In its first full musical produced in the COVID era, TheatreSquared brings Murder for Two to the stage—a hilarious, two-person murder mystery that was a hit in its Chicago and New York debuts and its 2016 T2 production.
A New York Times Critics’ Pick, called “an ingenious miniature musical in the form of a snazzy vaudevillian double act,” this multi-award-winning comedy features a small-town policeman dreaming of making it to detective—and his opportunity arriving in the form of a dead Great American Novelist. One actor plays the policeman, the other plays all nine suspects, and both play the piano in this whip-smart, winking homage to an old-fashioned theatrical murder mystery. Morgan Hicks (The Ding Dong, Noises Off, Boeing-Boeing) directs the madcap performance with James Taylor Odom—who toured nationally as all eight D’ysquith family members in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder—as the suspects and Brian Walters as the detective.
“Sometimes, we speak truth to power and find catharsis in struggle,” said T2 Artistic Director Bob Ford, “and sometimes we just need a good laugh. Murder for Two is 90 minutes of pure entertainment for the whole family. With tour-de-force performances and brilliant comic writing, it’s an evening of respite in a year when we all need a break.”
T2’s revival of Murder for Two, which reunites its original cast and creative team, is its final streaming-only performance, with hybrid in-person/streaming performances beginning in late April and continuous programming set to run through the rest of 2021.
“As our tenth—and last—streaming-only offering, Murder for Two is both a capstone to a year of artists stretching the limits of what was possible, and the kickoff of a celebratory new calendar full of live performance this spring, summer and fall,” said Executive Director Martin Miller. “From At the Wedding—originally developed at our new play festival—this April, to our postponed 2020 productions of My Father’s War and Matilda in May and June, this spring will be a joyous return for so many.”
Access to Murder for Two starts at just $20, and can be purchased online at theatre2.org or by calling 479-777-7477.
Murder for Two has played Off-Broadway and toured the globe to critical acclaim. It was named a Critic’s Pick by the New York Times, Time Out NY, and New York Magazine, and was nominated for the 2014 Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Off-Broadway Alliance Awards. The New York Observer called it “a hilarious musical whodunit.” Musical writing team Joe Kinosian (music and book) and Kellen Blair (lyrics and book) met in the BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop in 2008 and have been collaborating ever since. Murder For Two, made its Off-Broadway debut at Second Stage Uptown (before transferring to a commercial run at New World Stages). The show’s world premiere took place at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2011 and was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical in Chicago. Kellen and Joe have had their work performed on Broadway, at the Kennedy Center, and various theaters across the country.
Cast and Creative Team
Morgan Hicks, director, previously directed TheatreSquared’s The Ding-Dong, Noises Off, Boeing-Boeing, Every Christmas Story Ever Told, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Mystery of Irma Vep, Fully Committed, The History Show and The Poe Show, which she also co-wrote with Jordan Haynes. She serves as T2’s director of education and program development, is clinical assistant professor of theatre at the University of Arkansas, and previously served as general manager of Writer’s Theatre in Chicago and company manager of BareStage.
The play features performances by TheatreSquared veteran James Taylor Odom (A Christmas Carol, One Man, Two Guvnors, Hamlet) as the suspects and Brian Walters as the detective. Their appearance, and TheatreSquared’s extensive safety plan, was approved by Actors’ Equity Association.
Additional members of the creative team for Murder for Two include Jason Burrow (Musical Direction), Ashleigh Burns (Scenic Design), Ruby Kemph (Costume Design), Shawn Irish (Lighting Design and Camera Direction), Michael Prieto (Sound Design), and Kris Washington and Alex Worthington (Film Editing).
Murder for Two was captured live this spring at TheatreSquared and is offered as an on-demand, streamed performance. Patrons can reserve a 24-hour on-demand window for any date between March 17 and April 25 with access beginning at noon each day and continuing through noon the following day.