Adam Phillips is making his return to acting after a 13-year hiatus.
The 33-year-old Carmel resident is coming back with a splash with the role of Danny, a charming killer, in Main Street Productions’ “Night Must Fall” Feb. 9-19 at Basile Westfield Playhouse.
“Night Must Fall,” a psychological thriller, was first performed as a play in 1935. It was made into a movie in 1937 with Robert Montgomery and again with Albert Finney in 1964.
“It’s a dream character when you look at the script,” Phillips said. “It’s an incredible role, so I was thankful to get cast. I read the script a few weeks before auditions and fell in love with the writing. I only auditioned for Danny. My wife and I are having a baby. Our due date is three days after the show ends. When I came to audition, I said, ‘I’m not going to show up for a role I’m not dying to be in.’ So. this was perfect marriage.
“I’ve always been more attracted to (playing) villains. There’s a lot of fun in finding the dark spots of those characters.”
Phillips’ last production was the now-defunct “Biloxi Blues” at Spotlight Players in Beech Grove.
“My wife and I traveled the country for my work, and we just came back to Indy a few years ago,” said Phillips, a software developer and Perry Meridian High School graduate. “We got settled in and it seemed like the right time to get back into it.”
Phillips said the line memorization came along quicker than he expected.
“Being away from it a bit, you feel you are familiar with the territory, but it’s all changed a bit,” he said.
Noblesville resident Ian Hauer is directing for the first time with Main Street Productions. He has his own acting company, The Hyperion Players. Hauer said the script was recommended to him by one of the producers, Jen Otterman.
“I read it and was fascinated by it and applied the last time Westfield was taking applications for directors, and they went with me,” Hauer said. “It’s a strong script. It’s an Agatha Christie-type thriller. It’s a little bit faster paced than something Christie would do. It’s a wonderful building of tension from beginning to end. I’ve encouraged the cast to really sell the tension to the audience.”
Hauer said casting Danny was the toughest decision.
“It creates a lot of talent and a lot of emotional range. You have to hit the notes right,” Hauer said. “Adam does a fantastic job with that. We’re lucky to have him.”
Indianapolis resident Rachel Kelso is making her third appearance with Main Street Productions.
“I had never read the script before the season was announced,” Kelso said. “I always look at the shows putting up and I’ll order some scripts to see if there is a role for me. I ordered the script and fell in love with the character of Olivia. I like that she sticks with her convictions because she has her suspicions, and no one agrees with her. They are all laughing it off, saying, ‘You’re crazy. You’re wrong. He’s charming.’ She is (saying), ‘No, there is a problem here.’ She stands by that, and I admire that quality.”
Kelso said she tries not to look at other portrayals, so not to influence her character choices.
“A lot of times I’ll watch movies, if I haven’t already seen them, after the show is concluded,” she said.
Like Kelso, Phillips said he has avoided watching other portrayals of his character.
“I heard a tiny snippet of Robert Montgomery’s version just to get an idea of the dialect,” he said.
For more, visit westfieldplayhouse.org.