Manliness scans differently for women than it does for men.
To their credit, the creators of Real Men The Musical, Paul Louis and Nick Santa Maria, who also star, are aware of these differences. This does not keep them, along with co-star Stephen G. Anthony, from tripping over the divide between mensch and macho.
Real Men, scheduled to play at New World Stages weekends through January 2nd, puts a distinctly manful spin on the subject. Above all, this is entertainment totally lacking in subtlety. Listening to some of the sketches may make you yearn for “Take my wife, please” jokes, not that Nick, Pauly and Steve are not very talented.
Steve is an excellent mimic; especially so when he sings in a country-style, or does an Elvis-like song called “Every Woman Loves.” Nick really shines in “Being Young” where he gets to channel his inner Jonathan Winters. In perhaps the only nod to sensitivity and sentimentality in Real Men, Paul Louis sings the tender “I Do.”
Speaking of signing there are loads of very pleasant musical numbers, arranged by Manny Shvartzman and conducted by Martin Landry, with Brian Radock on drums, in Real Men; the musical staging is by director David Arisco.
Brett Ryback as the detective and Jeff Blumenkrantz as all 13 suspects in “Murder for Two” at 2nd Stage Theatre Uptown. Photo by Joan Marcus
Normally a double homicide is an agreeable if grisly TV staple and a pleasant way to pass the time.
In “Murder for Two,” at the McGinn/Cazale, Second Stage’s uptown showcase, the crime is in the ridiculous premise.
Taste and sense have been cruelly killed. Comedy has been bludgeoned and all the fun of slapstick was butchered. “Murder for Two” is dull and annoying when it should be cute and winsome.
Jeff Blumenkrantz in one of his 13 guises and Brett Ryback as the investigator in “Murder for Two.“ Photo by Joan Marcus
In “Murder for Two,” a new musical by Joe Kinosian (book and music) and Kellen Blair (book and lyrics), there is a murder at a birthday party. Jeff Blumenkrantz plays all the suspects while Brett Ryback plays a cop named Marcus. While not quite enough to recommend this foolish little skit masquerading as musical comedy, Beowulf Boritt has gone all-out in designing the elaborate set, framing the action inside a panelled arch.
In the interest of offering a balanced view, we note that “Murder for Two” was a hit in Chicago in 2010. Nonetheless, this reviewer found that althoughit is a mere 90 minutes with no intermission, “Murder for Two” is overlong.
For more information about “Murder for Two,” visit www.2ndst.com.