Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review: A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder Through October 11 at Bank of America Theatre

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multigenerational fun

National Touring Company. (L-R)  Kristen Beth Williams as Sibella Hallward, Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro and Adrienne Eller as Phoebe D'Ysquith in a scene from "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder." Photo credit: Joan Marcus.  

We're completely charmed by this marvelously macabre musical and highly recommend it! This show makes a great parents' night out and a top pick for multigenerational fun. It was our great pleasure to catch opening night in Chicago and we're thrilled to report A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder is exceptionally enjoyable and entertaining. It's an absolute must see in a fall filled with impressive productions on the Chicago scene. Don't miss THIS! The tour moves on after October 11th, so don't delay. Book your tickets now, if you haven't already.

National Touring Company. (L-R) Lesley McKinnell as Miss Barley, Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro and John Rapson as Asquith D’Ysquith, Jr. in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

We had high expectations for the 2014 Tony Award winning musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, but it exceeded our expectations in every way. This show is basically a two man tour de force with a skilled supporting cast. And every element from the set design, costumes, score, live orchestra, and multimedia screens all amplify and showcase the hilarious talents of John Rapson who gets to die on stage 8 times as the eight D'Ysquith heirs, and Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro.

National Touring Company. (L-R) John Rapson as Henry D’Ysquith, Megan Loomis, Kevin Massey as  Monty Navarro in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

This is one wacky revenge fantasy, carried out with such creativity and finesse that the audience is absolutely rooting for the mass murderer. Of course you don't want to creep out the very young with a murderous musical, but most kids elementary and up would find this show fabulously fun. 


National Touring Company.  The cast with John Rapson as Lady Hyacinth D’Ysquith in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus.


John Rapson was beyond brilliant in the role of the eight D’Ysquith heirs and Kevin Massey charmed everyone as Monty Navarro, with a winning smile and a roughish glint in his eye. The First National Tour previewed at Proctors in Schenectady before beginning performances at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre (18 W. Monroe) through October 11, 2015.

National Touring Company. John Rapson as Lord Adalbert D’Ysquith in a scene from "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder." Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

The Gentleman’s Guide Tour also features Kristen Beth Williams (Sibella Hallward), Adrienne Eller (Phoebe D’Ysquith), and Mary VanArsdel (Miss Shingle). The Tour also includes Christopher BehmkeSarah EllisMatt LeisyMegan LoomisDani MarcusLesley McKinnellKristen Mengelkoch,David Scott PurdyChuck Ragsdale, and Ben Roseberry.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder features a book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. Direction is by Darko Tresnjak, with choreography by Peggy Hickey. The design team includes Alexander Dodge (Scenic Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), Philip S. Rosenberg (Lighting Design), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound Design), Aaron Rhyne (Projections Design), Charles LaPointe (Wig Design), and Brian Strumwasser (Make-Up Design). Orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick and Vocal Arrangements are by Dianne Adams McDowell and Steven Lutvak. Paul Staroba serves as Music Supervisor, and Larry Goldberg serves as Music Director.

National Touring Company. (L-R) Kristen Beth Williams as Sibella Hallward, Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro, Matt Leisy, and Adrienne Eller as Phoebe in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus. 

Gentleman’s Guide tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession, by any means necessary. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

The most celebrated musical of the 2013-14 Broadway season, Gentleman’s Guide received ten 2014 Tony® Award nominations, eventually winning four awards: Best Musical, Direction of a Musical, Book of a Musical, and Best Costume Design. In addition, it won the Best Musical prizes from the Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle, and received a 2015 Grammy® Award nomination for Best Musical Show Album.

Gentleman's Guide opened at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre to overwhelming critical acclaim in November 2013 where The New York Times raved “Gentleman’s Guide will lift the hearts of all those who’ve been pining for what sometimes seems a lost art form.” The Hollywood Reporter enthusedGentleman’s Guide “Restores our faith in musical comedy!” And Time Magazine said “Just as I was about to give up on musicals, along comes A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder!”

For more information on Gentleman’s Guide, visit         


JOHN RAPSON (The D’Ysquith Family). Broadway: Les Misérables (Grantaire/Bamatabois, u/s Javert, u/s Thénardier). Tour and Regional: Les Misérables,Disney On Classic (with the Tokyo Philharmonic), Sweeney ToddBrigadoon. BFA, University of Michigan. Infinite love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Alex, Stella, Chris and the gents of CGF, the family dinner crew, and the utterly extraordinary Gent’s Guide team. Humbled and honored to be part of this brilliant piece. Now and then pigs CAN fly. This one’s for Pat.

KEVIN MASSEY (Monty Navarro). Broadway: Gentleman's GuideMemphis (u/s Huey), Tarzan (u/s Tarzan), Deaf West’s Big River, NYCO’s Antony & Cleopatra (Eros), originated Almanzo in Little House...Prairie (1st Nat., Paper Mill, Guthrie) and D’Artagnan in Three Musketeers (Chicago Shakespeare). Europe: Tarzan (Tarzan), Grease! (Doody). Regional: Asolo Rep’s Bonnie & Clyde (Ted), Utah Shakes’ & Kansas City Rep’s Pippin (Pippin), Skylight Music Theater's Les Mis (Marius), MUNY’s Footloose (Willard). UNC, Morehead-Cain Scholar. Proud husband to Kara Lindsay! Love to my family.

KRISTEN BETH WILLIAMS (Sibella Hallward) is delighted to join this deliciously devilish company! West End: Top Hat (Dale Tremont). Broadway: Pippin; Nice Work...; Anything Goes; Promises, Promises. Other NYC: The Marvelous Wonderettes (Off-Bway), Encores!, appearances at Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. Regional: Big Fish (Sandra, Alpine Theatre Project), White Christmas (Betty Haynes, Ordway), Music Theatre of Wichita, Ogunquit, Paper Mill, to name a few. Love & thanks to Dustin, Jason, Jay, and Darko, to "The Fam" always, and to Jimmy-my home. Proud AEA member. BFA Univ. of OK. @KBDubsNYC

National Touring Company. Kristen Beth Williams as Sibella Hallward and Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

ADRIENNE ELLER (Phoebe D’Ysquith). Recent graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama under the New Studio on Broadway. Regional: Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (NSMT/TBTS) and Natalie in Next to Normal (Farmers Alley Theater). Proud member of AEA. Immense thanks to the GGLAM team, Binder Casting, Professional Artists, the New Studio on Broadway, and Mom and Dad.

National Touring Company. Adrienne Eller as Phoebe D’Ysquith and Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

MARY VANARSDEL (Miss Shingle). National Tour: Mary Poppins (original Bird Woman). Off-Broadway: Rebecca (54 Below), Cole Porter’s Paris. Regional: Mrs. Brill (Mary Poppins), Mama Rose (Gypsy), Carlotta (Yeston/Kopit’s Phantom), Lily Byrne (A Man of No Importance), and dozens more. Film/TV: “In the Line of Fire,” “LA Law,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Miracles,” and many more. Recording: “When at Night I Go to Sleep.” Proud member of Actors’ Equity. @mvsings

National Touring Company. (L-R) Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro  and Mary VanArsdel as Miss Shingle in a scene from "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder." Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

LESLEY McKINNELL (Miss Barley). Past professional experiences include playing witches, a burlesque performer, fairytale muses, a sexless virgin, and a non-drag version of Barbra Streisand, among others. Special thanks to MR, SL, Mom & Dad! @lesleymckinnell

KRISTEN MENGELKOCH (Lady Eugenia). Off-Broadway: NEWSical the Musical and Forbidden Broadway. Regional: Geva Theatre, Cape Playhouse, PlayMakers Rep, Gateway, Moonlight, North Coast Rep, SCRT, among others. Television: “Veronica Mars.” Education: MFA, San Diego State University; BFA, Emporia State University.

CHRISTOPHER BEHMKE (Magistrate). Int’l Tours: West Side Story. Off-Broadway: Mama & Her Boys. Regional: CabaretLes MisMiss SaigonHound of the Baskervilles. Chris also works with Project Creo, a nonprofit that uses creativity & love to empower children.

SARAH ELLIS (Swing/Dance Captain). Regional: Ogunquit, Pittsburgh CLO, Northshore, KC Starlight, Westchester Bway, WV Public. NYC: Stardust Road: The Hoagy Carmichael Musical, Musicals Tonight! BFA Penn State (WE ARE!). Endless gratitude to teachers, fam & friends-love to DR. @sell_is

MATT LEISY (Tom Copley). Off-Broadway: The Fantasticks, Carousel (PBS). Regional: Cincinnati Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, Arizona Theatre Co., Arden Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Favorites: 39 StepsRagtimeRedImportance of Being Earnest, The History Boys. Graduate: Northwestern

MEGAN LOOMIS (Tour Guide). National Tours: War Horse (Paulette), Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett Standby), Cabaret (Helga). Off-Broadway: Alllegro(Beulah, Classic Stage Company). Regional: GeVa, Ogunquit, Merry-Go-Round, Flat Rock, NC Theatre, Maltz-Jupiter Theatre. Education: Eastman School of Music.

National Touring Company. The cast with Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro (left) and Megan Loomis as Tour Guide (right) in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

DANI MARCUS (Swing). Off-Broadway: The Pirates of Penzance. Regional: Created the role of Harriet in Jane Austen’s Emma (The Old Globe, TheatreWorks), Beach Blanket BabylonSpelling Bee (SJ Rep). Love and gratitude to Timothy, Tijuana, and Jon Call.

DAVID SCOTT PURDY (Swing). NYC: A Christmas Story (Madison Square Garden); Lady, Be Good (Encores!); Zorba (Encores!). National Tour: The Producers. Regional: Anything Goes (North Shore Music Theatre). Love to Kate, Brothers, Mom, and Cleo.

CHUCK RAGSDALE (Swing) has toured the US with multiple black and white canines, frolicked with a singing cannibal Off-Broadway, and played girly princes, suicidal factory workers, and dudes with accents regionally. For my best and favorite PAL.

BEN ROSEBERRY (Chief Inspector Pinckney) Broadway/National Tour: The Lion King, Rent. Off-Broadway: Fugitive Songs, Emma. Countless regional, workshops and readings. Front man for The Fractured Years. Thanks to Sarah, the family, Darko, Binder, and Professional Artists! @Ben_Roseberry

National Touring Company. The cast with John Rapson as Lord Adalbert D’Ysquith (red) in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo credit: Joan Marcus. 

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