Cincinnati Playhouse Brings Murder, Intrigue and Hilarity in May

Cincinnati Playhouse Brings Murder, Intrigue and Hilarity in May

Who killed the great American novelist Arthur Whitney? That's what audiences will wonder when MURDER FOR TWO opens May 5 at Cincinnati Playhouse. The riotous two-person musical comedy - which The New York Times called "ingenious"- runs through June 10 (Opening Night is May 10).

When Whitney is found dead in his isolated, rural mansion on the night of his surprise birthday party, every guest has a motive. Could it be his loopy, scene-stealing widow? Or the glamorous but menacing, prima ballerina? Maybe it's the loose-lipped, overly friendly psychiatrist? The mystery unfolds in hilarious fashion as one actor plays an overwhelmed detective and another plays a dozen suspects - and they both play piano.

Written and composed by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, MURDER FOR TWO is a comical throwback to classic whodunit novels of the 1920s and is performed with zany, vaudevillian sensibility.

"Early on we had the idea: what if the Marx Brothers performed an Agatha Christie play?" Blair explained in an interview with 5th Avenue Theatre. "The detective would be trying to take things seriously because the stakes would be so high, but inevitably things would just devolve into chaos."

The result is a highly entertaining farce defined by its exaggerated characters, music hall entertainment and silent film-style comedy. And the results speak for themselves: when MURDER FOR TWO made its world premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in May of 2011, it was extended four times and ran for a total of six months. Its off-Broadway production at Second Stage Theatre was extended twice before it was transferred to off-Broadway's New World Stages for a nine-month run. The musical then enjoyed an 18-month national tour and nominations from the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel awards. Kinosian and Blair also won the 2011 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical Work.

The Playhouse's production of MURDER FOR TWO is directed by Paul Mason Barnes, who makes his Playhouse debut with the musical comedy. Directing credits across the country include the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Denver Center Theatre Company and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, among many others. He is a founding producing director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota, and of the Oregon Cabaret Theatre.

"Kinosian and Blair have framed a fun and delightfully intriguing story with a delectable confection of zaniness and style," says Barnes. "My job will be to honor their story and the style with which they've chosen to tell their story as best as best I know how."

CAST: Eric Shorey (The Suspects); Eric Van Tielen (Marcus Moscowicz)

CREW: Paul Mason Barnes (Director); Bill Clarke (Set Designer); Tracy Dorman (Costume Designer); Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz (Lighting Designer); Jason Sebastian (Sound Designer); Stephen Goers (Music Director); Stephanie Klapper (Casting Director); Jenifer Morrow (Production Stage Manager)

Prices for MURDER FOR TWO start at $35 depending on seat selection and performance day and are subject to change. Tickets for teens and students are $30. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show. Plus, Sunday is College Night, with tickets to all 7 p.m. performances just $10. In addition to calling the Box Office, tickets can also be purchased by visiting the Playhouse website at

The Playhouse is fully accessible. Large print programs and hearing enhancement receivers are available upon request.

BOX OFFICE: 513-421-3888 or 800-582-3208 toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana; or 513-345-2248 - TDD access (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf).
Cincinnati Playhouse Brings Murder, Intrigue and Hilarity in May

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