BWW CD REVIEWS: The Original Cast Recording for MURDER FOR TWO is Eccentric, Quirky, and Tells a Story
From writers Jose Kinosian and Kellen Blair comes MURDER FOR TWO. The musical centers on the adventures of a small town policeman, Officer Marcus Moscowicz, who dreams of one day becoming a detective. The story follows what happens when the wannabe detective jumps at the chance at a case - the murder of the Great American Novelist Arthur Whitney. In no time at all, Marcus takes on the case to hunt down whodunit. He makes his way down his list of suspects - an interesting group of people. Could it have been the prima ballerina, Barette Lewis? Or was it was Arthur's suspiciously friendly psychiatrist, Dr. Griff? Maybe it was his wife, the former actress Dahlia Whitney.
Marcus is on the case, and has little time before the real detective shows up. The musical's cast recording reflects every suspect's story, as well as Marcus' anxieties.
The original cast recording for MURDER FOR TWO is just as eccentric, fun, and unique as one would expect. The most interesting part about this story and its score is that two actors voice the 13 characters in the story. Brett Ryback takes on the role as Marcus, acting alongside Jeff Blumenkrantz who plays all the suspects.
Jeff Blumenkrantz wows in this recording, as he effortlessly slips into 12 different characters, each with different sounds and accents but with equally humorous stories to tell. What may seem like a dark story is a fine comedy to sit back and listen too. This is not a recording with stand alone songs that can be listened to outside the context of the show, but if one listens to this score from start to finish, they will be immersed in this story of mystery that is packed with clever one liners and thrilling characters.
The vocals on this recording are astonishing. Ryback has the sweet voice you would expect from a pure-hearted aspiring detective, but Blumenkrantz makes the recording as he takes on a different persona in every other song. Blumenkrantz goes from scene-stealing Dahlia Whitney, to an optimistic fireman, to a pair of two nine-year-old boys, and so many more throughout the shows musical score.
The two have incredible vocal chemistry, as their voices mesh together perfectly in "A Friend Like You," where Ryback's voice soars and Blumenkrantz voices the dynamic Dr. Griff. Of course, it's easy to have chemistry with someone else, but Blumenkrantz shows what it means to have chemistry with yourself. Playing two characters all at once, Blumenkrantz manages what seems to be impossible - going from one character to the next with no hesitation. It's hard to really get into a character, and he manages to get into 13, transitioning effortlessly from one to the other.
These are not songs to dance to or to sing along with, but rather this music tells a creative story that will have you hooked. The album seems to be more like a musical audiobook of sorts than a traditinal cast recording with individual songs. The tracks fall effortlessly into one another, and the story is expertly weaved throughout the score. Listeners can listen from start to finish and feel like they are watching the show as it unfolds.
For information about other theatrical recording releases, click here.
Cover art courtsy of Ghostlight Records.