The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940
THE STORY: The creative team responsible for a recent Broadway flop (in which three chorus girls were murdered by the mysterious “Stage Door Slasher") assemble for a backer’s audition of their new show at the Westchester estate of a wealthy “angel.” The house is replete with sliding panels, secret passageways, and a German maid who is apparently four different people—all of which figure diabolically in the comic mayhem which follows when the infamous “Slasher” makes his reappearance and strikes again—and again. As the composer, lyricist, actors, and director prepare their performance, and a blizzard cuts off any possible retreat, bodies start to drop in plain sight, knives spring out of nowhere, masked figures drag their victims behind swiveling bookcases, and accusing fingers point in all directions. However, and with no thanks to the bumbling police inspector who snowshoes in to investigate, the mystery is solved in the nick of time and the “Slasher” unmasked—but not before the audience has been treated to a sidesplitting good time and a generous serving of the author’s biting, satiric, and refreshingly irreverent wit.
An ingenious and wildly comic romp which enjoyed a long and critically hailed run both on and Off-Broadway. Poking antic fun at the more ridiculous aspects of “show biz” and the corny thrillers of Hollywood’s heyday, the play is a non-stop barrage of laughter as those assembled (or at least those who aren’t killed off) untangle the mystery of the “Stage Door Slasher.” “…a kind of crossbreeding of Charles Ludlam (The Mystery of Irma Vep) and Terrence McNally (It’s Only a Play) seasoned with a soupçon of Noises Off.” —NY Times. “…enormous fun…Its strength comes in part from the sheer diamond wit and diamante showbiz glitter of Bishop’s writing. Even his corn is succulently served.” —NY Post. “…Bishop gives us a nakedly silly and relentlessly convoluted murder-mystery plot, with twist piled on twist till you have to give way and start laughing at the silliness… it’s hugely enjoyable.” —Village Voice. “MURDERS is the intelligent person’s kind of nonsense.” —NY Magazine.