From writers Jose Kinosian and Kellen Blair comes MURDER FOR TWO. The musical centers on the adventures of a small town policeman, Officer Marcus Moscowicz, who dreams of one day becoming a detective. The story follows what happens when the wannabe detective jumps at the chance at a case – the murder of the Great American Novelist Arthur Whitney. In no time at all, Marcus takes on the case to hunt down whodunit. He makes his way down his list of suspects – an interesting group of people. Could it have been the prima ballerina, Barette Lewis? Or was it was Arthur’s suspiciously friendly psychiatrist, Dr. Griff? Maybe it was his wife, the former actress Dahlia Whitney.
Marcus is on the case, and has little time before the real detective shows up. The musical’s cast recording reflects every suspect’s story, as well as Marcus’ anxieties.
The original cast recording for MURDER FOR TWO is just as eccentric, fun, and unique as one would expect. The most interesting part about this story and its score is that two actors voice the 13 characters in the story. Brett Ryback takes on the role as Marcus, acting alongside Jeff Blumenkrantz who plays all the suspects.
Jeff Blumenkrantz wows in this recording, as he effortlessly slips into 12 different characters, each with different sounds and accents but with equally humorous stories to tell. What may seem like a dark story is a fine comedy to sit back and listen too. This is not a recording with stand alone songs that can be listened to outside the context of the show, but if one listens to this score from start to finish, they will be immersed in this story of mystery that is packed with clever one liners and thrilling characters.
The vocals on this recording are astonishing. Ryback has the sweet voice you would expect from a pure-hearted aspiring detective, but Blumenkrantz makes the recording as he takes on a different persona in every other song. Blumenkrantz goes from scene-stealing Dahlia Whitney, to an optimistic fireman, to a pair of two nine-year-old boys, and so many more throughout the shows musical score.
The two have incredible vocal chemistry, as their voices mesh together perfectly in “A Friend Like You,” where Ryback’s voice soars and Blumenkrantz voices the dynamic Dr. Griff. Of course, it’s easy to have chemistry with someone else, but Blumenkrantz shows what it means to have chemistry with yourself. Playing two characters all at once, Blumenkrantz manages what seems to be impossible – going from one character to the next with no hesitation. It’s hard to really get into a character, and he manages to get into 13, transitioning effortlessly from one to the other.
These are not songs to dance to or to sing along with, but rather this music tells a creative story that will have you hooked. The album seems to be more like a musical audiobook of sorts than a traditinal cast recording with individual songs. The tracks fall effortlessly into one another, and the story is expertly weaved throughout the score. Listeners can listen from start to finish and feel like they are watching the show as it unfolds.
Murder for Two by Jose Kinosian / Kellen Blair was released Feb 11, 2014 on the Razor & Tie label.
Album Track Listing:
1 Murder for Two: Prelude
2 Murder for Two: Waiting In The Dark
3 Murder for Two: Protocol Says
4 Murder for Two: Dahlia Says
5 Murder for Two: A Perfectly Lovely Surprise
6 Murder for Two: Murray & Barb Flandon
7 Murder for Two: It Was Her
8 Murder for Two: Timmy, Yonkers, & Skid
9 Murder for Two: A Lot Woise
10 Murder for Two: Steph Whitney
11 Murder for Two: He Needs A Partner
12 Murder for Two: Barrette Lewis
13 Murder for Two: So What If I Did?
14 Murder for Two: A Friend Like You
15 Murder for Two: Henry Vivaldi
16 Murder for Two: Process Of Elimination
17 Murder for Two: Steppin’ Out Of The Shadows
18 Murder for Two: Finale (I Need A Patner / Protocol Says)
19 Murder for Two: Finale Ultimo (A Friend Like You)