Murder for Two Is Solved Off-Broadway; Murder Mystery, With Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback, Opens July 25

By Michael Gioia
25 Jul 2013

Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback
Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback
Photo by Joan Marcus

Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback star as suspects and detective, respectively, in the two-person whodunit musical Murder for Two, which officially opens July 25 as the final production in Second Stage Theatre's 2013 Uptown Series. 

The New York premiere of the musical comedy, featuring music by Joe Kinosian, lyrics by Kellen Blair and a book by Kinosian and Blair, is directed by Scott Schwartz (Golda's Balcony, Jane Eyre). Previews began July 10.

Blumenkrantz (Into the Woods, Threepenny Opera, Damn Yankees, How to Succeed…, A Class Act) plays a multitude of characters — all suspects — alongside the up-and-coming detective Marcus, played by Ryback (The History Boys at Ahmanson, The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Mark Taper Forum), in the limited engagement, which was recently extended through Aug. 17.

The duo not only star as all of the characters in the one-act musical, but also act as the orchestra — accompanying themselves and each other on the piano set center stage at Second Stage's uptown home, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on Broadway at 76th Street.



Here's how the musical is billed: "Mixing classic musical comedy with a dash of Agatha Christie, everyone is a suspect in this house of eccentric characters unfazed by the dead body on the floor. But this whodunit comes with a killer twist: one actor investigates the crime (Ryback), the other plays all thirteen suspects (Blumenkrantz), and they both play the piano! This madcap mystery will tickle the ivories and your funny bone."

Kinosian and Blair are the recipients of the 2011 Joseph Jefferson Award, recognizing Murder for Two as the Best New Musical Work in Chicago following its seven-month run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Prior to Chicago, developmental productions took place at the Adirondack Theater Festival, the Hangar Theater and 42nd Street Moon. Their work has been showcased recently at the York Theater's 2012 NEO Concert, The Kennedy Center's Broadway Today and Tomorrow series, The Kauffman Center's Bound for Broadway concert and a November 2012 New York Theatre Barn Concert. Past work includes Pirates Don't Change Diapers for TheatreWorks USA.

Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Beowulf Boritt, costume designer Andrea Lauer, lighting designer Jason Lyons and sound designer Jill BC DuBoff.

Created as a program to help develop and provide exposure for the voices of a new generation of theatre artists, the Second Stage Theatre Uptown Series (Christopher Burney, curator and associate artistic director) seeks to "develop the skills of emerging playwrights, to provide early-career artists with the support of a major artistic institution, and to create new plays for the American Theatre. Each show has a limited rehearsal period, as well as a streamlined budget."

For more information, visit 2ST.com.