On Wednesday, March 23, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder opened at the Ahmanson to near constant laughter and a few snorts (sorry, it happens when I laugh so hard). Jane Kaczmarek, Darren Criss, Jim Piddock, and Marion Ross were among those in the packed house for the show, which won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical. In Gentleman’s Guide, poor distant heir Monty Navarro has to off eight of his relatives in order to inherit the family fortune. I’m in the money with only four reasons as to why you should watch him try to accomplish his task before the curtain drops at the Ahmanson on May 1.
1. John Rapson
Rapson plays all eight of the snotty, rich D’Ysquith family members that Monty (Kevin Massey) has to eliminate—in hilarious ways—before he can get the loot. From the Reverend Lord Ezekial D’Ysquith to Lady Hyacinth D’Ysquith—it’s all Rapson. He is hysterical. Last night at the after-show party at nearby Vespaio, he regaled theatre-goers with stories of near misses involving his numerous quick-changes.
2. The Music
Steven Luvak composed the music and co-wrote lyrics with Robert L. Freedman. The music is orchestrated by EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Jonathan Tunick. Songs like “A Warning to the Audience” and “Better With a Man” are so witty they snap.
3. “I’ve Decided to Marry You”
This is the show-stopping number in act two,performed by Monty, his fiancé Phoebe (Adrienne Eller), and his mistress Sibella (Kristen Beth Williams). Last night, the Applause-O-Meter rated this song the best in show as Monty tries to juggle both women in his house without them discovering each other.
4. The Story
This play is non-stop funny. Pop the button off your pants kind of stuff. I almost missed some of the dialogue because the fellas next to me were loud guffaw-ers. When Major Lord Bartholomew D’Ysquith’s (and whatever vegetable they stuffed in his pants) number is up, my eyes were watering.