Chicago Shakespeare Theater Premieres
Murder for Two—A Killer Musical
Now playing through October 16, 2011
Featuring Co-Creator Joe Kinosian and
Chicago Favorite Alan Schmuckler
Chicago–May 17, 2011–Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) premieres Murder for Two—A Killer Musical, created by Joe Kinosian (music/book) and Kellen Blair (lyrics/book), now playing through October 16, 2011, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. This comedic Agatha Christie-like whodunit musical comes with a surprising twist: one actor plays the inspector, the other plays all 13 suspects, and both play the piano. Staged by CST veteran director David H. Bell, this 90-minute premiere features the show's co-creator Joe Kinosian playing the slew of hilarious would-be criminals and Chicago favorite Alan Schmuckler performing the role of the inspector. Tickets for Murder for Two—A Killer Musical Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare now through October 16, 2011, are $25–$30, with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Developed at CST under the guidance of Creative Producer Rick Boynton, Murder for Two—A Killer Musical mixes the suspense of an Agatha Christie mystery with old-fashioned musical comedy and a dash of modern panache to tell the tale of an inspector's crime investigation at the home of a recently deceased novelist. Hoping for a promotion to the ranks of detective, the inspector takes on the dangerous task of interrogating the murdered novelist's eccentric relatives and so-called friends (all played by Kinosian)—and discovers that no one is who they appear to be.
Murder for Two—A Killer Musical creators Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair met in the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, where they are advanced members. Kinosian received a Jerry Harrington Award for Creative Excellence from the BMI Foundation in 2009. The BMI workshop has been home to many award-winning musical writers, including Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q), Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), and Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line). Kinosian's recent projects with Blair include two original Christmas songs for Lincoln Center's annual Holiday Songbook in 2009 and 2010, and the 2010 Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project, where their song "You're Mine Until" was selected to be part of a gala concert honoring Stephen Schwartz. As a piano-playing actor, Kinosian has appeared in Dirty Blonde (Hangar Theatre) and Bitch!:The Autobiography of Lady May Lawford (FringeNYC), in addition to arranging the score for the world premiere of Frank Loesser's Of Mice & Manhattan at the Kennedy Center.
Alan Schmuckler, a celebrated Chicago musical theater actor, returns to Chicago Shakespeare after a recent Jeff Award-nominated comedic turn in Sugar at Drury Lane. His acting credits at CST include Much Ado About Nothing, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew. Schmuckler wrote the music and lyrics for last summer's CST Family musical The Emperor's New Clothes, a CST-commissioned adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, and he is also the co-creator of CST's original musical based on Aesop's Fables, How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? The production premiered in 2007 to critical acclaim and has since been produced in Connecticut, Minnesota, Illinois and the National Alliance for Music Theatre's 21st Annual Festival of New Musicals in New York.
Murder for Two—A Killer Musical is staged by CST veteran director David H. Bell, whose credits at Chicago Shakespeare include productions of The Three Musketeers, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It and The Comedy of Errors. Additional CST directing credits include the Short Shakespeare! productions of Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew. Bell's extensive work as a director, choreographer and writer at a host of Chicago theaters has earned him ten Joseph Jefferson Awards. Internationally, he has staged productions in London, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, Vienna and for the Barcelona Olympics. As associate artistic director for Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, Bell directed numerous productions including The Grapes of Wrath, Art, Romeo and Juliet, Hot Mikado, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, One Last Summer, Once on This Island, Falsettos and Boys from Syracuse. Bell is the recipient of a Helen Hayes Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships and a nomination for London's prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Hot Mikado. He is an Associate Professor of Music Theater at Northwestern University.
The production team for Murder for Two—A Killer Musical includes Scenic Designer Scott Davis, who returns to Chicago Shakespeare after collaborating with Bell on this season's Short Shakespeare! Macbeth. Costume Designer Jeremy Floyd also returns after working with Bell on Short Shakespeare! Macbeth. Lighting Designer Jesse Klug joins Bells' production after working on several Chicago Shakespeare productions, including How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? and The Emperor's New Clothes. The production team is rounded out by Sound Designer James Savage, Wig and Make-Up Designer Melissa Veal and Properties Master
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) offers a broad spectrum of theatrical experiences year-round, engaging and entertaining audiences from all walks of life and from around the world. CST has garnered acclaim under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, including 55 Joseph Jefferson Awards and three Laurence Olivier Awards. The Theater has experienced record growth since moving to its current, state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier in 1999, and will celebrate its 25th Anniversary next season.
The 38-play canon of William Shakespeare forms the core of CST's work and Subscription Series, complemented by other dramatic works—from traditional classical theater to new classics that resonate with Shakespeare's timeless insights into the human condition. Through a 48-week season encompassing more than 600 performances, Chicago Shakespeare leads the community as the largest employer of Chicago actors. CST also contributes to an international community of creative exchange through its World's Stage Series, which affords Chicago audiences prime opportunities to experience the cultural and artistic traditions of some of the world's iconic theater troupes as well as sending some of CST's best works abroad. Chicago Shakespeare is committed to making theater an expansive, ever-changing and lifelong relationship. For family audiences, CST Family presents abridged Shakespeare productions, timeless fables and fairy tales, interactive music concerts and world-premiere musical theater created with families in mind. CST's education outreach program, Team Shakespeare, has served over 1 million students and teachers throughout the Midwest, introducing the Bard's legacy to a new generation.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Programming in the Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Land O'Frost is a proud sponsor of the 2010/11 Subscription Series at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Mainstage artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.