"Listen and I'll tell a tale...a tale where good does not prevail."
Book and Lyrics by Julia Jordan
Music and Lyrics by Juliana Nash
Preview: February 28, Performances March 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9
All performances at 7:30 p.m.
The Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave.
Tickets $20 (Thursday 2/28 First Preview), $23 (Thursday 3/7),
$27 all other performances. Small service fee applies when ordering online or by phone.
Directed by Meghan Randolph
Music Direction by Jennifer Hedstrom
Choreography by Maureen Janson
Please pay close attention to parking directions below, as parking in the area can be difficult.
Ticket note, updated 3/7: At the March 8 and 9 performances, we will have 63 regular seats available at the $27 level and up to ten limited view seats at a rate of $15. The limited view seats are available at the door on a first come, first serve basis. Since the show is staged all over the room, the limited view seats cut off a part of the action, but much of the action is still visible. Some of the limited view seats are not at cocktail tables. The ticket table will be open starting at 6:30 p.m. Any questions can be referred to
"Thrilling...pitch perfect cast...director Meghan Randolph uses every corner, staircase, and level to great effect...actors' emotional engagement and strong vocals that seem tailor-made for each role make Murder Ballad soar."
-Gwen Rice of Isthmus
Read the full review
"A riveting heartbreaker...straps you in emotionally and doesn’t let you go—even when the speed picks up and the brick wall’s just inches away...Director Meghan Randolph’s four-person cast is both rock-solid and beautifully matched."
-Aaron Conklin of Madison Magazine
Read the full review
This project was supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
About the Show
A sexy thriller making its Madison premiere! A mysterious narrator warns us that a murder is inevitable. But who will die? And who will kill?
Sara and Tom were good in bed, but not too many other places. After a tumultuous, drunken relationship, they break up and Sara immediately falls for Michael, a kind NYU student. Their whirlwind love turns to marriage. As time passes, the troubled Sara's lingering depression and self-loathing cause her to revisit Tom. What starts out innocently soon unravels into rage, obsession, and murder. A driving rock score played by a live five piece band and fascinating characters, staged with you at the center, take you on a whirlwind, unforgettable, sexy, thrilling journey! Don't miss this winter's sexiest and most inventive thriller!
"A king, a queen, a club, a knave...one is destined for the grave."
Schedule and Venue Information
Running Time: Murder Ballad runs 75 minutes with no intermission.
Dates and Times:
A preview performance will take place on February 28. This will be a discounted performance. In an extreme circumstance, there might be a stop during the performance, but that will only be if absolutely necessary!
Regular performances are March 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 at 7:30 p.m. each night.
Venue: The Brink Lounge is located in the basement of 701 E. Washington Ave., which also houses the High Noon Saloon and Brass Ring. The venue is handicap accessible.
Parking: There is street parking in addition to a new 638-space stall at 100 S. Livingston, a three block walk fro the Brink Lounge. Click here for information, including live updates of how many spaces are available. NOTE: With the opening of the new Sylvee Theater, parking in the area may take longer than in the past. We encourage you to arrive at the Brink early to enjoy drinks and food before the show in order to give yourself plenty of time!
Seating: Seating is first come, first serve and available at cocktail tables that seat four each. The actors will be moving throughout the space during the performance, using the stairs, doors, ramps, and aisleways. Please look for marked areas to stay within for the safety of the actors. The show is up close and personal. We have done our best to make sure that if seats are not moved, the visibility is good and lights will not shine in eyes. We can not be held responsible if you move your seat from its original location and do not have a good experience.
Food and Drinks: Arrive early and order food and cocktails from the Brink Lounge. These items can be enjoyed during the performance. However, due to the nature of the staging, food items must be ordered by 6:50 p.m. as waiters walking through the performance space is distracting and dangerous to the actors.
Murder Ballad opened at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2012 and later transferred off-Broadway. The production, directed by Trip Cullman, featured a four-person cast in a tight, immersive space. The original production featured Karen Olivo, Will Swenson, John Ellison Conlee, and Rebecca Naomi Jones, who are heard on the original cast recording. When the production transferred, Caissie Levy replaced Karen Olivo. The production also had a run in London, with a very different aesthetic and concept, starring Kerry Ellis, Ramin Karimloo, Norman Bowman, and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt.
Structurally the show mirrors a traditional murder ballad, telling a story of salaciousness that results in murder. Many murder ballads, though not all, result in the trial and execution of the murderer. The overarching structure is that there is an outside narrator that paints a vivid picture. Murder Ballads originated in Scandanavia and other parts of Europe in the 1700s and often included ghosts and other supernatural elements. By the time they came to America, they were folk songs and often served as warnings, because they were often based on true events. Though murder ballads are associated with country, bluegrass, and folk music, a murder ballad can be in any style. Check out our Spotify playlist for just a few examples.
Poor Boy, You're Bound To Die: Murder Ballads (American History Magazine)
Why Murder Ballads? (Planet Slade)
Media (more coming soon!)
Production photos by Julia Luebke
Andrew Lonsdale to play first bad guy in MURDER BALLAD- Madison Magazine