2 actors, 14 characters add up to a fabulous farce at the Mountain Playhouse
It's not exactly a fair split — two actors playing 14 characters with one guy portraying 13 of them — but Martin Landry is having a ball as the baker's dozen of suspects in Mountain Playhouse's production of “Murder for Two.”
He's also keeping Brandon Lambert busy as Detective Marcus, the police officer investigating the crime in the musical murder mystery by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian opening Sept. 19 for a two-week run at the Jennerstown theater.
“This is one of my favorite roles in one of my favorite shows,” says Landry. “First off, the show is hilarious. Every single character is a very unique individual, which is a kind way of saying they're all slightly crazy. To be able to play so many different people with lightning-fast changes while playing the piano while telling a truly compelling story is a dream-come-true.”
“And to do all that at one of my favorite theaters while working with Brandon Lambert and (Director) Guy Stroman? It just doesn't get better than this.”
Both Landry and Lambert have been on national tours of “Murder for Two,” and Lambert recently finished a Canadian run of the show in Calgary.
Lambert also has been busy writing the final show of the Mountain Playhouse season, “At First Sight,” opening Oct. 3, and he recently won BMI Harrington's Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre.
He says it's difficult sometimes not to laugh while he's performing in “Murder for Two.”
“I love doing this show because it's so funny, which also makes it very difficult sometimes, because I want to laugh at Martin — but I'm not supposed to, although sometimes I can't help it,” he admits.
He says no two performances are ever the same because there's a lot of improvisation in the show, which keeps it fresh and funny.
The director says Lambert and Landry are both incredibly skilled in portraying several characters at once.
“They also both are incredible pianists and play the entire score of this show on one piano,” he says. “Together with the talented designers and staff, we are tailor-making this ‘quick-change' spoof of the Agatha Christie-styled murder mysteries for the stage at the Playhouse.”
Stroman has directed numerous productions for Mountain Playhouse, Pittsburgh CLO, nationally and in New York, where his credits include “Always, Patsy Cline” starring Sally Struthers, “The King and I” starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Rachel Bay Jones, and “Driving Miss Daisy” starring Sandy Duncan.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.