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Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham in "A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder" at the Walter Kerr Theatre
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Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham in "A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder" at the Walter Kerr Theatre

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Joey Parnes, SD Wagner, John Johnson
et al.
In Association with The Hartford Stage and The Old Globe

Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham
A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder
(Based on a novel by Roy Horniman)
(Show Website)

Book & Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman
Music & Lyrics by Steven Lutvak

Directed by Darko Tresnjak
Choreography: Peggy Hickey

Lisa O’Hare, Lauren Worsham
Jane Carr, Jennifer Smith, Catherine Walker
Jeff Kready, Price Waldman, Joanna Glushak
Eddie Korbich, Roger Purnell

At the
Walter Kerr Theatre
219 West 48th Street

Scenic Design: Alexander Dodge
Costume Design: Linda Cho
Lighting Design: Philip S. Rosenberg
Sound Design: Dan Moses Schreier
Projection Design: Aaron Rhyne
Hair & Wig Design: Charles G. LaPointe
Casting: Binder Casting, Jay Binder/Jason Styres
Orchestrations: Jonathan Tunick
Music Director: Paul Staroba
Vocal Arrangements: Diane
Adams McDowell, Steven Lutvak
Music Coordinator: Seymour Red Press
Production Stage Manager: Tripp Phillips
Advertising & Marketing: Spotco
Press Representative: O&M Co.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 22, 2014 Matinee

Jefferson Mays has outdone himself. In his 2004 production, I Am My Own Wife, a one-man show, he magnificently told the story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. Now, ten years later, he magnificently tells the story of multiple characters in the D’Ysquith family, British royalty, with virtuosic aplomb. Mr. Mays portrays all the characters that stand in the way of Monty Navarro’s (Bryce Pinkham) becoming the ninth Earl of Highhurst, with all the wealth that the position earns. Navarro needs the wealth to solidify his standing with his object of desire, Sibella Hallward (Lisa O’Hare). Navarro learned of his potential societal standing from Miss Shingle (Jane Carr) after the death of his mother, who had slaved as a cleaning woman to support herself and her son. But, this is not a play, but rather a musical, with British operetta in Gilbert and Sullivan-styled patter. The setting is evocative of an old music hall, with stage curtains as set framework, a stage within a stage, thanks to Alexander Dodge.

Darko Tresnjak has directed this brilliant production for seamless timing and hilarious humor, sometimes in double-entendres, such as in “Better with a Man”. Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak collaborated on book, lyrics, and music with soon-to-be-awarded results, a tour de force musical that has taken Broadway by storm. Navarro is smitten with Phoebe D’Ysquith (Lauren Worsham), the only D’Ysquith not in line for Earl, and, with luck, not in line to be “done away with” in Navarro’s rapid, upward mobility. There are few hyperbolic phrases to adequately express the unique professionalism of this new Broadway musical. Mr. Dodge’s sets shift quickly, with assistance from Philip S. Rosenberg’s insightful lighting, such as blotches of red on projected backdrops, as a character falls flat from en high. Dan Moses Schreier’s sound goes silent or soft, when it’s imperative to hear a patter phrase or spoken thought. And, Linda Cho’s costumes make a man more of a man (beekeeper, Henry D’Ysquith), and a man more of a woman (adventuress, Lady Hyacinth D’Ysquith). As seven D’Ysquiths, Mr. Mays rapidly morphs in affect, costume, posture, gestures, vocal accent, gender, and full persona, from one to another. Again, Mr. Tresnjak is to be applauded for detailed, instinctive direction.

Aaron Rhyne’s projection design and Charles G. LaPointe’s hair and wig design add cartoonish clarity to the mayhem. Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s music and lyrics are sing-able, prance-able, hum-able, and memorable. What struck me immediately was the way Mr. Tresnjak lowered the orchestra for each patter song, so lyrics sprung forth with un-muffled gusto. What also struck me at first glance was the originality of Peggy Hickey’s choreography, so fanciful, so cohesive with the ambiance and mood. Kudos to all, and especially kudos to Jefferson Mays, à la all the D’Ysquiths.

Jefferson Mays as Henry D'Ysquith,
Jennifer Smith, Bryce Pinkham as Monty Navarro
in "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Lisa O'Hare as Sibella Hallward,
Bryce Pinkham as Monty Navarro
in "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at