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BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Osceola Arts

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Osceola Arts' presents an exciting and hilarious production of this 2014 Tony Award winner

BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Osceola Arts A musical about love? Nothing new there - from Broadway classics to modern musicals, love is often a prevailing theme for a night at the theatre. But love and murder? Well, now you are talking about something unique. And something uniquely thrilling is what you get with Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak's hilarious musical comedy in A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, which is currently playing at Osceola Arts in Kissimmee.

A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards (includingBWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Osceola Arts Best Musical), set in London in 1909, tells the tale of young Monty Navarro (Chase Williams) who, having recently buried his mother, learns that he is of noble blood and thus in the line of succession to become the Earl of Highhurst. The only problem is the D'Ysquith family, who disinherited his mother when she married for love, wants nothing to do with him. So, Monty, with newfound confidence and purpose, sets out to creatively remove (in other words, murder) the eight members of his family that stand between him and the Earldom. That may sound grisly, but in GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE the story is told in a light and fun manner, with a memorable score, making audiences cheer for Monty as he gets rid of one family member after another in increasingly hilarious ways. The other factor that makes GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE uniquely entertaining, is the fact that each of Monty's eight relatives is played by the same actor (Nicholas Wainwright) which is both impressive and hilarious to see.

BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Osceola Arts The small, but mighty cast of 14 actors in Osceola Arts' production of A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER bring this hilarious musical to life with such energy and fun, it is hard not to have a smile on your face the whole time (under your mask - audiences all are asked to wear masks since the actors are unmasked). Chase Williams, who I had the pleasure of seeing perform recently in CFC Arts' production of CINDERELLA gives a very strong performance as Monty Navarro, who juggles the various murders of his family members as well as the romantic advances of his lover, Sibella (Holli Trisler) and his cousin, Phoebe (Sarah Anne Mae). In those respective roles, Ms. Trisler and Ms. Mae are marvelous and show off beautiful operatic soprano voices every time they sing. These roles are challenging to pull off well and these two actresses make it look easy. The real heavy lifting (figuratively, and in one scene, literally) is done by Nicholas Wainwright who plays all eight of the D'Ysquith family members that Monty seeks to get rid of. Each character played by Mr. Wainwright has its own voice and style and all are equally hilarious. As for the ensemble, it is one of the strongest I have seen in quite some time - each with stellar voices of their own which make the group numbers powerful and exciting.

Tara Kromer's direction is fast-paced and ensures each sight gag and joke (and musical number) delivers. She uses two side-stages (part of Robert F. Wolin's effective scenic designs) to ensure there is no pause in the action. Chris Endsley's strong music direction comes through in the pitch perfect vocal performances of each member of the cast. The costumes by Matthew Carl are quite lovely and add to the Edwardian flavor of the show. And in terms of sound and lighting, Waylon Lemasters and Bradley Cronenwett's designs add depth and color to the hilarity on stage.

Overall, Osceola Arts' production of A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER is a hilarious romp and a great escape from reality. Audiences are sure to laugh, smile and cheer as they witness the antics of Monty Navarro as he climbs his way up the social ladder in a most unconventional way. Will Monty find love and get away with murder? Make a trip to Osceola Arts and find out for yourself. You won't be sorry!

A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, presented by Osceola Arts runs through August 1st. Tickets start at only $25, with Senior, students, and group rates available. Performances are at 7:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 2pm on Sundays, and an additional 2pm matinee performance on Saturday, July 31st. For additional information and to purchase show tickets visit OsceolaArts.org or call 407-846-6257.

All Photos provided by Osceola Arts and feature the cast of A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER.


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