'A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder' to open at UJ
If you go
What: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” a musical comedy
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 7-9
Where: DeNault Auditorium, Reiland Fine Arts Center, University of Jamestown
Tickets: $10; $25 for season tickets, available at the door or by reservation, 252-3467, ext. 5435, or uj.edu/musical. Free for UJ students, employees.
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” takes a humorous look at murdering relatives to get rich.
The University of Jamestown Theatre Department production will be Nov. 7-9 in the Reiland Fine Arts Center.
Mike McIntyre, UJ director of theatre, said the musical comedy, which won a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2014, is based on a book from 1907. “Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal,” by Roy Horniman, is the serious story of a man who works his way to the top of the family fortune. His mother was disowned and cut out of the family fortune because of the man she fell in love with, McIntyre said.
“When the central character, Monty, has this secret told to him he then comes up with plans to how he can eliminate the other eight people he knows stands in the line of succession in front of him before he comes across the family fortune,” he said.
McIntyre said the musical plays that with as much comedy as it can get out of the situation. Much of the humor comes from the way in which Monty Navarro gets rid of the D'Ysquith family members, he said.
Despite Monty’s behavior, “The way the show is written you still end up liking him and wanting to see him succeed,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre said the biggest “gimmick” about the play is that one actor plays all of the D'Ysquith family members, male and female.
“... That’s really the most memorable thing about the show itself,” McIntyre said.
Alex Delzer has the role of Monty, while Shane Chandler plays the members of the D'Ysquith family.
The musical's book and lyrics are by Robert L. Freedman with music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. In selecting the musical that opened on Broadway in 2013 and "had a nice little run," McIntyre said it appealed because it’s a new musical, one the students didn’t typically know much about that has a mix of old-fashioned musical comedy and new humor.
“But one of the things that makes it so unique is that musically it sounds like it’s out of the era in which it is set, which is … very early 1900s,” he said.
Emma Bennett plays one of Monty’s love interests, a woman named Sibella. Bennett describes her as a “minx.”
““She has a lot of energy and a lot of goals and aspirations and not always the most moral way to get to those things,” she said.
Bennett, a sophomore, is performing in her first musical at UJ but has performed in other plays in high school and one previously at UJ.
I think everyone that’s in it (the musical) loves it partially just because it’s so funny, it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen or worked on or anything,” she said.
The cast has 24 UJ students and there is an orchestra made up of 14 UJ students and community members, McIntyre said.
Rick Wallentine, UJ professor of voice, is responsible for music direction, Jackie Mangnall and Penny Briese are in charge of costume design, and Amanda Arvay is choreographer.
Two other productions are also planned during the season. “Middletown” will be in February, and “An Enemy of the People” in April. That will be followed by the “Evening of One Acts,” original plays written and directed by UJ students.
“We are still selling season tickets if people are interested before the first show happens, to get a great deal on all four of them,” McIntyre said. Tickets are available at the box office and at the door on the days of the musical.