A Talent for Murder

by  Norman Panama, Jerome Chodorov

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 3f

"One of the most delightful Broadway entries ever.... Winner of an Edgar Award [and] ... good theater [with] ... lively repartee." - Multi Channel

"Stylish entertaining fun." - People Weekly

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    Cast Size

    4m, 3f
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    From Broadway

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The legendary Claudette Colbert starred on Broadway in this suspense drama about an internationally successful mystery novelist whose relatives wouldn't mind killing her to get their hands on her art collection. Other characters include a live in doctor who was once the novelist's lover and a savvy Indian butler who uses words like "chutzpa." The badinage between the novelist and the butler and between the novelist and the doctor provides comic delight and relief from the mayhem being planned by the family. This exciting comic thriller was produced on BBC TV starring Angela Lansbury and Sir Lawrence Olivier. Fans of 'Murder, She Wrote' will enjoy A Talent for Murder, a merry murder mystery that is perfect for summer stock, dinner theatres and community theatres.
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"One of the most delightful Broadway entries ever.... Winner of an Edgar Award [and] ... good theater [with] ... lively repartee." - Multi Channel

"Stylish entertaining fun." - People Weekly


License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1980s
  • Setting: The library-study of "Twelve Oaks" Anne Royce McClain's estate in the foothills of the Berkshires not far from Tanglewood.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


4m, 3f
RASHI - an East Indian paroled convict in his middle thirties. Possessor of a keen, analytical mind, he masks his feelings behind his Indian garb and a great show of manners.
ANNE ROYCE MCCLAIN - Anne is in her 70s, her age varies with her mood. America's foremost and most venerable mystery writer. Through arthritis seemingly confined to a wheelchair, she is otherwise in vigorous health. Anne's caustic wit, her dynamic modern outlook, her elegant, aristocratic face still show traces of the "Golden Girl" who captivated Paris in the twenties - when she feasted on all that city had to offer the talented and avent garde. She is feisty, ribald, and guardedly sentimental. Her abrasive tongue is a vestige of her old background as a Hearst feature writer; this before she gave up hard-nosed journalism for her fabulous career as a successful suspense novelist.
PAMELA HARRISON - Anne's granddaughter, a sweet, innocent young woman of twenty-five. The unfortunate victim of a plane crash, she is brain-damaged with a mental age of 15.
LAWRENCE MCCLAIN - Anne's oldest child. In his 40s: editor of an esoteric poetry magazine. Larry tries to compete with his mother from his own literary pinnacle, but unfortunately, fails.
SHEILA MCCLAIN - Larry's  wife, beautiful, in her 30s, operates a successful art gallery. Sheila has a light, blithe manner, but underneath the Madison Avenue chic and small talk there is a core of steel. Her beauty is exceeded only by her ruthless ambition.
MARK HARRISON - Pamela's husband. 30. An attractive, aggressive foreign car dealer with all the smooth, aggressive glibness of his trade.
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Norman Panama

Norman Panama

Jerome Chodorov

Jerome Chodorov

A Talent for Murder first appeared at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York City on October 1, 1981. It was directed by Paul Aaron.

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