Hershey Theatre opened their 2016/17 season with the Tony Award winning musical. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. This musical is an incredible production and I would highly recommend going to see this show. The show is a mix of murder mystery, a nod to the witticism of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals and just plain fun. If you have a chance, catch it at the Hershey Theatre before it departs on November 6, 2016. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder under the direction of Darko Tresnjak is a fun-filled show that is an entertaining ride, and riotously funny.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is a musical comedy that takes place in the beginning of the 20th century revolves around Monty D’Ysquith Navarro, the ninth Earl of Highhurst who at the beginning of the show is in jail, and writing his memoirs in what he thinks could possibly be called “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” The show then proceeds to turn back the clock as he recounts his tale of how he landed in jail and also how he came to discover that he was in the line of succession to earldom. The show is based on the 1907 novel, Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman. The musical has book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. The show won four Tony Awards in 2014 including Best Musical.
In the role of Monty Navarro, a man who discovers he is related to the well-to-do D’Ysquith family, is Kevin Massey. Massey is extremely likable in this part, and he is full of charm. Also, Massey has an incredibly strong voice, and his song, “Foolish to Think” is one of my favorite numbers from the first act. John Rapson has the daunting task of portraying the entire D’Ysquith family throughout the show. He glides seamlessly from one character to the other. He embodies each character, and keeps up the zaniness throughout the show. Kristen Beth Williams plays Sibella Hallward, a socialite who Monty is in love with, but she refuses to marry him because of his poor social status. Williams shines in this role, and her song “I Don’t Know What I’d Do” is magnificent. Kristen Hahn portrays Phoebe D’Ysquith, a distant cousin of Monty, as well as the sister of Henry, who is one of the cousins who is in line for the Earldom. Hahn is brilliant in this role. The best part of the show is a number in which Monty is trying to keep Phoebe and Sibella from discovering each other while they are visiting his home and are in rooms across the hall from one another. This madcap scene is skillfully executed as they sing, “I’ve Decided to Marry You,” and the number is full of farcical charm.
Also worth mentioning is the scenic design by Alexander Dodge, in which this wonderful set takes on the feel of a vaudevillian stage. Also part of the set design is a projectable backdrop through which many visual sight gags are accomplished. Aaron Rhyne is responsible for the projection design. The set and projections draw the audience into the story and provide for a greatly enhanced experience. In addition, this show has gorgeous costumes designed by Linda Cho.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is at the Hershey Theatre through November 6, 2016. For more information and tickets please visit their website at www.hersheytheatre.com or call their box office at 717-534-3405.
Final Thought: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is a fantastic show, and this touring company is outstanding. This show is charming and witty, and audiences will laugh throughout the entire production.
Kelli Curtin is founding editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.
Photos courtesy of Hershey Theatre