murder. This is one of the last shows created by the prolific British playwright and – in true to HTC form – thrills the audience with a title that seems to be not often done. The gripping play is excellently directed by Mary Powers and runs through March 24th at the adorable Quogue Community Hall in Quogue on the east end of Long Island.

The suspenseful tale, set in 1939, follows Peter and Suzy, portrayed by Dayne Rasmussen and Ashley Underwood, a British couple living in Provence, France trying to escape the war. Their lives are upended when Suzy discovers Peter is not who she thinks he is. Indeed, plot twists abound in this story.

Ms. Underwood and Mr. Rasmussen, both in their HTC debuts, are excellent in their respective roles. Also in the extraordinary ensemble cast is Scott Hofer charmingly providing the comic relief as Josef. Fan favorite and east end regular Matthew Conlon is also a highlight as Ross in a gripping performance. Catherine Maloney, another brilliant HTC vet, portrays Miriam Miller, an investigator. Indeed, the entire company is thrilling and moves the show effortlessly.

On Ms. Powers’ clever creative team, Meg Sexton’s set is well done. The tale takes place entirely in the cottage Suzy and Peter share. A large couch and furnishings make up the living room, a table and cabinet are a dining area to the side, and an island and counters and sink make up the kitchen upstage. This is elevated by Sebastian Paczynski’s atmospheric lighting making for a visually stunning production.

And so, Brian Clemens’ Strictly Murder is indeed another hit heading into the home stretch of Hampton Theatre Company’s current (39th!) season. They end their exciting season in May with Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum which is so exciting and a spectacular way to end the season. An excellent cast and gripping story make for a moving night of theatre.
Sunrise Highway (Route 27) to exit 64S (Rte. 104 to Quogue). Rte. 104 South (approx. 3 miles) to Montauk Highway (Rte. 80). Right onto Montauk Highway to light at Otis Ford (1 mile). Left onto Jessup Avenue. 1/2 mile to theater (on right). FROM MONTAUK HIGHWAY (ROUTE-80):
Montauk Highway to light at Otis Ford in Quogue. South onto Jessup Avenue. 1/2 mile to theater (on right).
PARKING: There is limited street parking around the theater as well as a parking lot that can be entered just north of the Quogue Community Hall. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: A handicapped accessible entrance is located on the right (north) side of the building. Please use the driveway on the north side of the theater and ring the bell marked HTC Handicapped at the ramp entrance to the building and a volunteer will assist you; or have a member of your party notify us on arrival at the box office if you’d like to use this entrance. If a member of your party requires a wheelchair in the theater, please reserve one seat at the end of a row. ASSISTED LISTENING DEVICES: The theater does not have assisted listening devices at this time.

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