The original cast recording of Murder For Two, the zany, fast-paced musical comedy that has been impressing critics and audiences in its New York production in recent months, is now available from Ghostlight Records. The show—with book, music, and lyrics by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair—is a screwball, two-handed romp in which one actor plays the investigator and one actor plays the suspects, all of them.
The plot is negligible. Arriving at a surprise birthday party at his mansion, novelist Arthur Whitney, the guest of honor is shot in the head. Local cop, Marcus Moscowicz, with great ambitions, decides to prove himself by finding the killer, and he begins to work on the assembled guests—the novelist’s wife, his neighbors, and even a twelve member boys choir among others. Jeff Blumenkrantz, in a tour de force performance, plays the suspects. Brett Ryback takes the less showy role of Marcus and infuses it with joyful naivete. Indeed it is the infectious work of the two actors that really makes the show work. The material is fine, but Blumenkrantz and Rybeck take it to another level, clearly evident even on the recording. This is an actor’s show.
Musical highlights include “It Was Her,” in which Blumenkrantz, as the next door neighbors Murray and Barb Flander, go at each other with marital abandon and “A Lot Woise,” in which the boys from the boys’ choir explain why they aren’t horrified by the crime scene: “We saw a show called/Mamma Mia! Once.” Rybeck’s explanation of “Protocol,” hoping to impress the police chief, works less in terms of the cleverness of the lyric than in its context, as does “He Needs a Partner.”
The album comes with a booklet that gives a synopsis of the play, the complete lyrics as well as a number of production photos.