Hartford Stage Opens A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, Starring Jefferson Mays, 10/11

Hartford Stage, under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts, today announced the full cast and creative team for the world premiere of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder withbook by Robert L. Freedman; music by Steven Lutvak; lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak; and directed by Darko Tresnjak. A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder will be on stage October 11 to November 11 and will feature Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays, playing eight of the more than 20 characters.

"Developing this smart and funny musical with Robert and Steven over the past four years has given me a great deal of pleasure," said Darko. "I am thrilled that the time has come to share it with the world. And I am very happy that, from Jefferson Mays to Jonathan Tunick, we have gathered such a glittering array of artists to bring A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder to life."

Gentlemen's Guide will be the first Mainstage Hartford Stage musical since the world premiere of The Gershwin's Fascinating Rhythm in the 1996-97 season, which was co-conceived by former Artistic Director Mark Lamos and Mel Marvin. The show opened on Broadway in 1999.

Set in the elegant Edwardian era, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder traces the brilliant trajectory of Monty Navarro-a charmer, seducer and avenger-on his quest for recognition and family fortune. It's a delightful evening of music, merriment . . . and murder. Developed at The Sundance Institute Theater Lab, the musical is based on the 1907 novel "Israel Rank," by Roy Horniman. From the novel: "There is an old saying, "Murder will out." I am really unable to see why this should be so. I am convinced that many a delightful member of society has found it necessary at some time or other to remove a human obstacle."

Freedman and Lutvak have won both the Kleban Award for Lyric Writing for the Theater and the Fred Ebb Songwriting Award. One of New York's top cabaret writers and performers, Lutvak has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Russian Tea Room, and the Hotel Algonguin's Oak Room. His many songwriting credits include the title theme to Paramount's hit film Mad Hot Ballroom. Critics for Freedman, an Emmy nominee and Writers Guild Award winner, include the ABC miniseries "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," starring Judy Davis, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," starring Whitney Houston.

The creative team features orchestrator Jonathan Tunick, winner of all four major American entertainment awards: the Academy Award (A Little Night Music), Tony Award (Titanic), Emmy Award ("Night of 100 Stars"), and Grammy Award ("No One Is Alone" from Into the Woods). The team also includes musical director/conductor/piano player Paul Staroba (Broadway's Grey Gardens and the 2009 revival of A Little Night Music); choreography by Peggy Hickey (winner of the MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography, The Brady Bunch Movie, and My Fair Lady on Broadway); scenic design by Alexander Dodge (Hartford Stage's The Tempest and Bell, Book and Candle), costume design by Linda Cho (Hartford Stage's The Whipping Man), lighting design by Philip Rosenberg (Broadway's The Miracle Worker), projection design by Aaron Rhyne (Broadway's Bonnie and Clyde and Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall) and sound design by three-time, Tony Award-nominee Dan Moses Schreier.

The cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder will include Connecticut native Jefferson Mays (Broadway's I Am My Own Wife) as The D'Ysquith Family; Heather Ayers (Broadway's A Little Night Music and Young Frankenstein) as Evangeline Barley, Lady Eugenia; Ken Barnett (Broadway's Wonderful Town and The Green Bird) as Monty; Rachel Izen (Broadway's MARY POPPINS) as Miss Marietta Shingle, Tour Guide; Chilina Kennedy (Broadway's Jesus Christ Superstar) as Phoebe; Lisa O'Hare (My Fair Lady U.S. Tour) as Sibella Hallward; KendAl Sparks (The Muny's The Producers and Les Misérables) as Farmer, Magistrate, Warden; and Price Waldman (Broadway's The Little Mermaid and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas) as Barber, Detective.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder will be directed by Darko Tresnjak. Darko Tresnjak joinEd Hartford Stage in 2011 as Artistic Director and directed Bell, Book and Candle and The Tempest at Hartford Stage in 2012. He was the Artistic Director of The Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego from 2004-2009. His directing credits at The Old Globe include The Women, The Pleasure of His Company, Bell, Book and Candle, Cyrano de Bergerac, Coriolanus, All's Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Titus Adronicus, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, A Comedy of Errors, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Pericles. Recent directing credits include the national tour of The Merchant of Venice, starring F. Murray Abraham; City of Angels at Goodspeed Musicals; and Titus Adronicus at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder is produced in association with The Old Globe in San Diego.

Principal production support forA Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder by The Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, with additional support from The Cheryl Chase & Stuart Bear Family Foundation.

Press Night is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 17.
Opening Night is 8 p.m. Friday, October 19.

The production plays October 11 through November 11. Evening performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; and a special Stay/Play performance at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 31. Matinee performances are Sundays and selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. For a more specific schedule of performances, call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit hartfordstage.org.

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