Easter Eggs in MURDER FOR TWO

May 31, 2018
Natalie Hulla
Murder for Two is a madcap murder mystery musical that pays homage to popular artistic genres. Audiences will recognize nods to Agatha Christie’s detective fiction, the Marx Brothers’ comedy, farce, vaudeville and music hall entertainment, and British panto. But if you take a closer look, you’ll recognize even more references to well-known works of theatre, literature, film and music. They have been slyly worked into the production either through the script or from the minds of director Paul Mason Barnes and performers Eric Shorey and Eric Van Tielen.

Without spoiling the plot, we’ve created a list of artistic references — aptly named “Easter eggs” — that can be found in this hilarious musical comedy.

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Eric Van Tielen and Eric Shorey in Murder for Two; photo by Mikki Schaffner.


Chicago 
By Maurine Dallas Watkins, Fred Ebb, John Kander and Bob Fosse

Murder, jazz and newspaper fame combine for regular entertainment in 1920s’ Chicago. Starry-eyed chorus girl Roxie Hart lands herself on the county jail’s “murderess row” — and in the paper — after she shoots her lover dead.

Found in Murder for Two: A character envies the low-brow notoriety of this merry murderess.



Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

The Scottish play spins a dark tale of power-hungry Macbeth, who, alongside his cunning wife Lady Macbeth, forges a violent path to the throne no matter the psychological turmoil it inflicts.

Found in Murder for Two: A character tries to out a damn spot.



Medea
By Euripides

This ancient Greek tragedy finds Medea seeking revenge on her husband by killing their two sons as punishment for his betrayal.

Found in Murder for Two: A character begs, "Medea, the children!”



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Eric Van Tielen in Murder for Two; photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Ten Little Indians By Agatha Christie

Ten Little Indians
(which was later republished as And Then There Were None) follows 10 strangers who have been invited to an isolated English mansion. They soon learn that their host has gathered incriminating information on each of them and that there is a killer in their midst.

Found in Murder for Two: A character brags about their crime-solving abilities because they predicted who the killer would be in this novel.



The Godfather
(1972) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and Written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola

This epic crime drama presents a portrait of the Corleone family, who operates under the control of patriarch and crime boss, Don Vito, played by Hollywood icon Marlon Brando.

Found in Murder for Two: A character has both the unique vocal cadence and deep appreciation for respecting the dead that’s reminiscent of Brando’s Don Vito.



Fatal Attraction
(1987) Directed by Adrian Lyne and Written by James Dearden

When a married man has a brief affair with a colleague-turned-lover-turned-stalker, he underestimates the terrifying impact it will have on his life and his family.

Found in Murder for Two: A character insists they “will not be ignored!”



To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel weaves a harrowing tale of honor and injustice in the southern town of Maycomb through the perspective of its young narrator, Scout.

Found in Murder for Two: A character claims their childhood is suspiciously similar to Scout’s.



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Eric Shorey in Murder for Two; photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Psycho (1960) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Doomed protagonist Marian encounters the eerie Bates Motel while traveling to meet her lover. The spooky property is run by a strange and lonely man and his domineering mother.

Found in Murder for Two: A character mimics that terrifying shower scene.



Misery By Stephen King, Film Adaptation (1990) Directed by Rob Reiner and Written by William Goldman, Stage Adaptation (2017) Written by William Goldman

A famed novelist is held captive after a car crash by a book-obsessed nurse who describes herself as his “number one fan.” The deranged bibliophile administers the writer’s recovery but not without flexing moral strictness and superiority.

Found in Murder for Two: A character uses the nurse’s colorful forms of verbal insult.

Learn more about the Playhouse’s upcoming production of Misery, which opens the 2018-19 Marx Theatre season, on our production detail page.



“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

This groundbreaking 1983 music video features Jackson as he and a group of zombies engage in monstrous dance choreography that viewers still recognize today.

Found in Murder for Two: A character engages in said monstrous dance choreography that viewers will recognize today.

To learn more about the Playhouse’s production of Murder for Two, visit our production detail page.

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