Actor Jo Kinosian will appear in the Merrimack Repertory Theatre's upcoming performance of Murder for Two. COURTESY PHOTO

MERRIMACK REPERTORY THEATRE: Murder for Two, to Open with Original Star and Co-creator

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Martin Landry plays the detective in MRT's Murder for Two. COURTESY PHOTO

Martin Landry plays the detective in MRT’s Murder for Two. COURTESY PHOTO

Joe Kinosian, the original star and co-creator of the Off-Broadway sensation Murder for Two will lead the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) cast of the musical-comedy whodunit Oct. 17 – Nov. 11 at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall, according to Artistic Director Sean Daniels and Executive Director Bonnie J. Butkas.

 Murder for Two, framed by the authors, Kinosian and Kellen Blair, as The Marx Brothers meet Agatha Christie, will be the second show of MRT’s 40th Anniversary Season and its 264th production since 1979. For tickets or information, visit mrt.org, or call the Box Office at 978-654-4678.

 “A hilarious musical whodunit,” according to The New Yorker, Murder for Two played Off-Broadway for nearly two years and earned a slew of Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards and nominations. The New York Times called the show, “Ingenious! A snazzy double-act.”

 Making his New England debut in the show, Kinosian plays all six of the suspects in the murder mystery, and he will be joined by Martin Landry as the detective in this original musical with book and music by Kinosian and book and lyrics by Blair. JC Clementz will direct.

 Part Vaudeville, part murder mystery spoof, Murder for Two features one murder, two actors, six suspects, and one piano, wildly shared by both actors. In the zany story, every guest has a motive. Was it the prima ballerina, the widow, the niece, the psychiatrist, or even the detective? The two actors play 13 roles in the homage to everything from Agatha Christie to “Murder She Wrote” to the board game Clue.

 A veteran of more than 700 performances in the role, Kinosian said his grandmother showed him his first Marx Brothers film as preschooler. “Their anarchic combination of intellectual screwball wordplay and physical zaniness has never stopped appealing to me. Like Vaudeville, we definitely wanted to channel that comedically broad ‘anything for a laugh’ approach.”

 Kinosian has played the role in a two-year tour of America, as well as in productions in Korea, Japan, England, and China. His New York credits as an actor also include the cult favorite Dear Edwina. His regional theatre credits include The Nerd, An Act of God, and Dirty Blond with Emily Skinner.

 Recipients of the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award for excellence in musical theatre, Kinosian and Blair debuted the musical in 2013 at the Chicago Shakespeare Festival and won the Jefferson Award for Best New Musical. Blair won the Bay Area Critics Award for Best Musical, with composer Larry Grossman, for Scrooge in Love.

 Landry’s credits include the national tour of Murder for Two and the Off-Broadway productions of Dragons Love Tacos and Dear Edwina. A longtime affiliate of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, director Clementz lists Irving Berlin’s I Love a Piano and The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith among his credits.

 In addition to Clementz, the creative team includes Regina Garcia, Scenic Designer; Misti Bradford, Costumer Designer; Aimee Hanyzewski, Lighting Designer; and David Remedio, Sound Designer. The Production Stage Manager will be Nicole Kutcher.

Circle Health serves as the 2018/19 Season Sponsor; Lowell Five, Murder for Two Production Sponsor; and WCAP and WBUR, Media Sponsors.

 BOX OFFICE

For tickets to Murder for Two, October 17 – November 11, 2018, or subscriptions, visit www.mrt.org or contact the MRT Box Office at 978-654-4678. Subscriptions for any three shows start at only $73 (Previews, Zone C seating).

 2 for $40

In celebration of the 40th Anniversary Season, MRT will offer a limited number of seats at “2 for $40” for all performances throughout the season with Promo Code Happy40th. (Select seats only, strictly limited availability.)