Death on the Downbeat

Death on the Downbeat
or the Mysterious Affair of the Murdered Maestro

© 1993 MCMCo.

Premiered December 31, 1993 at Orchestra Hall, Chicago IL
Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Jean, Conductor

Gundar Bigherr, guest conductor for the evening's concert, has been murdered. It is suspected that the internationally acclaimed Maestro was poisoned sometime during the break between the morning and afternoon rehearsals. There is, however, a neatly compiled list, as kept by security guards, of everyone who visited the Symphony Hall on that fateful day. The list includes orchestra members, staff, several board members, members of the press, and a mysterious "lady in red." Detective François Deuce (Doug MacIntyre), sent to investigate the crime, quickly concludes that no one seems particularly upset over the maestro's demise. The clever sleuth withholds news of the murder till curtain time, having convinced the orchestra and management to proceed with the concert planned, with a replacement conductor. His plan is to lure as many suspects as possible back to the scene of the crime and in the course of a concert, deduce who the murder or murderers may be.

The elaborate script is designed to be re-written for each engagement such that each show is "customized" to exploit the presenting orchestra's unique characteristics and would be suspects. The casting for each engagement is arranged between MCMCo. and the orchestra. In keeping with the music and the spirit of the concert, the characteristics are costumed in authentic 1940's dress and the script is complete with the musical cues (played within the orchestra) to create a living "film noir" murder mystery.

*Bernstein: Candide Overture
Rodgers: Slaughter on 10th Avenue Suite
Shostakovitch: The Gadfly Suite Op.97 (Romance)
Steiner: Casablanca Suite
Rozsa: Lost Weekend Suite (3 movements)
Gounod: Funeral March of Marionette
Prokofiev: Love of Three Oranges ("March" & "Scherzo")
Prokofiev: Cinderella: Suite ("Waltz" and "Midnight")
F.Steiner: Perry Mason Theme (Auld Lange Syne for New Year's Eve)

*Or suitable alternative to be mutually agreed upon.

Gundar Bigherr - Douglas MacIntyre is available to be the "voice" of Maestro Bigherr for pre-concert interviews.

Sergeant - Thomas Quincy (MCMCo.)

Detective Deuce - Douglas MacIntyre (MCMCo.)

Lady in Red - Maggie Peterson (MCMCo.)

Conductor #1 - Opens program as replacement for Bigherr, then is mysteriously "murdered" after the first piece.

Conductor #2 - Principal conductor for the evening.

Witness - Librarian of staff members as artist's assistant.

2 Guards - Costumed stage hands, volunteers or actors.

4 Suspects - Staff, board members, musicians, local celebrities, etc. arrested at intermission and presented in a line-up.

Murderer(s) TBA

120-130 minutes with listed repertoire


***Please contact Artist Management for program approval by Artist.

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Posted: Apr-3-2017
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