Thursday, January 18, 2018
Stage

Pianist accompanies his own mischief in Straz's 'Murder for Two'

TAMPA — Who shot Arthur Whitney?

In the 90 minutes it takes to run through Murder for Two, which opened this week at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, audiences will likely change their minds several times.

Did the novelist's wife, an actor who blamed him for ending her career, do the deed? How about the cigar-smoking psychiatrist, who knows a little too much about everyone? What about the novelist's persistent niece, who wants to "help with the investigation"?

While the killer could be any of a dozen characters, the same actor plays all of them.

"It tests your versatility as an actor," said Jeremiah Ginn, 29, half of the two-man show that will play at the Straz's cafe-style Jaeb Theater for eight weeks. "It forces you to use your imagination. How do you express that many people as an artist?"

Matching wits with Ginn's team of suspects is young Officer Marcus Moscowicz, who jumps at the chance to solve a murder. Both Ginn and Noel Carey, who plays Moscowicz, play the piano. They accompany each other's songs, and sometimes even share a bench to blaze out a duet.

In the background of a stripped down set are murder weapons from the game Clue, as in Col. Mustard, in the library, with the candlestick.

Murder for Two opened off-Broadway in 2013, moved to another space and ran about a year. Ginn started out as the understudy for the suspects but moved into the role permanently in time for the tour.

He grew up in Windsor, Calif., the son of a fire marshal and a secretary. He played Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and Chopin, entering and winning competitions.

"My parents lucked out, because they had to kick me off the piano," Ginn said about his practice routines.

Later a jazz pianist taught him to improvise, a valuable skill that got him side jobs in piano bars.

Ginn keeps a keyboard at home. He hasn't found his ideal New York apartment yet. But he has fantasized about what kind of piano will go in it.

"Dream?" he said. "Steinway. Grand. Black. Reality? Probably an upright."

Contact Andrew Meacham at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.

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