Broadway musicals can bring to life epic historical drama (Les Mis, Hamilton), sweep you up in the spectacle (The Lion King, Dreamgirls) or melt you with romance (West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera).
Or they can just make you laugh.
It’s fair to say to say A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won its 2014 Tony for Best Musical simply by charming voters with its slapstick comedy. The music by Steven Lutvak is enjoyable. The modest set is put to clever use. The story is original. But everything seems slight compared with the abundant humor. This is a play you attend when you simply want to chuckle, snigger and guffaw.
The national tour began a six-day run at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre last night before moving on to several cities across the U.S., including a stop next week in Austin, Texas. It tells the story of a young man at the beginning of the 20th century who learns that he’s ninth in line to inherit the Earldom of Highhurst. Monty Navarro’s relatives, the D’Ysquiths, had cruelly disinherited his mother for marrying a commoner for love. She had to work as a washerwoman to support Monty after her husband passed away.
When Monty discovers the truth about his mother’s family just after her death, he finds himself plotting his way to the title, driven by ambition, love and revenge.
The victims of the numerous titular murders are all played by the same actor, with James Taylor Odom delightfully hamming up each priest, socialite and arrogant noble standing between Monty (Blake Price) and possession of the castle. It’s an enviable role for any actor to stretch his comedic wings and one that won Jefferson Mays two of his many Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards on Broadway. The recurring actor gag and Odom’s physical comedy are the heart of the show’s success.
A love triangle, deception and lots of creative ways to end a life keep the story thrumming along in this quick-paced musical farce that’s the perfect remedy for whatever might be keeping you down.
Visit BroadwayInAtlanta.com or AGentlemansGuideBroadway.com for tickets.
March 13-18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Fox Theatre
March 20-25 – Austin, TX @ Bass Concert Hall
April 4 – Orono, ME @ Collins Center
April 6-7 – New Brunswick, NJ @ State Theatre New Jersey
April 10-11 – Akron, OH @ EJ Thomas Hall
April 12 – West Lafayette, IN @ Elliott Hall of Music
Aprl 14-15 – Macon, GA @ The Grand Opera House
April 17-19 – Wichita, KS @ Century II Concert Hall
April 21 – Galveston, TX @ The Grand 1894 Opera House
April 23 – Valdosta, GA @ Mathis City Auditorium
April 24 – Charleston, SC @ The Gaillard Center
April 26 – Opelika, AL @ Southside Center for the Arts
April 27 – Oxford, AL @ Oxford PAC
April 29 – Conway, AR @ Reynolds Performance Hall
May 1-6 – Milwaukee, WI @ Uihlein Hall
May 9-10 – Logan, UT @ Ellen Eccles Theatre
May 11-12 – Boise, ID @ Morrison Center
May 13 – Butte, MT @ Butte Center for the Performing Arts