Second Stage Uptown Plans Premiere of The Tutors and NYC Bow of Musical Murder for Two

By Kenneth Jones
February 25, 2013

The Second Stage Theatre Uptown Series this spring and summer will feature the world premiere of Erica Lipez's The Tutors and the New York premiere of the musical Murder for Two, a hit in Chicago.



This is Second Stage Theatre's 11th annual summer uptown series, devoted to emerging voices. Both plays will be presented at Second Stage Theatre's uptown home, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on Broadway at 76th Street.

The Tutors, directed by Thomas Kail (In the Heights, Lombardi, Broke-ology), will run May 22-June 16, with an opening night set for June 5. Murder For Two, with book and music by Joe Kinosian and book and lyrics by Kellen Blair, will run July 10-Aug. 10, with an opening night set for July 25.

Casting and additional creative-team members will be announced later.

Second Stage Theatre Uptown Series is overseen by curator and associate artistic director Christopher Burney. The series "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. Lead funding for Second Stage Uptown Series is provided by the Time Warner Foundation."

Here's the 2013 Second Stage Uptown Series at a glance:

The Tutors
World premiere
Written by Erica Lipez
Directed by Thomas Kail
Previews begin May 22
Opening Night is June 5

"Joe and Toby, along with the many other residents of New York City who work a job in order to do something else, tutor high school students, while Heidi anonymously helps write college admissions essays online. Together, they run a friendship-finding website from their apartment, except that their work with students starts to invade their lives and, in Heidi's case, her subconscious. The Tutors tests what people who are so plugged into the digital world and online friendship do when confronted by the real thing."

Lipez received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is the recipient of a Dramatists Guild Fellowship and has participated in both the Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights' Workshop and the Theater Masters National MFA Playwrights' Festival. Her plays have been developed and produced at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Summer Cabaret, and Attic Theater Company. She currently writes on the USA series "Suits." She is a native of Maine and a graduate of Harvard University.

Murder for Two, A new musical comedy
New York Premiere
Book and Music by Joe Kinosian
Book and Lyrics by Kellen Blair
Previews begin July 10
Opening Night is July 25

"A unique take on the murder mystery in which one actor plays the detective, one actor plays all the suspects and they both play the piano. Murder for Two is about a great American novelist Arthur Whitney has been shot at his surprise birthday party. Officer Marcus, who longs to shed his shoddy reputation and finally become a detective, is thrown into a zany drawing room where the list of suspects reads like a who's who of crazy, from a wife who seems more concerned about who stole the ice cream than who murdered her husband, to a 12-member boys choir that is nine members short. It's a hysterical and wild musical whodunit!"

Kinosian (book and music) is a composer, writer, actor and pianist based out of New York. As a piano-playing actor, he's appeared alongside Emily Skinner in Dirty Blonde (Hangar Theatre) and in Bitch!: The Autobiography of Lady May Lawford (FringeNYC). As a composer with lyricist Kellen Blair, he's had work produced by TheatreWorks USA (Pirates Don't Change Diapers) and Lincoln Center's Holiday Songbook, as well as productions of Murder for Two at the Adirondack Theatre Festival and the Hangar Theatre. Joe received the 2009 Jerry Harrington Award for outstanding creative achievement from the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, of which he is a proud member.

Blair (book and lyrics) has written lyrics for the shows Cain and Abel: The Naked Truth, The Ransom of Red Chief (both produced in concert format at the Colony Theatre in Burbank), Pirates Don't Change Diapers (Theatreworks USA), the film "Famous Last Words" (produced by Mental Floss Magazine) and a variety of songs that have been featured at Lincoln Center, the Public Theater and BMI's semi-annual "Smoker." He studied lyric writing at the Academy for New Musical Theatre, is an advanced member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and is a participant in the 2010 Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project. He is working on several new projects with composer Joe Kinosian.

Single tickets for The Tutors are $25; Murder For Two tickets are $30. Tickets for both shows can be purchased by calling the Second Stage Theatre Box Office, by calling (212) 246-4422 or online at 2ST.com.