“Murder for Two,” the Off-Broadway and regional theater musical mystery sensation, takes on a decidedly holiday glow when it is transformed into “Murder for Two: Holiday Edition” in a world-premiere production at Bucks County Playhouse, December 9 – 31. In this hilarious musical murder mystery, everyone is a suspect, but there’s a twist: one actor (Ryback) investigates the crime, the other (Kinosian) plays all the suspects and they both play the piano! Produced by Robyn Goodman, Alexander Fraser, Stephen Kocis and Joshua Fiedler, the musical mystery was originally scheduled to close on Christmas Eve, but has already been extended an additional week until Saturday, December 31 due to popular demand.
Featuring book and music by Joe Kinosian, book and lyrics by Kellen Blair and direction by Jeremy Lapp, “Murder for Two: Holiday Edition” will star Kinosian, who created the role as “The Suspects” in the original “Murder For Two.” Brett Ryback, who also hails from the original cast of the “Murder for Two” Off-Broadway, stars as Marcus.
“We are thrilled to kick off the holiday season with the joyously funny musical ‘Murder for Two: Holiday Edition.’ When we approached Joe and Kellen to take a fresh look at their hysterical play with a holiday edition in mind, they enthusiastically embraced the challenge,” says Bucks County Playhouse Producing Director Alexander Fraser. “The result is hysterical and perfect for the holidays. So, we welcome everyone – ages 8 to 98 – to join the fun this December and consider ‘Murder for Two: Holiday Edition’ as the perfect alternate to the traditional holiday celebration. After all, as our creative team has astutely observed, everybody wants to murder somebody at Christmas!”
The new holiday edition follows the basic story of the highly acclaimed original Off-Broadway production but is reset and redressed in a holiday theme. With the action now set in rural New England on Christmas Eve, the creators have upped the ante on hilarity by injecting the proceedings with a daffy dose of holiday cheer – providing some holiday backstories for characters and peppering the narrative with jokes that would make even the biggest Grinch join in laughter.
Critics hailed the original production of “Murder for Two” as “an ingenious miniature musical in the form of a snazzy vaudevillian double act” (The New York Times) and “A 90-minute jolt of caffeinated creativity” (NY1).
Kinosian (Book and Music), who plays The Suspects, is the co-recipient of Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award recognizing “Murder For Two” as Best New Musical following its record-breaking run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Kinosian also was nominated for Best Actor as The Suspects. “Murder For Two” had its Off-Broadway premiere at Second Stage Uptown and continued to play a yearlong run at New World Stages. Kinosian’s work with Kellen Blair has been showcased at The Kennedy Center, The York Theater, and on Broadway at the Theatre World Awards. Kinosian received the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and the Harrington Award from the BMI Workshop. He also appeared in “Dirty Blonde” with Emily Skinner (Hangar Theater) and the NYC premiere of “Dear Edwina” Off-Broadway.
Brett Ryback is an actor, composer, and playwright based in Los Angeles. He originated the role of Marcus Off-Broadway in “Murder For Two” at Second Stage and New World Stages. His recent TV/Film appearances include: “Modern Family,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “House,” and the Coen Brother’s film, “Hail, Caesar!” Regional theatre credits include: “The History Boys” (Ahmanson); “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” (Mark Taper Forum); “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Broadway Bound” (La Mirada); and the world premieres of “The Prince of Atlantis,” “Dr. Cerberus” (South Coast Rep), and “Upright Grand” (Theatreworks, Palo Alto). His plays and musicals include: “Liberty Inn: The Musical” (Ovation nominations Best Book, Best Music/Lyrics); “Darling” (Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, Featured on NBC’s “The Apprentice”); “The Tavern Keeper’s Daughter” (Best Musical, Pasadena Weekly), and “The Many Selves of Mia Scott.” He was commissioned to write music for “Just a Little Critter Musical” for First Stage Milwaukee.
Kellen Blair (Book and Lyrics) is the Drama Desk nominated co-creator of “Murder for Two” (Off-Broadway: Second Stage Theatre and New World Stages. World premiere: Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Kellen and co-writer Joe Kinosian are the recipients of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical Work in Chicago (2011) and the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers / Lorenz Hart Award (2013). Their work has been showcased on Broadway, the Kennedy Center, and theaters across the country. Kellen is excited to be developing a new musical farce with Joe titled “The More Things Change”; he’s also working with Broadway composer Larry Grossman on a new show called “Scrooge in Love.” Updates, videos, song demos, and sheet music can be found at www.kinosianandblair.com.
Bucks County Playhouse will offer discounted preview performances of “Murder for Two: Holiday Edition” on Friday, December 9 at 8 pm and Saturday, December 10 at 2pm. Tickets to preview performances are only $30. Opening night is Saturday, December 10 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $39-$69 plus fees.
The production will play the following schedule:
Friday, December 9 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 10 at 2 p.m. and 7:00 pm
Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 14 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, December 15 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 pm
Friday, December 16 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 17 at 2 p.m. and 8:00 pm
Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, December 21 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, December 22 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 pm
Friday, December 23 at 2 p.m. and 8:00 pm
Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24 at 2 p.m.
Monday, December 26 at 2:00 pm
Tuesday, December 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 28 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, December 29 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 pm
Friday, December 30 at 2 p.m. and 8:00 pm
New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31 at 2 p.m.
For full details, and to purchase tickets, please visit buckscountyplayhouse.org, call 215-862-2121, or visit the box office at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA.