The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940
is a short comedy by John Bishop
. The play was first performed at the Circle Repertory Company
in their theatre at 99 Seventh Avenue South in New York City, later moving to Broadway
, opening on April 6, 1987, in The Longacre Theatre
. The both productions were directed by the playwright and shared the same cast. The play is said to have been based on several 1940s
mystery movies, including The Cat and the Canary
, one of Bob Hope
's first films.
The play takes place in a mansion
in Chappaqua, New York
in December 1940, specifically, the library. The mansion is owned and inhabited by Elsa Von Grossenknueten, and her maid, Helsa Wenzel.
In the opening scene, we see Helsa is killed by a masked figure. We also see Elsa talking to a police officer, Michael Kelly, about some sort of undercover scheme. Both are unaware of the maid's murder.
The next morning, we see Helsa again, only now her entire personality seems to have changed overnight. The guests Elsa has invited soon begin to arrive. They have been invited for a backer's audition to the Musical White House Merry-Go-Round
The first of the invited guests is an Irish tenor
named Patrick O'Reilly. He's quickly followed by a theatre director
named Ken De La Maize, and a singer/dancer named Nikki Crandall. Nikki is followed in by a young (and bad) comedian named Eddie McCuen, who takes an instant liking to Nikki.
While talking, Eddie realizes that everyone coming (including Marjorie Baverstock,... Read More