Hope Summer Repertory Theatre is opening its 48th season with “Murder for Two,” a comedic, musical homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries, on Friday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
The production will continue on June 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m., with an additional 1:30 p.m. performance on June 8.
“Murder for Two” walks the audience through a full-fledged crime investigation, using some light adult humor, when an acclaimed novelist is murdered at his surprise birthday party. Its 13 roles are performed entirely by two actors, with one wittily investigating the crime while the other portrays all the suspects — and both play the piano.
The New York Times named “Murder for Two” a Critics’ Pick, calling the New York City production “Ingenious! A snazzy double-act!” Frontiers Media praised the Los Angeles production as “an ingenious and drop-dead funny play that wows on every single theatrical level.” The Tampa Bay Times noted, “So, who killed the novelist? It’s almost beside the point. You might change your mind several times on the way to the end, which is part of what makes the show a fun, vaudevillian ride.”
The production, written by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, premiered at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in May of 2011, running for a little over six months. The creative masterminds behind the production were awarded the 2011 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best New Musical. “Murder for Two” completed consecutive runs at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre in 2013, and then the New World Stages until June of 2014. The national tour of the production then ran from November 2014 to May of 2016. The musical play has also been translated into multiple languages, and performed abroad in nations including China and Argentina.
HSRT’s production of “Murder for Two” is directed by Maggie Spanuello. The creative team includes Alex Thompson as music director, Alan Piotrowicz as lighting designer, Anthony Paul-Cavaretta as costume designer, Tyler Knowles as media and sound designer, and Stephen Hudson-Mairet as scenic designer.
The cast includes New York City actor Paul Helm, (who revisits the production for the fifth time) as The Detective, and Los Angeles film and stage actor Ben Van Diepen, as The Suspects. Individual tickets for “Murder for Two” range from $28 to $35 for Orchestra/Balcony seating and $32 to $40 for Mezzanine/Table Seating. Tickets for audience members under the age of 18 are $15.
Tickets and season packages may be purchased through the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at 616-395-7890. Tickets can also be purchased online .
The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue between 10th and 13th streets.