New World Stages Run of Murder for Two, With Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback, Extends Prior to Opening

By Michael Gioia
05 Nov 2013

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

Producers Jayson Raitt, Barbara Whitman, Steven Chaikelson and Second Stage Theatre announced Nov. 5 that Murder for Two, the two-person whodunit musical starring Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback, has been given a 10-week extension prior to its Nov. 6 opening night at New World Stages.

The production, which began performances Oct. 23 at New World's Stage 5, was originally scheduled to play through Jan. 5, 2014. It will now play its final performance March 16, 2014.

Murder for Two, which casts Blumenkrantz and Ryback as suspects and detective, respectively, was seen this summer 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, was directed by Scott Schwartz (Golda's Balcony, Jane Eyre) and opened July 25, following previews that began July 10. The extended engagement played through Aug. 25 at Second Stage's uptown home, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on Broadway at 76th Street. 



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 piece. 

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.

Here's how the musical is billed: "Everyone is a suspect in Murder For Two, a hilarious musical murder mystery with a twist: one actor (Ryback) investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects (Blumenkrantz) and they both play the piano! A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with killer laughs."

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 MurderForTwoMusical.com.