Not only did playwright Joe DiPietro commit Murder and get away with it, he actually won an award for doing so.
Okay, okay, full disclosure: The Art of Murder is the title of a play DiPietro penned, and the award is from The Mystery Writers of America. The Best Play honor was announced and bestowed May 4 at the 55th annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards Gala. DiPietro, in Spain with a Spanish production of his musical, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, couldn't attend the gala, so Jonathan Pollard -- attached to the commercial project as co-producer (with George W. George) -- accepted the Poe on DiPietro's behalf.
Thulani Davis' Everybody's Ruby was the other play nominee this year. Previous play winners have included Witness for the Prosecution, Deathtrap, Sleuth and City of Angels.
The Art of Murder was staged March 1999 at New Jersey's American Stage Company. DiPietro is also the author of the familial comedy Over the River and Through the Woods. Upcoming projects include a musical version of Dorris Dorrie's film, "Men," a revised version of the Gershwins' Oh, Kay! (titled They All Laughed), and a concept musical using songs made famous by Elvis Presley.
* This year's Poe Awards had its first-ever Pre-Edgar Awards ceremony, featuring John Astin and a veritable mystery musical and movies "hit parade" entertaining guests while benefitting the Riverside Opera Ensemble's programs for young singers and actors.
Astin presented an extended excerpt from Paul Day Clemens and Ron Magid's Once Upon a Midnight, a dramatization of the life and writings of America's darkest poet and storyteller, Edgar Allan Poe. Best known for the amusingly creepy Gomez Addams on the "Addams Family" TV series, Astin is currently traveling with his first tour of Midnight.
In a salute to Edgar Awards past, the program's song list included pieces from Edgar-winning movies, TV shows and musicals, including "Charade" and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" from the films of the same name and classical musical like "Les Sons et Les Parfums Tournet dans l'air du Soir" by Debussy (featured in "The Usual Suspects").
2000's Edgar nominees include several "Law & Order" episodes, Julie Taymor's "Titus" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and the two aforementioned plays, Davis' Everybody's Ruby and DiPietro's The Art of Murder.
-- By Christine Ehren