Monday, May 23, 2011
Murder for 2- A Killer Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre)
You ever heard of this fella, Alan Schmuckler? Apparently he is the hottest shit in town. Everybody talks about him like he is the musical theatre equivalent to say... Joe Dempsey or sweet Jon Steinhagen.
In fact, they put on the press release something to the effect of, "Alan Schmuckler, creator of Musical Theatre"...
Anyway, this Alan Schmuckler character is the real deal. You can tell because he can play piano and sing at the same time. He can play piano, sing AND stay in character the whole time!
Did you ever hear of "Ten Little Indians"? It's sort of this high brow Agatha Christie style murder mystery where there has been a murder at a house and a detective comes over and has to figure out who the killer is. The suspects are usually people who were close to the victim but didn't like him (it's always a him).
I will give you an example.
Pembroke Jameson is a wealthy nightclub owner and mystery novelist who happens to be writing his final opus about a wealthy nightclub owner and novelist who is murdered by someone he is close to at his home at his surprise birthday party. When the detective arrives, his closest friends stand in complete disinterest at his filthy bullet ridden body on the floor before them.
There is the maid, a tramp named Tina who once dated Jameson's old high school teacher, but broke it off when Jameson took everything in a bank foreclosure. The wife, an aging starlet known around Hollywood for her engaging and elegant blowjob style. The nephew, next in line for the family business. A dirty hobo wanderer that happens to be staying with the family performing menial tasks like cleaning the weapon collection. A visiting baseball player/state senator that was holding an important secret about something. And a trained killer that is well known around the world for murdering important business men.
Which of these people is holding the secret to this unspeakable crime!?
So this is the sort of plot line that you find with these sorts of things. Let me tell you what makes this piece different.
There are only 2 actors, and it is a musical.
This dude Alan Schmuckler plays the detective through the whole thing, so... that's not super interesting, but he is really really really good at it. He wears this jacket and has this songbird voice and this sweet curly hair and he is just...oh man, I am shivering right now just thinking about him.
All the other characters are played by this bro from New York called Joe Kinosian. From what I can tell, Kinosian is about 7 feet tall and about 85 pounds. He looks sort of like the REALLY gay guy from "Will and Grace", Not the sort of gay guy, or the lady.
He sort of sounds like him too. Come to think of it, IS he the really gay guy from "Will and Grace"?
Whatever, no use worrying about it now.
Anyway, this man Kinosian plays all these characters and plays piano and has a good singing voice, but what makes him so special, is that he also wrote the music for the show. There's something about talent like that that you can not describe. Watching this dude run around and do these voices and sing and dance and have just fucking perfect comic timing, there's just no way to say what it is. Let's make up a word with Latin roots. Beneanthrodominator. That means the best master man.
Sure, the show is maybe 10 minutes too long. Sure, there isn't any real message. It's at Navy Pier, so nobody there really cares, they just want a few laughs and a few pretty songs and a dark theater to maybe get a nap in after a long day in the 3D maze or the dinner cruise on the Majestic.
I wish there was a way to get more actors to go out to Chicago Shakes because it is so fucking nice. It is big and clean and fancy and most of us feel totally out of place the minute you walk to the ticket window because there are all these old ladies in slacks, but if you think about it, we are all pretty uncomfortable in every aspect of our lives, so take a chance.
Go and see this play. You will have a fun time and maybe pick up a few pointers about how to be more likable!!
-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach