Summer signals no school, warm nights, and PCPA plays at the Solvang Festival Theater. This season kicks off with the production of the 2014 Tony Award–winning A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Set at the start of the 1900s, the musical tells the story of commoner Monty Navarro, who, after discovering he is eighth in line for an earldom in the upper-crust D’Ysquith family, sets out to remove the obstacles —i.e., people — ahead of him in the inheritance line. The result is a delightful blend of boorish and erudite humor.
“There is a unique sophistication about the show that is both high-brow and low-brow,” explained the show’s director, Brad Carroll. “Oscar Wilde meets Agatha Christie meets Gilbert and Sullivan meets British Music Hall, with a dash of Monty Python.”
In an email exchange with the Independent, Carroll answered a few questions about the show.
Why did you decide to kick off the season with this musical? This was part of a larger, theater-wide season-planning decision, but I can tell you that we loved the idea of [starting] … with something light, fresh, fun, new, and highly entertaining. Gentleman’s Guide is a great show for setting the tone for summer 2019.
What were the biggest challenges mounting this production? GG is constructed like a well-made German clock, requiring precision in every aspect of the production — sets, costumes, music, staging, timing. Some of the technical gimmicks and solutions of the original proscenium stage production had to be reimagined for our thrust stages in Santa Maria and Solvang. But these kinds of challenges so often lead to new levels of creative thinking, and I am thrilled with the choices we made that make this a “uniquely PCPA” production.
Why should people see this show? It’s an evening of great, highly entertaining theater. A fantastic musical score filled with wonderful songs. It’s a fairly new show that many people may not know.… And don’t let the title throw you — the authors have presented the “Love and Murder” in such a light, deft, comic fashion that, at times, you’ll feel as though you’re watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon. This is truly one of the best new musicals to come along in years.
PCPA’s production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder runs June 13-30, at Solvang Festival Theater, 420 2nd St., Solvang. Call 686-1789 or see pcpa.org.