Murder for Two—A Killer Musical

May 12

November 27, 2011

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

book and music by Joe Kinosian
book and lyrics by Kellen Blair
directed by David H. Bell

Critical Acclaim


“Delivers fun to die for! A playfully campy quality of artifice is obvious from the moment you take your seat. True, the grand piano placed center stage is very real, and it will be played in wild stride piano style by both Alan Schmuckler and Kinosian, two actor-singers and ace musicians who also might be labeled manic madmen. But then there is the elaborately wired model of a manor house suspended from the rafters, and the loveseat, potted plants and other furnishings that are of the 2-D trompe l’oeil variety. The exposed backstage theater rigging (the clever set is the work of designer Scott Davis) suggests a further mix of the mock and the real. Audiences tend to love the sendup of conventions (in this case, all those Agatha Christie whodunits) and the fast-and-furious, larger-than-life role-playing he championed. And in "Murder for Two," directed by David H. Bell, such stylistic exercises get a heavy-duty workout. The rip-roaring, four-hands piano fireworks of the finale is absolutely terrific. It is, indeed, a "killer musical!"”

     This infectious new musical murder mystery comedy could get belly laughs from a corpse. Staged by Bell, working right in his wheelhouse, and expertly performed by Kinosian and Schmuckler, it's irresistibly infectious, old-fashioned fun. Murder should slay even the most jaded party guests.”

“Opening with a surprise party gone awry and a murder to be solved, "Murder for Two—A Killer Musical" (penned by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair) quickly explodes into self-aware musical campiness; puns and slapstick abound in a way that would no doubt make Mel Brooks giggle giddily. Officer Marcus Moscowicz (Alan Schmuckler) arrives at the scene of the crime with hopes of becoming a detective and ineffectively strives to corral a host of feisty suspects that includes an aloof ballerina, a gruff psychiatrist, a bickering older couple, a bookish grad student and the victim's attention-grabbing wife (all played with gusto by Kinosian). The straight-man/funny-man combo works wonders here. Director David H. Bell has instilled this world premiere with a sense of excitement and experimentation throughout that caters to the show's irreverent strengths.”

“The surefire funny stage comedy of the summer has hit Chicago. It's two guys, a very funny premise, some very carefully selected props and plenty of fresh and original comedy, all at a great, affordable ticket price. It's a not-to-be-missed romp created by the combined young entertainment genius of Joe Kinosian (music/book) and Kellen Blair (lyrics/book). Staged by CST veteran director David H. Bell, it's the show's co-creator Joe Kinosian who takes the audiences to new levels of funny never expected. Milwaukee funny favorite Kinosian, who's spent most of his time fine-tuning his talents in New York, is finally here in Chicago offering something like-never-before with this new production.”

“The giddy debut of Murder for Two... a two-man, piano-playing romp. This 90-minute concoction/confection combines sassy showbiz savvy, tons of moxie, rapid-fire character switcheroos, and the wizard piano stylings of Chico Marx and Victor Borge to unleash a bravura showcase for Joe Kinosian and Alan Schmuckler. Deftly directed by the matchless David H. Bell, this infectious delight amounts to inspired folly.”

“An exuberant romp...the two men are excellent pianists, exchanging and interweaving their musical skill as they swiftly replace each other at the keyboard to underline narrative and interlace songs and dialogue. David H. Bell is skillfully directing a marriage between Victor Borge and Agatha Christie with a mixture of the Marx Brothers thrown in. The delighted audience rose to its feet for a standing ovation at play's end.”

“It is not often that I tell you that this is a MUST SEE! Murder For Two—A Killer Musical is by far one of the funniest little productions to come around in years! What an evening of entertainment. This 90 plus minutes of non-stop laughter is so funny that even I (I am known for my powerful laughter) was drowned out by the full house.”

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