‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ at Stamford’s Curtain Call
If you like your murder mysteries laced with humor, you’ll want to see “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at Stamford’s Kweskin Theatre. The musical farce, which earned four Tony Awards in 2014, will be presented by Curtain Call, Inc., Friday, March 29, through Saturday, April 27.
“The plot is sort of described in the title, ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,’ says director John Atkin. “A gentleman discovers, soon after his mother’s death, that he is ninth in line to be the heir of the D’Ysquith family — a very wealthy family in England. At first accidentally, and then as it moves along, he starts to realize it may be easier than he thought to get rid of the eight ahead of him...”
Atkin said the audience can expect all kinds of twists and turns, along with a lesson on the many unique ways murder can be committed. He said one aspect of the show that’s especially humorous is how actor Michael Wright plays all the members of the D’Ysquith family.
“The person playing the D’Ysquith family is a hilarious, hilarious actor who literally at times has me gasping for air at rehearsals because he finds new ways to put humor into the characters.” (Not only are they different ages, they’re also different genders).
Atkin said there’s all kinds of hi-jinx involved in the lead-up to each murder. He said “the humor in the dialogue is nonstop” and the relationships between the characters are also entertaining — particularly those involving Monty Navarro. Greedy in more ways than one, Monty is the guy who wants the family fortune to himself; meanwhile he’s busy juggling his fiancée and a mistress.
This lively musical, by Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, is based on Roy Horniman’s 1907 novel, “Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal.” That book also inspired the comedic British film, “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” in 1949, according to Lou Ursone, Curtain Call’s executive director and the show’s producer.
Atkin said he’s been fascinated with musical theater since he was a kid. His grandmother was a fan of “South Pacific” and his father “listened incessantly to ‘The Music Man.’”
Though Atkin did some behind-the-scenes theater work in high school, he didn’t audition for a play until he was in his late 40s. After becoming comfortable with acting, he moved on to directing. It was Ursone who gave him his first opportunity in 2015 (Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” at Curtain Call).
“I want to thank Lou for taking a chance on me,” Atkin said. “I hadn’t directed before, and I just fell in love with the whole process.”
Atkin said he jumped at the chance to direct “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” He said the show has a great cast and audiences will love the production’s “incredibly fun music and really smart dialogue.”
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The Kweskin Theatre at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford. Friday, March 29 - Saturday, April 27. Friday, Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $35 adults, $25 senior citizens, $17.50 children. Thrifty Thursday $27.50 April 18 and 25. No show Easter Sunday, April 21. 203-461-6358, ext.36, www.curtaincallinc.com.