Where — in a musical that not only requires its actors to memorize a script and staging, but also its complex piano part — did the dynamic duo begin? "With the score," said Ryback — confidently — in his dressing room at New World Stages, Murder for Two's current home.
Blumenkrantz interjected: "With a panic!"
With Murder for Two — the new work featuring music by Kinosian, lyrics by Blair and a book by both, which was given its New York premiere this summer as part of Second Stage Theatre's 2013 Uptown Series — the creative team set out to find two multi-talented actor-musicians who had the ability to split their brains into "performer" and "accompanist," yet simultaneously deliver cohesive performances.
"I think there's a certain 'internalization' that Jeff and I both have about music, and that was one of the hurdles that we had to get over — to internalize this music," explained Ryback, who, along with his co-star, are not only performers, but also musicians, composers and writers. "It's different when you sit down and open up a book and play for somebody else, but when you have to kind of create it — in the moment — it becomes a bit of a different animal."
"We share a similar aesthetic for what we like to see and do on stage… I never told you this," Blumenkrantz said to Ryback, "but people — when we were rehearsing in the beginning — would ask, 'How do you like your co-star?' And, I said, 'I love him. The worst thing I could say about him is that he will shut down a process for something he believes in,' which is actually a compliment."
Ryback, with a smile, responded, "I just said that I thought he was very funny!"
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