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Only Murders in the Buildings’ ‘Poporetta’ twist was inspired by four theatre icons


Only Murders in the Building takes ‘Poporetta’ to the next level with inspiration taken from four icons of musical theatre.

Only Murders in the Building has taken the spotlight from the Arconia to Broadway in its third hilarious season, which has a uniquely musical flavor in the case of Ben Glenroy’s murder. Whilst the plot thickens regarding ‘who done it’, the score of Only Murders in the Building season 3 continues to infect the minds of viewers around the world – with *that* Patter Song being inspired by four icons of musical theatre.

Jonathan (Jason Veasey) and Charles (Steve Martin) performing during the sitzprobe in Only Murders in the Building season 3 episode 8
© Hulu | Patrick Harbron

Only Murders music producer cites four theatrical inspirations

Ever since Charles was able to perform a full practice run of ‘The Pickwick Triplets’ without devolving to The White Room, the ever-catchy Patter Song has been stuck in the minds of countless Only Murders in the Building fans.

This particular song, as well as the rest of Oliver Putnam’s Razzle Dazzle musical, is an example of the type of flavor that ‘Poporetta’ (that’s pop-opera) can offer a show compared to more traditional musical theatre numbers.

This, as it turns out, is a result of the countless hours of research and first-hand experience that music producer for the popular Hulu comedy series Ian Eisendrath has explored, who confirmed the rather obvious to Marie Claire: “Most of us have a background in Broadway musical theater, including showrunner John Hoffman— this felt very much like his love letter to the musical theater.”

The Pickwick Triplets Patter Song, which is now the go-to score for all our omelette-based recipes, is “very much a throwback to the traditional Broadway patter song, which was ushered in by Gilbert and Sullivan and used to great perfection by many others.”

Eisendrath also revealed how the show’s opening number, Creatures of the Night, “was definitely drawing on Oliver’s more gaudy instincts and sensibilities” with inspiration being drawn from four icons of the musical theatre industry.

“We were talking about a lot of the big British Invasion musicals, like Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Frank Wildhorn. That sort of “poporetta,” pop-opera. There’s just a heightened poetic system to all of it that’s over the top; it very much feels supported by who Oliver is, what he was imagining in Death Rattle, what he would write, and then what these actors would do.”

Whilst the specific tone of Oliver’s musical is vastly different to either of the four pieces and their producers, the blend of musical performance meets comedy “seemed like the greatest, obvious idea ever that no one had ever thought of.”

The Only Murders cast brought their A-game to the stage

Eisendrath has worked on titles such as Spirited, Lyle Lyle Crocodile, A Christmas Story, Diana, and Come From Away; all of which include enormous stars of both the stage and screen, but the veteran composer was still blown away by the attitudes of Razzle Dazzle’s leading cast members.

Eisendrath deemed Maryl Streep’s ‘Look for the Light’ as particularly praiseworthy, even going as far as to state “I just think it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written.”

“The goal was that the production of the song would begin as if it was from the Only Murders score. So we tried to use a piano that sounded similar to the Only Murders piano, and give it that sort of intimacy that the score so often has.”

Eagle-eyed fans may have spotted that the piano plays a more prominent role in Only Murders in the Building season 3: “You’ll notice that the piano is used throughout the season; it’s not only in the score, but it’s also the piano in Oliver’s apartment.”

“He writes the songs on the piano, and not until later in the season do they become fully realized [songs] with a larger palette. “Look for the Light,” which is sort of this cinematic moment that starts as a piano and then blows into something that’s much more heightened, gives just a little nod to where we’re heading at the end of the season, musically.”

Only Murders in the Building season 3 is airing on Hulu in the United States and Disney Plus worldwide.

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