Murder Ballad centers around Sara, a young New Yorker who is torn between her dangerous ex-boyfriend and her reliable husband. Led by a sexy bartender who serves as the show's narrator, Murder Ballad documents the details of the torrid affair with vibrant pop-rock tunes. When Sara breaks up with Tom, a gritty bartender, she runs into the arms of Michael, a quiet poetry student at NYU. But after the couple gets married and has a daughter, Sara longs for her old, dangerous life and begins secretly seeing Tom at his bar downtown. As Sara's passionate relationship with Tom intensifies, she begins to miss her old life with her husband and young child-but by then, it may be too late. With a title like Murder Ballad, it's no surprise that the treacherous love triangle ends in tragedy.
Murder Ballad had its world premiere Off-Broadway, where it was produced at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II venue. The production opened on 15 November 2012, following previews from 31 October. The cast included John Ellison Conlee, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Will Swenson and Karen Olivo. Originally scheduled to close on 2 December, the production was extended by two weeks and
closed on 16 December 2012. A cast recording was released. The production transferred to the Union Square Theatre on 22 May 2013, following previews from 7 May. It closed on 21 July 2013 Casting remained the same except for the departure of Karen Olivo, who was replaced by Caissie Levy.