Twenty years ago, he played promising student playwright Clifford Anderson in a traveling dinner theater troupe in New York.
“That's when I first fell in love with the show,” says the Spring Garden Township resident.
Now the student has become the master. Quigley plays Sidney Bruhl, the murderous-minded professor aiming to steal Anderson's play for himself. Sort of.
Laugh it up: The play has “a lot of twists going on,” Quigley says. “The show is a comedy, and there just happen to be a couple of murders in it.”
Playwright Ira Levin's send-up of the murder mystery genre toys with convention; it's a clever farce that garnered a Tony nomination for best play during its run on Broadway.
“There's moments in rehearsal when I go, ‘wow, I love this play,'” Quigley says.
It's a love that endures despite the “mountain” of dialogue he's had to memorize for the lead role.
“My character is very sarcastic and very jaded,” he says. “And sort of doesn't have any morality in a sense.”
Thrills: The dark wit is fun, he says, and the show features plenty of excitement.
“There's a lot of stage combat in the show, a lot of scares for the audience,” Quigley says. “They sit very close in the studio theater, so they'll be right next to us.”
The theater, like the play, is an old friend. A childhood role in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at York College gave Quigley the acting bug, and he immediately followed up with a spot in “Mary Poppins” at York Little Theatre.
“I was 10 years old,” he says. “And now here I am, 36 years later.”
Quigley took a break from the theater in the meantime; his last role with York Little Theatre was as Count Dracula in the musical production of “Dracula” eight years ago. An encouraging nudge from a friend — Lyn Bergdoll, the theater's new executive director — brought him back into the fold.
“It's a homecoming of sorts,” he says.
“Deathtrap,” a comedy thriller by Ira Levin, will run for two weekends at York Little Theatre, 27 S. Belmont St., Spring Garden Township.
Directed by Crystal Ganong, the show features a tight cast of five: Christopher Quigley, Matthew McLaughlin, Marisa Hoover, Chris Koslosky and Wayne Mundis.
Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12 and 17-19 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 13 and 20.
Tickets are $23 for adults, $21 for seniors, $18 for students and $10 for children 12 and under.
For more information, call 854-5715 or visit www.ylt.org.
— Reach Mel Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.