Death by Design: A Comedy with Songs and Murder

by  Rob Urbinati

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 4f

What happens when you mix the brilliant wit of Noel Coward with the intricate plotting of Agatha Christie? Set during a weekend in an English country manor in 1932, this musical version of Rob Urbinati's Death by Design is a delightful and mysterious “mash-up” of two of the greatest English writers of all time, with a terrific musical theatre score that kills!

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Death by Design: A Comedy with Songs and Murder

by  Rob Urbinati

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Death by Design: A Comedy with Songs and Murder

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Farce, Adaptations (Literature), Mystery/Thriller
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

What happens when you mix the brilliant wit of Noel Coward with the intricate plotting of Agatha Christie? Set during a weekend in an English country manor in 1932, Death by Design is a delightful and mysterious “mash-up” of two of the greatest English writers of all time. Edward Bennett, a playwright, and his wife Sorel Bennett, an actress, flee London and head to Cookham after a disastrous opening night. But various guests arrive unexpectedly – a conservative politician, a fiery socialist, a nearsighted ingenue, a zany modern dancer – each with a long-held secret. When one of the guests is murdered, it’s left to Bridgit, the feisty Irish maid with a macabre interest in homicide, to solve the crime. This musical version of Rob Urbinati's Death by Design is more than homage – it’s a new classic, with a terrific musical theatre score that kills!

“Rob Urbinati’s idea of melding Noel Coward and Agatha Christie into something new, something more, is so brilliant it’s amazing nobody thought of it before DEATH BY DESIGN: A COMEDY WITH SONGS AND MURDER. Snappy, urbane dialogue, delightful archetypes and a dash of slapstick blend into some kind of stylized, comedic wonder. Two clever tunes by Peter Mills add that perfect Coward touch to a highly entertaining evening.” - Omaha World Herald. 

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Reviews

"Playwright Rob Urbinati must have had as much fun writing this comedy as the audience has in savoring it." - Houston Press, Read More


Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Artboard 3 Gun Shots

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The action of the play takes place in the at living room of the Bennett’s house at Cookham in 1932.
  • Additional Features: Physical Comedy, Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

4m, 4f
BRIDGIT - the maid; Irish, crabby, warm-hearted, fifties 
JACK - the chauffer; Cockney, charming, clever, twenties
EDWARD BENNETT - the playwright; urbane, vain, thirties/forties
SOREL BENNETT - the actress; glamorous, daffy, thirties/forties
WALTER PEARCE - the politician; stiff, conservative, thirties/forties
ERIC - the radical; emphatic, fiery, twenties
VICTORIA VAN ROTH - the Bohemian; intense, artistic, any age
ALICE - the visitor; sweet, shy, twenties
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Cast Attributes

  • Non-Traditional casting

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Authors

Rob Urbinati

Rob Urbinati was a Theatre Consultant for Home Box Office in New York City, and has directed over fifty plays at theatres, colleges and universities across the country. Mr. Urbinati’s first play as a writer, Hazelwood Jr. High, was directed by Scott Elliott for the New Group. A scene from the play is published in Smith ...

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