South Bay Musical Theatre Presents A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER
South Bay Musical Theatre (SBMT) is pulling out all the stops to bring A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER to eager Bay Area audiences. Featuring a likeable leading man murdering his way up the social ladder in Edwardian England, the show was highly praised for its ingenuity. It was the winner of four Tony Awards in June 2014 - including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction, and Best Costume Design. Director Walter M. Mayes will introduce a new look for this local production, inspired by the gothic pen and ink artwork of American artist Edward Gorey.
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER features a gorgeous, classically-styled score by Steven Lutvak, and lyrics and book by Robert L. Friedman. It is a show that demands both stellar, classically-trained voices and ridiculous comedic chops to keep the audience simultaneously charmed and somewhat repulsed. The production stars local favorites David Mister as the penniless Monty Navarro, who learns that he's eighth in line for a fortune and devises an outlandish plan to knock off the nasty aristocrats standing in his way, and Michael Hirsch as the entire D'Ysquith Family (eight unique members - both male and female!) It also features a show-stopping number ("I've Decided to Marry You") full of slamming doors, performed by the love triangle of Mister as Navarro, plus Jillian Bader as Sibella Hallward and Kate Matheson as Phoebe D'Ysquith. While the Broadway tour of A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER came through San Francisco a few years ago and the show was mounted recently by a local children's troupe, this will be the first community theater production to open in the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
Although the show is a modern musical, director Mayes and the rest of his artistic staff are leaning into the dark, unsettling, yet tongue-in-cheek nature of the story and Edwardian setting, and basing the production's visual look on the work of Gorey. "The work of Edward Gorey is immediately recognizable to audiences, even if he's not quite a household name," notes Mayes. "Any viewer of the PBS Series Mystery! will recognize the ravens and tombstones of the animated opening credits, setting the mood that what you are about to see will be a bit dark, but also witty and engaging. Black and white dominates the set and the look of the show, echoing Gorey's pen and ink lines." Gorey (1925-2000), is best known for his illustrated books such as The Gashlycrumb Tinies and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. The latter features T.S Eliot's poetry and Gorey's illustration, and is the source material of the musical Cats! Gorey is also a Tony-award winner himself, designing the costumes for the 1977 Broadway revival of Dracula.
The show runs weekends Sept 28 to Oct. 19, 2019 at the Saratoga Civic Theater, 13777 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga. First-nighters are invited to stay for a champagne toast following the opening night performance. Evening shows start at 8 p.m. while matinees (Sundays and the closing Saturday) start at 2:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $29-$39. There are $2 discounts for seniors 65 years or older, and $20 tickets for students and children. Tickets may be purchased online at www.SouthBayMT.com or by calling (408) 266-4734.
Photo by Scott McClelland