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Off-Broadway Hit Murder for Two Opens; Extends through August 2


LOS ANGELES (June 3, 2015) – The Off-Broadway hit Murder for Two opens tonight (June 3) in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. The production has now been extended through Sunday, August 2.
Featuring book and music by Joe Kinosian, book and lyrics by Kellen Blair and direction by Scott Schwartz, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times calls Murder for Two, “An ingenious miniature musical in the form of a snazzy vaudevillian double act.” Roma Torre from NY1 calls Murder for Two, “A 90-minute jolt of caffeinated creativity.”

The original New York cast, Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback star through July 9. Joe Kinosian, the composer and the co-writer of the book and who originally created the role of The Suspects, will replace Blumenkrantz from July 10 to July 23. Blumenkrantz then returns July 24 through August 2.

Everyone is a suspect in Murder For Two, a hilarious musical murder mystery with a twist: one actor investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects and they both play the piano! A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with killer laughs.

Jesse Oxfeld of The New York Observer said, “Who would have guessed that murder could be so fun? A noir-tinged detective story elevated to the heights of delicious farce!” Zachary Stewart in TheaterMania said, “This musical-whodunit relies on just two performers to act, sing, dance, and play all of the music. It is an incredible feat of athletic theatricality to behold . . . it is thrilling to watch these two performers.”

Jeff Blumenkrantz performed on Broadway in Into the Woods (1987), Threepenny Opera (1989), Damn Yankees (1994), How to Succeed in Business… (1995), and A Class Act (2001), as well as Off-Broadway in Murder for Two (Lortel Award nomination) and in the City Center Encores production of Anyone Can Whistle. His regional theater credits include productions at La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Kennedy Center, Long Wharf, and Asolo. On camera, Jeff can be seen in 30 Rock, The Good Wife, Ugly Betty, Joseph … Dreamcoat, Will and Grace, Law and Order, and the PBS telecasts of the New York Philharmonic concerts of Sweeney Todd and Candide. Also a musical theatre composer/lyricist, Jeff received a Tony Award nomination as one of the co-writers of the score of Urban Cowboy. He is the recipient of the 2011 Fred Ebb Award as well as commissions from Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Guggenheim Works and Process. Most recently, he released a CD titled I’ve Been Played: Alysha Umphress Swings Jeff Blumenkrantz, featuring his jazz songs and arrangements. His songs have been recorded by Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, Rebecca Luker, and Victoria Clark, among others. To hear Jeff’s music, check out The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook Podcast by visiting either iTunes or www.jeffblumenkrantz.com.

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 upcoming 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, which will premiere in February 2016, and this past winter he was invited to participate in the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed to develop his latest project Passing Through. www.brettryback.com

Kinosian, who plays The Suspects from July 10 through 19, 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; Joe was also nominated for Best Actor as The Suspects. Murder for Two had its Off-Broadway premiere at Second Stage Uptown, going on to a year-long run at New World Stages. Joe’s work with Kellen Blair has been showcased at The Kennedy Center, The York Theater, and on Broadway at the Theatre World Awards. Joe received the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and the Harrington Award from the BMI Workshop. Joe also appeared in Dirty Blonde with Emily Skinner (Hangar Theater) and the NYC premiere of Dear Edwina Off-Broadway. www.kinosianandblair.com

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.

Produced by Jayson Raitt, Barbara Whitman, Steven Chaikelson and Second Stage Theatre, Murder for Two first played New York in a limited summer engagement at Second Stage Theatre Uptown (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director, Casey Reitz, Executive Director and Christopher Burney, Curator and Associate Artistic Director) in the summer of 2013. It was extended twice, due to popular demand, before transferring to New World Stages for an eight-month run through June 2014.

Murder for Two features choreography by Wendy Seyb, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Andrea Lauer, lighting design by Jason Lyons, and sound design by Jill BC DuBoff.

The original cast recording of Murder for Two was produced by Joel Moss and executive produced by Kurt Deutsch. The CD album features complete lyrics, never-before-seen photos, a show synopsis by creators Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair and an essay by Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz.

Murder for Two was recently published by Samuel French and is available for purchase on their website, www.samuelfrench.com.

Murder for Two was developed at The Adirondack Theatre Festival and 42nd Street Moon. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented the world premiere production in May, 2011, which was extended four times, running for more than six months. Kinosian and Blair were recognized with a 2011 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical.

Tickets are available in-person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, via phone at 310.208.5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.org.

Book and Music by Joe Kinosian
Book and Lyrics by Kellen Blair
Directed by Scott Schwartz

Jeff Blumenkrantz as The Suspects through July 9 and resuming July 24
Joe Kinosian as The Suspects July 10 through July 23
Brett Ryback as Marcus

Choreography by Wendy Seyb
Scenic design by Beowulf Boritt
Costume design by Andrea Lauer
Lighting design by Jason Lyons
Sound design by Jill BC DuBoff

Now through August 2, 2015

Monday No performance*
Tuesday – Friday 8:00pm
Saturday 3:00pm; 8:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm; 7:00pm
*There will be no performance on 6/17/15 and an 8:00pm Monday performance on 6/15/15.

Ticket prices currently range from $69-$74 and are available in-person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, via phone at 310.208.5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.org. Fees may apply.

Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
www.geffenplayhouse.org or 310.208.5454

Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the not-for-profit organization continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates, and is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Interim Managing Director Gil Cates Jr., and Co-Chairs of the Board Martha Henderson and Pamela Robinson Hollander. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

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