Telling the scandalous story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder hits the Bass Concert Hall stage March 20 – 25. The production won 10 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and is said to be unlike any other recent production in Austin. Drama is a big part of the play, with Monty trying to eliminate eight relatives who stand in his way of collecting an inheritance. The constant threat of landing behind bars is one of the obstacles Monty faces, while also juggling both his mistress and his fiancée.
Ahead of the musical’s opening night, we spoke with Blake Price, who plays Monty Navarro.
Tell us a little bit about your starring role in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.
Well, I never leave the stage for one. Nothing makes you feel more important than having to specifically choreograph when you get to drink water in a musical about a character who both loves and murders.
A recent review of the musical says, “Gentleman’s Guide will lift the hearts of those who’ve been pining for what sometimes seems a lost art form.” Can you tell us a little bit about what makes this performance so special?
There’s a reason it shocked the theatre world–it’s unlike any recent musical you’ve seen. It reminds you of Gilbert & Sullivan while maintaining a style that’s uniquely its own—which serves the story seamlessly. And it never takes itself all too seriously. The song and scene “I’ve Decided to Marry You,” was an instant classic at the Tony Awards and can easily go down as one of the greatest musical numbers in the history of musical theatre. Talk about opening all the right doors.
What’s been the most challenging part of the role?
The stamina, by far. It took me a long time to get used to performing at such a high level without any really breaks for either a drink or a breath. As of right now, a favorite number of mine is “Better With a Man,” where Henry D’Ysquith and Monty form a bond that could be considered… a little more than friendly.
Tell us a little bit about the costume design and the prop.
Linda Cho earned herself a Tony for her amazing work in our show, including capturing the ostentatious flair of the period and the need to change a man into a woman with 30 seconds or less. That takes a special talent. The props also seamlessly flow in and out of the show as if they’re apart of the set or the costumes themselves.
Why should we come out to see the show?
At times it can seem like our world is falling apart and people are getting divided by the day, and this musical is an opportunity for people from all different backgrounds to come together for 2 ½ hours to enjoy one absurd and over-the-top story. Enjoy a break from your own insanity and come play in ours!
Cover photo: National Touring Company. The cast with James Taylor Odom as Lord Adalbert D’Ysquith (red) and Blake Price (far right) as Monty Navarro in a scene from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” Photo: Joan Marcus