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Back in the Day: The Mousetrap begins its astonishing theatre run

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Back in the Day: The Mousetrap begins its astonishing theatre run


November 25, 1952 The Mousetrap, a murder-mystery play written by Agatha Christie, begins its incredible record-breaking theatre run at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End. As of 2011 and its 59th anniversary, it had almost reached its 25,000th performance. Its debut drew a crowd of around 450 people; since then more than 10 million tickets have been sold. The play switched from the New Ambassadors Theatre to St. Martin’s Theatre, just next door, in 1974, but with the same set and props and with no missed performance, the run remained uninterrupted. As well as the world’s longest running stage play it holds other records: David Raven played character Major Metcalf 4,575 times, while Nancy Seabrooke was an understudy for 15 years and 6,240 ‘performances’. The play’s longevity has almost become self-perpetuating, with audiences attracted by its unique place in theatre history.

Also on November 25: British soldiers complete their withdrawal of the United States (1783); John F. Kennedy is buried in Arlington cemetary, Virginia state (1963); Band Aid charity song Do they know it’s Christmas is recorded in London (1984); Czechoslovakian MPs vote to dissolve the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia (1992).

Born on November 25: Andrew Carnegie (1835), Karl Benz (1844), Joe DiMaggio (1914), Percy Sledge (1941), Imran Khan (1952).

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