Bailiwick Chicago Review - A “Passion Inflamed” Production of Murder Ballad

Bailiwick Chicago concludes its 2014-15 season with the intense Off-Broadway rock musical, Murder Ballad. Having had the wonderful opportunity to work on Murder Ballad during its premiere at New York Stage and Film, it was a special treat for me to be able to see it again for its Chicago premiere. Murder Ballad centers around a New Yorker pulled between her uptown present and her downtown past. Maybe you’ve heard this story before, but surely not like this. Told through a string of energetic rock songs performed in small, immersive space, this show is not to be missed.

Murder Ballad is a four person musical which of extremely talented actors and top-notch musicians. Bailiwick’s cast: Amanda Horvath, Chris Logan, Matt W. Miles, and Camille Robinson, and a rock band under music director Nicholas Davio, were the perfect choices. The cast sings with passion and hit their emotional marks very well, adding depth to each performance. As the show develops, tensions get higher and the audience becomes more intoxicated in the drama they are part of. The chemistry between the actors brought the sexy and edgy tone that Murder Ballad calls for to an intensity that is steamy as well as heart-breaking. With such a small cast, each actor was able to have moments that truly highlighted their performance. Playing Sara, the main love interest in the story, Horvath had one of the most memorable performances of the night. During an acapella section of her solo song, Horvath truly showed the pain and vulnerability her character was experiencing. These feelings are what lead to the affair that makes Murder Ballad what it truly is, a love triangle gone wrong. But my overall favorite moment of the night came during the song “You Belong to Me, Reprise.” This is the breaking point for each character and the song is driven by those emotions.  While the actors navigated through the crowded spaces on the stage and within the audience singing at the top of there lungs, this moment was pure rock and roll.  

This fast paced show runs about 75 minutes and in that time packs in a surprising amount of energy and sentiment. Murder Ballad will play April 2 – May 9, 2015 at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Regular run: $30; $40 on-stage seating. Tickets are currently available at bailiwickchicago.comI highly recommend seeing this show, as I know I will be going back for what proved to be an exhilarating night of musical theatre.  

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