The musical murder mystery, Murder for Two, runs May 12-June 19, and the puppet-infused family musical The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Story of My Life's Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, plays in the CST Family Series July 13-Aug. 28.
Leading Chicago Shakespeare's commitment to fostering the talents of musical theatre writers is creative producer Rick Boynton, who has been instrumental in developing Murder for Two and The Adventures of Pinocchio, which are premiering on CST's stages after workshops at CST.
Murder for Two creators Joe Kinosian (music and book) and Kellen Blair (lyrics and book) met in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where they are advanced members. The BMI Workshop helped foster many award-winning musical writers, including Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q), Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) and Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line).
Chicago Shakespeare Theater held the first developmental workshop for Murder for Two in May 2010 and has shepherded its creation, leading to its premiere at CST. Staged by CST veteran director David H. Bell, "this Agatha Christie-like whodunit tells the story of a heinous murder, with a twist: one actor investigates the crime, the other plays all 13 suspects, and they both play the piano," according to CST. Murder for Two is presented by special arrangement with Jayson Raitt. (The show was seen in recent regional stagings.)
Commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare, Neil Bartram (music and lyrics) and Brian Hill (book) have created an inventive puppet-infused family musical with The Adventures of Pinocchio, which makes its world premiere at CST. Bartram and Hill earned four Drama Desk Award nominations for The Story of My Life, which appeared on Broadway in 2009. They have collaborated on the musicals Somewhere in the World, The Nightingale and the Rose and Not Wanted on the Voyage. Chicago Shakespeare held developmental workshops for The Adventures of Pinocchio in December 2010 and January 2011, and "will turn its Courtyard Theater stage into a larger-than-life, European-style marionette theatre for the production's world premiere this summer." Based on Carlo Collodi's classic tale of a wooden puppet yearning to be a real boy, the production will be staged by Rachel Rockwell, who returns to Chicago Shakespeare after staging the CST-commissioned world-premiere family musical The Emperor's New Clothes last summer.
Casting and full creative teams will be announced.
Meanwhile, overseas, CST's acclaimed Funk It Up About Nothin', a CST commission by The Q Brothers, opened in a six-week Australian tour Feb. 23. Following the run Down Under, it will make its London debut at Theatre Royal Stratford East beginning April 8.
For information, call the box office at (312) 595-5600 or visit www.chicagoshakes.com.