Matthew Tavianini and Tiffany Story in The Theatre Group at SBCC’s production of Agatha Christie’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig, directed by Katie Laris. | Credit: Ben Crop

This classic Agatha Christie story has been adapted more times than a three-prong plug, and it’s easy to see why. With a 14-person cast and a juicy locked-room murder mystery to solve, Murder on the Orient Express appeals to directors with unlimited budgets to lavish on multiple stars. 

While that’s perhaps not exactly the situation that Katie Laris enjoys, her upcoming production of the play certainly features many of the best-loved actors in Santa Barbara. Matt Tavianini stars as Hercule Poirot, Christie’s unflappable French detective. Jenna Scanlon plays the unscrupulous nurse Greta Ohlsson, Justin Davanzo is Poirot’s friend and railway executive Monsieur Bouc, and Santa Barbara theater royalty Emma-Jane Huerta (Princess Dragomiroff) and Leesa Beck (Countess Andrenyi) are fittingly cast as aristocrats.

For tickets and information, visit or call the box office at (805) 965-5935. 

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on April 12, 2024. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at


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