Cut from the Same Cloth: Popular Murder Mystery Musicals & their Tropes

by Thomas Gallogly

Although the show made its Off-Broadway debut in 2013, many common theatre-goers will notice that Murder For Two is cut from the same cloth as some of musical theatre’s most renowned murder mystery classics. From the common practice of having one actor portray many characters to the gender-bending antics this popular genre entails, many audience members are guaranteed to enjoy the familiar styles and techniques Murder For Two presents.

SomethingsAfoot.jpgThe Mystery of Edwin Drood (1985).jpgclue.jpg

The Mousetrap (1952)
This murder mystery play by Agatha Christie has been running in London for over 65 years. Currently standing as the longest running show in the West End’s history, The Mousetrap is best-known for its plot-twist ending.

Something’s Afoot (1973)
Having celebrated runs on both Broadway and in the West End, this Olivier®-nominated musical is very popular amongst regional and educational theatre settings across the country.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1985)
Having won 5 Tony Awards® in 1986, including Best Musical, this show is best known for its multiple ending variations, gender-bending antics, and farcical comedic humor.

Clue (1997)
Based on the popular American board game, this lesser-known musical theatre piece celebrated an Off-Broadway run in 1997 and is best known for its stereotypical upper-class setting.

Curtains (2007)
This nine-time Tony®-nominated musical is hailed as one of Kander & Ebb’s (Chicago, Cabaret) lesser known musicals. It is best known for its “show-within-a-show” structure and uniquely structured ending.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014)
Having won four Tony Awards® in 2014, including Best Musical, this show is best known for its unique structure and its presentation of having a single actor play a total of seven different characters.

 

Pictured above: Something’s Afoot by Taproot Theatre Company; The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Joan Marcus; Clue by Bucks County Playhouse.

 

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