PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Murder For Two Composer and Star Joe Kinosian
By Matthew Blank
February 6, 2014
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.
Together with Kellen Blair, Kinosian is the recipient of Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award recognizing the show as the Best New Musical Work following its record-breaking seven-month run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
He is a member of the BMI Workshop (Harrington Award winner), an alum of the Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project, and staff writer for the band Amy Lynn & The Gunshow. As an actor, he appeared in Dirty Blonde at the Hangar Theater, with Emily Skinner.
Full given name:
Joseph Robert Schober Kinosian
Where you were born/where you were raised:
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. Think of the adorable town Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis live in in "Beetlejuice" – Wauwatosa is like that.
What your parents did/do for a living:
My folks own and operate New Berlin Therapies, a clinic that provides physical, occupational, and massage therapy, along with speech pathology, to children and adults. In addition to running the place, my mom is a physical therapist and my dad is a massage therapist.
My sister is a damn rock star, metaphorically, dispersing micro-loans to entrepreneurs who couldn't otherwise get funding to start their businesses. I know... cool, right?
I can play the ukulele and fold a mean fitted sheet.
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Retaining choreography. Takes me forever to absorb steps.
First Broadway show you ever saw:
It wasn't Broadway, but the first show I saw in New York was Bat Boy, which left quite a mark on me. The fact that I've gotten to work with Scott Schwartz (original Bat Boy director) as both writer AND actor in Murder For Two now is something I still haven't quite grasped. Suffice to say it's a real thrill.
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?
Probably Prince of Central Park. It just sounded like a hoot.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Wicked. It's about a little green girl who learns to fly.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
Oh boy. Where does one begin? Here's a few that come to mind: "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" (Show Boat), "Some Other Time" (On the Town), "My Gentle Young Johnny" (Tenderloin), "Something Wonderful" (The King & I).
Hey, those are all ballads! OK I'll add "It's a Fish" from The Apple Tree for something uptempo.
Favorite modern musical:
Caroline, or Change
Favorite classic musical:
The Golden Apple
Your personal performance idols, living or dead:
Harpo Marx, Maurice Chevalier and Cheri Oteri
Who would you cite as your greatest musical influences?
Zez Confrey, Richard Rodgers, Astor Piazzolla, Charles Strouse and Tori Amos
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
Okay, I admit it: I was the guy taking pictures at Gypsy who made Patti LuPone so angry. Patti – apologies.
Most played song on your iPod:
Just checked, and it turns out it's "6'1" by Liz Phair. I stand by that. It's a great song.
Cher. No one – but no one – uses emojis like Cher. If you haven't seen her Twitter account, run, don't walk.
Last book you read:
"Runaway," a collection of stories by Alice Munro. She's like the reincarnation of Chekhov. Jury's still out as to whether or not that's a good thing.
Must-see TV show(s):
"Campus Ladies." It aired for two short seasons in 2006, but it was a gloriously wacky, constantly laugh-out-loud funny comedy. I regularly bemoan the fact that it's not still on.
Last good movie you saw:
I watched "2001: A Space Odyssey" over the holidays. I know, what says Christmas like Keir Dullea unplugging a homicidal computer? Glad tidings!
Some films you consider classics:
So many! But two movies I love that I don't think are popular enough are "Love Me Tonight," starring Maurice Chevalier, which is a stunningly innovative 1932 musical with an unbeatable Rodgers & Hart score, and "I Walked with a Zombie," an entrancing, richly atmospheric, brilliantly written 1943 horror film loosely based on "Jane Eyre."
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
I like Justin Bieber's song "Mistletoe." There, I said it. Oh, and "Project Runway." Yes, that show's still on.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
I love Indian food, so I love that being at New World Stages gives me such close access to Basera (9th Ave. near 50th St.), which is delicious but also has a nice low-key atmosphere. I also enjoy Blue Dog (50th near the C/E stop, west side of 8th Ave.) for cocktails and whatnot.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I do vocal warm-ups in each of the characters' voices and stretch as much as I have patience for (which usually winds up being like five minutes).
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about:
Embarking on three new wildly different musicals with my Murder For Two collaborator Kellen Blair. One is a wacky farce in line with Murder For Two, one is a skewed take on history, and one is a thriller. So excited about all of them.
Worst job you ever had:
When I first moved to NYC, I worked as a production assistant on film shoots. This one horrible day on a film shoot, I crashed a truck, knocked a grip in the head with a pole, and killed the producer's computer (I have no idea how that last one happened – all I did was turn it on!).
BUT one of the featured cast members in that film was Alison Fraser, who I got to meet and chat with, so to quote You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, I guess it wasn't such a bad day after all.