(click to enlarge photos)
By: Sandi Durell
If you’re a fan of silly and slapstick, you might get some laughs out of “Murder for Two” at New World Stages. The show had a successful run uptown at Second Stage’s McGinn/Cazale Theatre this past summer.
I’m familiar with the talented Jeff Blumenkrantz, who stars alongside Brett Ryback, but mainly as a composer (Urban Cowboy, Tony Award nom) and for the many songs recorded by major artists Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, Rebecca Luker and Victoria Clark, to name a few.
Is he funny as an actor? Yes! He morphs into multiple roles and voices as the various suspects (male and female) during the 90 minutes in a loosely devised whodunit where a famous author has been murdered and he and Ryback (who plays a wannabe detective) mug and perform in vaudevillian style shtick, with book and music by Joe Konosian and book and lyrics by Kellen Blair.
Both Blumenkrantz and Ryback are back and forth to the piano, in between prancing and dancing, doing mime-like poses, as sound effects pop up whenever a tea cup is set on a table or a door is opened or closed.
In a nutshell – it’s a lot of zany silliness that obviously had some appeal to the younger folks in the audience who found some of this wacky, goofball humor funny. Perhaps it can be thought of as a very watered down “39 Steps.”
The scenic design is by Beowulf Boritt, lighting by Jason Lyons, sound by Jill BC DuBoff, choreography by Wendy Seyb. It’s directed by Scott Schwartz.
Murder for Two – New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, NYC. www.telecharge.com