BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER at BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Broadway in Fort Lauderdale, and Bank of America present the NETworks Presentations national tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. With a book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak, the musical comedy is based on the 1907 novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman, which was also the source for the 1949 British film Kind Hearts and Coronets.
Set in London in 1909, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder is the story of an enterprising young man named Monty Navarro (Blake Price) who, after the death of his mother, discovers that he is ninth in line for an Earlship. His deceased mother was born to royal house of Lord D'Ysquith, but was summarily disowned when she dared to marry a common Castilian guitar player. When Monty reaches out to members of the royal family he is initially met with the same coldness they displayed to his mother. And so he plots to avenge her mistreatment, by climbing up the ladder of succession - carefully removing each D'Ysquith who stands in line before him. The fact that each of these successors are all played by the same actor (James Taylor Odom) is the comedic centerpiece of this deliciously funny and endlessly entertaining musical.
Odom is a wonder to behold, amidst fast changes that include total transformations in gender, age, manner, and speech. What's more - he genuinely looks like he is having and rousingly good time while he is doing it all from start to finish. When you love what you do it really does stop being "work"!
Despite his murderous ways, Price comes off as earnest and likable. We root for him the entire time and look forward to each next cleverly planned if clumsily executed death. In Monty's quest for love as he attempts to choose between the beautiful though shallow Sibella (Colleen McLaughlin), and the virtuous and sincere Phoebe (Erin McIntyre). McLaughlin sings with loveliness and a coy indulgence in "I Don't Know What I Do". McIntyre's is blessed with a singing voice (especially those effortless high notes) of unusual clarity and beauty that is rare. While the second act trio "I've Decided to Marry You" is undeniably the musical highlight of the show, Lutvak and Freedman supply clever lyrics and playful melodies throughout the show.
Scenic design by Alexander Dodge features a charming, turn of the century, British Music Hall. At the center is proscenium inside of a proscenium, framed by rich, red velvet curtains, and ornate footlights. Through the assistance of projection design, we are taken from simple homes, to stately drawing rooms, offices, suits, castles and churches. All of it works as smoothly as Odom lightning fast changes. This production astoundingly has only 10 actors playing over 30 roles. Their ensemble sound is that of a much larger group of actors, and one can hardly believe they manage to pull off playing so many different roles. This production really is a "DON'T MISS", so hurry to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts before this tour moves on! For more information on the tour, visit gentlemansguideontour.com.
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre November 17, 2013, running until January 17, 2016. The Broadway production received four Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards
At Bank of America, their focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is critical to fulfilling their purpose of helping make people's financial lives better. Their commitment to growing their business responsibly is embedded in every aspect of their company. It is demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace they create for their employees, the responsible products and services they offer their customers, and the impact they make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocate groups, such as community and environmental organizations, in order to bring together their collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about, and connect with them on Twitter at @BofA_News.
This production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder will be appearing through Sunday, January 21, 2018, at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts, located in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District at 201 SW Fifth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, visit www.BrowardCenter.org.
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is one of America's premier performing arts venues, consistently ranked among the top ten in the country. Presenting more than 700 performances each year to more than 700,000 patrons, the Center showcases a wide range of exciting cultural programming and events, and offers one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the United States, serving more than 150,000 students annually. In 2007, the Broward Center was named the Cultural Embassy of Broward County in recognition of its success in linking cultural activity with the region's economic development.
Monty Navarro: Blake Price
Miss Shingle/Newsboy: Kristen Kane
Sibella Hallward/Tour Guide/Newsboy: Colleen McLaughlin
Phoebe D'Ysquith: Erin McIntyre
Miss Barley: Briana Gantsweg
Tom Copley/Newsboy/Guard/Actor: Ashton Michael Corey
Chief Inspector/Newsboy/Actor: Conor McGiffin
Asquith D'Ysquith, Jr./Lord Adalbert D'Ysquith/Reverend Lord Ezekial D'Ysquith/Lord Asquith D'Ysquith, Sr./ Henry D'Ysquith/Lady Hyacinth D'Ysquith/Major Lord Bartholemew D'Ysquith/Lady Salome D'Ysquith Pumphrey/Chauncey: James Taylor Odom
Tour Director/Choreographer: Peggy Hickey
Music Director: Josh Cullen
Scenic Design: Alexander Dodge
Lighting Design: Philip S. Rosenberg
Sound Design: Dan Moses Schrier
Projection Design: Aaron Rhyne
Costume Design: Linda Cho
Hair and Wig Design: Charles G. LaPointe
Stage Manager: Emily White-Winter
Photo: Joan Marcus