Murder for Two

Murder for Two

Book and Music by
Joe Kinosian
Book and Lyrics by
Kellen Blair

August 22 – September 2

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Equal parts Agatha Christie, Groucho Marx, and Cole Porter, this hilarious musical whodunit is an affectionate and ingenious homage to the old-fashioned murder mystery. Lavishly praised by the critics during its New York premiere,  this whirlwind 90-minute duet boasts a cast of exactly two: one performer to investigate the crime, the other to play all of the suspects. And of course they both play the piano… Murder for Two: putting the “laughter” back in “manslaughter”!

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Director/Choreographer: Anthony C. Daniel
Music Supervisor: Robbie Cowan
Stage Manager: Kristin M. Herrick*
Assistant Stage Managers: Brian R. Sekinger*, Brian Lynn, Kelsey Koga

Scenic Designer: Vincent Gunn
Lighting Designer: Keith Truax
Costume Designer: Dustin Cross+
Sound Designer: Jill BC Du Boff

Guest Artists:
Marcus: Brandon Lambert*
The Suspects: Kyle Branzel*
U/S for Marcus & The Suspects: Robbie Cowan

*Denotes membership in Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) +Denotes membership in United Scenic Artists

Program Notes

By Wynne DeMille

Everyone is a suspect in this house of eccentric characters.

This musical play is a mixture of classic music, comedy, and Agatha Christie. It combines vaudeville farce, witty writing, and fast paced piano! Murder For Two is considered a musical comedy in Cabaret Theater style, both a wacky and humorous combo of the classic murder mystery and old time musical theater.

Everyone is a suspect in this house of eccentric characters unfazed by the dead body on the floor! But this whodunit comes with a twist, performed by two actors, one who investigates the crime while the other plays all nine suspects and both of whom play the piano! So while stealing turns at the piano, one actor sets out as the police officer, to solve the mystery of the dead man, the other has to tackle a revolving lineup of many varied and outrageous suspects such as Barrette Lewis, a Prima Ballerina; Dr. Griff; and Dahlia Whitney, the victim’s wife, to name a few.

Officer Marcus Moscowicz is a small town policeman with big dreams of making it to the status of detective. One fateful night shots ring out at the surprise birthday party of a Great American Novelist, Arthur Whitney, in a remote New England mansion, and the writer is killed. This sets up the story for this fast, crazy, fun ride through this murder mystery.

The book and music for this unusual and many faceted mystery is by Joe Kinosian and the book and lyrics are by Kellen Blair. The world premiere was at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on July 25, 2013 and a huge success. It was then followed by Broadway Rose Theater Company and 2nd Stage Theater Uptown. Our Barn alum Stephen Schwartz’s son Scott Schwartz was director of the off Broadway production at New World Stages and 2nd Stage Uptown. The play won the Joseph Jefferson Award for best new musical work and in 2013 the Rodgers/Hart Award as well. It was also nominated for two Drama Desk Awards and an Outer Critic Circle award.

This is the first time this play/musical has been presented on our Barn stage. “So hold your breath, brace yourself and prepare for a riotous, insane ride through a murder mystery unlike anything you’ve seen before!”