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.
Siblings: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?
Special skills: 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
Favorite revue: Ain't Misbehavin'
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.
Favorite Tweeters: 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.