A murdered woman of mystery, who may or may not lie so easy in the grave. A detective obsessed with the memory of someone he never met. A philandering fiancee and a set of acid-tongued, duplicitous friends that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst frenemy. When Hollywood began producing its great run of film noir classics in the 1940s, Vera Caspary’s novel Laura was ready and made to order; forming the foundation of an Otto Preminger production that boasted the otherworldly beauty of Gene Tierney, the square-jawed stoicism of Dana Andrews, the suave snake-oil of Clifton Webb and Vincent Price, plus a haunting title theme for the ages — the stuff that movieland’s darkest dreams were made of.
Laura was also a stage play, adapted by author Caspary herself in cahoots with George Sklar — and beginning this weekend, the rarely revived drama receives a new airing, courtesy of the Monmouth Players and their incredible-but-true 62nd season as the area’s longest continuously operating theatrical troupe.
Presented on the stage of the Navesink Arts Center — the reborn and rebranded former Navesink Library at Monmouth and Sears Avenues in Middletown — this latest installment in the Players’ “Season of Suspense” slate features Shore area stage stalwarts Jeff Caplan, Kelly Cibrian, Bill Lee and Kevin Huelbig in a production that opens this Saturday, November 7 at 8:15 pm, and continues with performances on November 13, 14, 20 and 21 (all 8:15 pm), as well as November 8, 15 and 22 ( 2 pm matinees). Required reservations ($20; $17 for seniors and students) can be made here or by calling (732)291-2911 — and the Players’ famous spread of homemade desserts will be present at all performances inside the beautifully renovated Arts Center to sweeten the deal.