Tuesday, October 18, 2016


A section of the public library and shelves of the Barnes and Noble are devoted to how-to books on a myriad of topics, from how to make a garden worthy of a Versailles or make an aquarium reminiscent of an ocean floor.  The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts has an unusual twist on this theme with "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" with book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak, from Tuesday, October 25 to Sunday, October 30.

Think of Don Quixote with his quest for the Impossible Dream velcroed to Monty Python and his mission to secure the Holy Grail and you have the beginnings of the fervor of one Monty Navarro. As a newly orphaned lad, with no money or prospects, Monty discovers that his mum was disinherited from the wealthy D'Ysquith family for marrying beneath her station.

To right this wrong, Monty takes pen to paper and writes to the head of the clan, respectfully requesting a position in the family business so he can earn his inheritance.  The absolute rejection of his claim, with the stern proviso never to contact them ever again, leads the industrious Monty to pursue that how-to book previously mentioned, that guide to love and murder for the proper gentleman.

Monty determines that to become the next Lord D'Ysquith, his most desired position of wealth and good standing, there are only nine family members ahead of him.  His clever solution is to eliminate them, one by one, and all his dreams will become reality.  And if he finds love along the way, all the better.

With ingenuity and a sense of style, he proceeds to help the rightful heirs meet their maker, whether by drowning in a pond of ice, swallowing a potion of poison, falling from a belfry tower or being devoured by hungry cannibals.  The only question that remains is:  will Monty succeed in snatching the title of Lord, with all its attendant riches, or will the coppers charge him with multiple murders?  Come and discover for yourself.

For tickets ($25.50-109.50), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org.  Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Grab on tight to Monty Navarro's coat tails for a merry mix of murder, music and mayhem that is sure to delight, especially as the winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical.

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