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Tuesday, January 14, 2014


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 Star of the show 
Earlier today we mentioned that our music column is quite small; now we'll tell you it is big compared to our Broadway column.  We are pretty confident in knowing what we believe will be a hit before we see it, and in this case, "A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder" exceeded our expectations, which almost nothing does.  If every show were as tremendously brilliant as this bastion of hilarity with acting talent worth its weight in gold, we would be spending most of our time at Broadway shows instead of going maybe once a year.  So why did we love it?   Well, if you cast Bryce in a starring role, studies show that we will likely review it.  But more than that, we are quintessentially English, silly.  It's not Who You Know, it's Whom You Know (up with correct English grammar) and you can bet your bottom dollar that Peachy would be pleased as punch to find out she's a countess, and besides, our pal 
Mover and Shaker Bryce Pinkham 
is Monty Navarro, star of the show: so good at being so bad.  And to be precise, that's Monty D'YSQUITH Navarro.  Can you imagine anything more exciting than finding out you are part of the peerage?  We've reviewed Mover and Shaker Carol Wallace's To Marry An English Lord, we reviewed the first three seasons of Downton Abbey by episode and created a Facebook group Downton Abbey is Peachy.  We work with the BBC on Born to Royalty, the Royal Collection, Upstairs DownstairsSilk, Damian Lewis -this list could go on and on and we expect it to- and stay tuned to hear what we think of Paradise (it is PHENOMENAL.)  So the combination of an English setting and theme, complete hilarity, and our pal who embraces Ever to Excel made us want to go see this.  Bryce's star power extends to his striking singing ability solo even when climbing ladders, and he is a master of the crescendo and decrescendo.  His passionate intensity for revenge shines through in deepest noir when he's heartlessly cast away from his mother's family, who disinherited her and so him when she married his father.  No, you are not a fool to dream you'll be Earl someday.  And pigs can fly, even our friends Eric and Christopher say so. 

And when dueting with Jefferson Mays, Bryce would quite agree we think-they make quite a pair, especially when you add the scooter.  Some people are born gifted.  Others know how to make the most of their talents.  Not only was Bryce born gifted but also his innate ability to capitalize on his capacity puts him in a class by himself.  If you don't know him, he's following his own yellow brick road to stardom and we fully expect to see him in blockbuster movies before you know it.
We do not know Jefferson Mays but were beyond delighted with his talents of the highest caliber.   "I Don't Understand the Poor" was a number that brought tears to our eyes.  We are highly impressed by his complete versatility in playing so many characters so well and great quick costume changes too!  Of course we have been singing Bryce's praises since Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Ghost as well) however we have not seen him surrounded by such strong acting aptitude before this.  The depth of the cast is absolutely killer.  We've got a whole new outlook on casting since seeing HBO's awesome documentary Casting By.  The chemistry among cast members is undeniably the best.
If you are an old girl or even an ancient (we brought an ancient with us), the start of the show with black sunglasses will strike a chord of tradition within you.  Revenge and retribution...looking back in a final confession in prison (if you thought Bates had challenges!)...and in a tizzy before you know it Miss Shingle is upon us (she reminds us of Miss Flite in Bleak House which is another BBC hit.)  If you can imagine an English Barbie from the days of London 1909, Lisa O'Hare as Sibella Hallward is the proper embodiment and she has clearcut starpower as well not only in her sensational singing but also her stellar style.  Loved her!  Phoebe D'Ysquith is sweetly powerful, played by Lauren Worsham and we loved her swing scene.
The sets are breathtaking and fun. We adored the singing paintings so much and every chord struck our funny bone.  Along with Monty you'll tour the castle, and for all the preppies reading us, know that the English Salisbury is included.
Miss Shingle and Monty

Naturally, there are many good ideas on how to murder your relatives here, all coming from a fictional standpoint of course!  Our hats off to the super clever lyricists: Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak.  And the characters are delightfully exaggerated both in how they are scripted and dazzlingly executed.  Glorious absurdity awaits you sneaking up at every opportunity, and guess who's got poison in their pocket.  The skating scene we could not get enough of, and though the show is long the pace is not slow: beaucoup de interesting characters and fascinating settings kept us entertained.  The best scene in our humble opinion is when Monty gets engaged and the back and forth between him with both Sibella Hallward and Phoebe D'Ysquith-all three had us completely enraptured with the effectiveness of doors.
Sibella Hallward and Monty Navarro

More fun ensues with the talking dead fox.  Lady Salome is the embodiment of Mrs. Jellyby of Bleak House.  Costumes are superbly accurate and stunning as well.  The world would be in perfect condition if we could all live inside out...bottom line: this show is the bee's knees (except for that poor ancestor - we believe the third).  Our viewing friend believes this show is Gilbert and Sullivan meets Harvard Hasty Pudding...and we believe it's even better than that since it stars a Boston College Eagle.
Is there anything of more consequence than Love and Murder?
Lessons learned: Be Careful with your Memoirs.
Quite the dinner table

A lot of people sing the praise of a show with a doorbell, but THIS is the door both gentlemen and ladies should be ringing.  By the way, there was not an empty seat in the house the night we saw the show.  
If Broadway had a Stanley Cup Final, this show would be a conference champion and win the cup.
"A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder" has earned Whom You Know's Highest Recommendation.

On Tuesday, October 22, Broadway's bloody brilliant new musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, began performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 W. 48th Street). Following critically acclaimed, smash-hit runs at The Hartford Stage and San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder stars Tony® Award Winner Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham, and features Lisa O'Hare, Lauren Worsham, Jane Carr, Pamela Bob, Joanna Glushak, Eddie Korbich, Jeff Kready, Mark Ledbetter, Jennifer Smith, Price Waldman, and Catherine Walker. A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder officially opens on Sunday, November 17.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder features a book by Robert L. Freedman, music by Steven Lutvak, and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak. Darko Tresnjak directs and Peggy Hickey choreographs. 

Monty Navarro (Pinkham) has just received some really great news from his late mother’s lifelong friend Miss Shingle (Carr)! He’s a long-lost member of a noble family and could become the next Earl of Highhurst. There are only eight minor issues, namely the other relatives who precede him in line for the title. So Monty does what any ambitious, highborn gentleman would do: he sets out to eliminate them one by one, all while juggling his mistress (O'Hare) (she’s after more than just love), his fiancĂ©e (Worsham) (she’s his cousin, but who’s keeping track?), plus the constant threat of landing behind bars! But it will all be worth it if he can slay his way into Highhurst Castle…and be done in time for tea. Each of the eight heirs perilously standing in the way of Monty’s fortune are played by Jefferson Mays, in one of the most breathtaking, whiplash-inducing performances ever attempted on the American stage. 

The design team for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder includes Alexander Dodge (Scenic Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), Philip S. Rosenberg (Lighting Design), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound Design), Aaron Rhyne (Projections Design), and Charles LaPointe (Wig Design). Orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick and Vocal Arrangements are by Dianne Adams McDowell and Steven Lutvak. Paul Staroba serves as Music Director.

Tickets, priced from $99-$137, are on sale via or by calling (212) 239-6200 / (800) 447-7400. Tickets are also available for purchase in person at the Walter Kerr Box Office (219 W. 48th Street). 

The performance schedule for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder is as follows: Tuesday, October 22 through Friday, November 16 - Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2:00 PM, and Sunday at 3:00 PM. Beginning Tuesday, November 19 - Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 PM, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM, with 2:00 PM matinees on Wednesday and Saturday. 

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is produced on Broadway by Joey Parnes, S.D. Wagner, John Johnson, 50 Church Street Productions, Joan Raffe & Jhett Tolentino, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Catherine & Fred Adler, Rhoda Herrick, Kathleen K. Johnson, Megan Savage, Shadowcatcher Entertainment, Ron Simons, True Love Productions, Jamie deRoy, Four Ladies & One Gent, John Arthur Pinckard, Greg Nobile, Stewart Lane & Bonnie Comley, Exeter Capital/Ted Snowdon, Ryan Hugh Mackey, Cricket-CTM Media/Mano-Horn Productions, Dennis Grimaldi/Margot Astrachan, Hello Entertainment/Jamie Bendell, Michael T. Cohen/Joe Sirola, Joseph & Carson Gleberman/William Megevick and Green State Productions, in association with The Hartford Stage and the Old Globe Theatre.

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