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Curtains

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Rupert Holmes (book), John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics)

COMPANY : Act 3 Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Act 3 Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 4717

SHOWING : April 17, 2015 - May 09, 2015

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

It’s 1959 and opening night of a new musical at Boston’s Colonial Theatre. When the unlikeable leading lady dies on stage, the entire cast and crew are suspects. A local detective, who happens to be a musical theatre fan, leads the investigation.


CAST & CREW LIST
Musical Director Bill Newberry
Director Julie Taliaferro
Randy Dexter Kelly David Carr
Aaron Fox Scott Christopher
Sidney Bernstein Justin Collins
Detective O’Farrell John Coombs
Oscar Shapiro Jim Dailey
Bambi Bernet Carly Frates
Roberta Wooster Erica Gehring
Sasha Ilinsky R. Clay Johnson
Ronnie Driscoll J. S. Kovacs
Carmen Bernstein Janelle Lannan
Jessica Cranshaw Liane Lemaster
Connie Subbotin Audra Lopez
Brick Hawvermale Eduardo Jose Paco Mateo
Daryl Grady Andrew Mauro
Nikki Harris Katie O'Neill
Jane Setler Rebecca Pino
Christopher Belling Zip Rampy
Lt. Frank Cioffi Michael Rostek
Georgia Hendricks Emily Tyrybon
Bobby Strong Jody Woodruff
Jenny Harmon Emily Yaksh
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REVIEWS

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Whodunnit? Kander & Ebb & Holmes!
by playgoer
Monday, May 11, 2015
4.5
The Act3 production of the musical "Curtains" is a delight from curtain-up to curtain-down (although the unit set doesn’t include a curtain that rises or lowers). Kander & Ebb’s songs are in the sprightly Broadway tradition of show tunes, with nary a hint of the gritty darkness present in the scores of "Cabaret" and "Chicago." Rupert Holmes’ book creates a whodunnit that allows ample opportunity to play on the traditions of show biz musicals, honoring them and simultaneously spoofing them.

Director Julie Taliaferro has staged the show to bring out all the best elements of the story. Wally Hinds’ set consists of little more than a simple flight of wooden stairs connecting an upper platform to the main stage area, backed by three curtained alcoves. All portions of the set are used to effect, with heads poking out of the curtains for "He Did It" in a variety of attractive poses. The cast is large and the stage not particularly spacious, but sightlines are terrific throughout. The storyline is terrifically highlighted too.

Jon Liles’ lighting design sets the mood appropriately for each scene, and M. Kathryn Allen’s sound design lets every word be heard (although unpleasant crackles were heard from the stage right speaker in the performance I saw). Costumes, designed by Amy Cain, add to the visual appeal of the show. Black paint on the set lets all the colors of the costumes pop.

The production values wouldn’t matter much if the script and songs weren’t strong. They are both strong in this case. Performances are also strong, although they range from fully professional to community theatre level. The top of the top is Janelle Lannan as Carmen Bernstein, whose clarion voice belts out her songs with confidence and wrings every bit of comedy and character out of her role. Emily Tyrybon is also excellent as Georgia Hendricks -- charismatic, graceful, and true-voiced.

The men in the cast don’t fare quite as well, with either acting, accent, or singing falling just short of the mark needed. Of the male principals, only Jim Dailey, as Oscar Shapiro, gave a performance I can’t fault. Zip Rampy, as Christopher Belling, is as funny as anyone in the cast, nailing every scripted laugh (and adding a few), although his accent didn’t convince me his character was truly a Brit. Lead Michael Rostek, as Lt. Frank Cioffi, brims over with sincerity, making him very likeable, but never lets true joy take over his expression.

Amy Cain and Johnna B. Mitchell’s choreography brings real pizzazz to the production, using the limited stage space to wonderful advantage. The ensemble put their best foot forward in the dances, driving the show forward with their energy. The book makes the job of the choreographer difficult for the choreographer in one specific aspect -- there is an apache dance number between Bobby Strong (Jody Woodruff) and Bambi Bernet (Carly Frates) that is supposed to be a show-stopper, with Bobby having given up a chance to dance for George Balanchine to be in the show-within-a-show in which "Curtains" takes place. Don’t get me wrong -- both dancers do splendid work and are extremely appealing performers -- but the limited stage space hampers the number. The dance contains moves far beyond the capabilities of most community theatre performers, but it’s not the jaw-droppingly wonderful professional routine the script calls for. Don’t fault the actors or the choreographers; it’s the script that isn’t targeted to community theatre standards.

That said, the production of "Curtains" at Act3 elevates the level of community theatre in metro Atlanta. It’s a beautifully directed and choreographed production that summons all the elements of musical theatre to create a supremely entertaining night of theatrical enjoyment. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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