It sounded like it was gonna be silly (and it was). Madcap (yup). Goofy and over-the-top (check, check). And yet, in spite of all this (not my favorite elements in a play or musical), “Murder for Two” is simply irresistible.
If you’re looking for 90 minutes of pure silliness, step right up to the CLO Cabaret show. There’s silly aplenty in “Murder for Two.”
The two-person whodunit musical Murder for Two, which opened Off-Broadway at New World Stages in November 2013, ends its extended run June 29.
One of the highlights of the just-ended theater season in New York was the delightful musical comedy/murder mystery Murder For Two, which opened last summer at the McGinn/Cazale Theater uptown and moved to New World Stages last fall, where it has played to enthusiastic houses ever since (and where it continues through June 29.)
The world of theater is changing, with much of the excitement happening off-Broadway. For those suspicious minds, survey the productions that were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama this year, including The Flick, which was produced at Playwrights Horizons. For those who have had their share of soul-searching sobriety, there is also fun to be had beyond the Great White Way. Consider the killer interactive whodunit musical, Murder for Two. Taking time between grading year-end finals and events during the hectic awards season, composer Joe Kinosian talked with Marcus Scott on choices, crime and collaboration.
MURDER FOR TWO celebrated their 200th performance on Monday night, April 28. Below, Check out a photo of the company and another of Brett Ryback and Jeff Blumenkrantz cutting the cake!
In January I attended an Off-Broadway Alliance panel discussion. Kellen Blair, who wrote the lyrics and book for MURDER FOR TWO, was on the panel. After hearing him talk about the process of his new musical that he wrote with Joe Kinosian, I decided to check it out at New World Stages. The show was clever, funny and exciting. After tweeting my review out, Kellen responded and I asked if he would be open to doing an interview. We met and chatted for over an hour. If I had not had a show to go to, I believe we could have talked for days!
Peter Filichia, James Marino and Michael Portantiere talk with Joe Kinosian & Kellen Blair, the writers of the new musical, Murder for Two. We review Bronx Bombers, Dinner with Friends, Jonathan Groff in concert, Michael Feinstein with Laura Osnes and Julian Ovenden Carnegie Hall, Carousel @ NYU, plus some news.
Just yesterday, Barnes & Noble celebrated the release of the new Ghostlight Records cast recording Murder for Two with a special in-store performance and CD signing Hosted by Murder for Two creators Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, the special event featured performances by original cast members Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback.
From writers Jose Kinosian and Kellen Blair comes MURDER FOR TWO. The musical centers on the adventures of a small town policeman, Officer Marcus Moscowicz, who dreams of one day becoming a detective.
A spooky mansion filled with suspicious characters, a freshly murdered corpse and dogged but flawed detective. The plot of this musical may initially seem to be straight out of either an Agatha Christie novel or a game of Cluedo, but neither of these comparisons last for long once this cast recording gets underway.
Having just turned 30 last fall and about the same time hit his 10th anniversary as New Yorker, the busy musical theater composer, writer and actor Joe Kinosian should feel a satisfying sense of arrival.
Joe Kinosian, who contributed book and music to Off-Broadway’s Murder For Two, recently joined the cast in the role of The Suspects. He fills out Playbill.com’s questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Actor/singer/writer/composer/pianist: Joe Kinosian is a man of many parts. And in Murder for Two, the hit Off-Broadway musical comedy whodunit he co-authored with Kellen Blair and in which he now appears, he takes on many, many more, playing every suspect in the murder investigation.
The people behind Murder For Two don’t want you to take the show too seriously.
First of all, knowing this will be read by actors, we wanted to start off by saying sorry. Not because you’re an actor—we think that part is great! We wanted to apologize for writing a show with 14 characters played by only two performers. By our count, that means 12 of you don’t have a job right now because of us. And it gets worse! Let’s say we start playing regionally: times that 12 by X number of regional productions and pretty soon we’ll have hundreds of unemployed actors on our consciences. Again, we’re very, very sorry. But before you consider murdering us at a surprise birthday party—on a related note, go see our show “Murder For Two,” currently running at New World Stages—try to see things from our perspective. Try to understand where we were exactly five years ago.
A large piano dominates the stage, which the duo often play together. Hands crisscross the keyboard at high speed, offering ample musical delights. This whodunit, directed by Scott Schwartz, is proof positive that clever writing and excellent actors are all that is needed to captivate an audience. There’s chemistry between Blumenkrantz and Ryback, two super-charged actors blessed with energy and talent. The props are few, but the entertainment value is high.
Producers Jayson Raitt, Barbara Whitman, Steven Chaikelson and Second Stage Theatre announced Nov. 5 that Murder for Two, the two-person whodunit musical starring Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback, has been given a 10-week extension prior to its Nov. 6 opening night at New World Stages.
If you missed the new musical Murder For Two during its sold-out summer run at Second Stage Uptown, there’s good news: The show will transfer to New World Stages for a 10-week off-Broadway engagement. Scott Schwartz’s production, starring Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback, will begin previews on October 23, with opening night set for November 6 and closing on January 5, 2014.
Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair’s score is a silly-clever throwback to 1950s novelty cabaret, and director Scott Schwartz milks the show for every drop of tomfoolery: vaudeville bits, sound effects, meta winks, audience participation. Like many a lark, Murder for Two takes time to get off the ground. But after flapping its wings for a couple of scenes, it wins you over with droll writing and winsome performances. Along with acting and singing, Ryback and Blumenkrantz also accompany each other on piano; if you like your show-business men hardworking, you may end up smitten.
Was the killer Dahlia, the deceased’s wife, a Southern belle who resented her husband for ending her glamorous stage career? Or Barrette Lewis, the celebrated ballerina who was seeing him on the sly? Or the psychiatrist Dr. Griff, who seemed to be treating just about everyone in the room at the time of the murder? It couldn’t possibly be a member of that boys’ choir on hand for Arthur’s birthday party, now could it? Then again, they’re a tough little bunch.