Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Also see Jeffrey's review of Curtains
Set in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1959, Curtains follows the events that take place after the incredibly untalented star of the musical Robbin' Hood of the Old West is murdered during her opening night curtain call. It is up to Lt. Frank Cioffi, a police detective who moonlights as a musical theater fan, to save the show, solve the case, and maybe even find love along the way. It is an intentional spoof of classic murder mystery plots everywhere.
Ah, the joys of a fun-filled musical theatre romp! Curtains makes no pretense of being edgy and thought provoking, and it doesn't need to be either of those things to be most thoroughly entertaining. Of course it needs a hero, and it has one in Lieutenant Cioffi, played by Tony Edgerton with just the right mixture of self-effacing charm and goofiness. He is matched with love interest Niki Harris, played by a sweet and doe-eyed Mallory Newbrough.
Our secondary lead couple, a writing team struggling with romantic relationship issues, is Georgia (Julie Kleiner) and Aaron (Michael Ursua). I must admit that I felt no discernible chemistry at all between these two, but separately they are quite good. Kleiner is both lovely and talented, shining as she displays her dancing abilities a bit alongside Alex Jorth as Bobby Pepper. Ursua's beautiful singing voice memorably caresses the song "I Miss the Music," finding every nuance of the melody and lyric.
There are assorted broadly painted characters who are all potential villains or victims. Kevin Healey and Angie Radosh nearly steal the show as they take turns chewing the scenery, and I loved every minute of their performances. Healey plays fussy and flamboyant director Christopher Belling, always one breath away from flinging his next catty retort. His one-liners, delivered with a dry look and a sly smile, are all spot on. He is really only matched by the comedic skills of Angie Radosh as co-producer Carmen Bernstein. Her brusque delivery of dismissive zingers and hard-bitten demeanor disguises a fleeting vulnerability revealed only at the end. She and Kleiner especially showcase the period costume designs of the show beautifully, though the costuming and wig design is well done throughoutright down to some curtain call costume changes.
The production's ensemble is particularly strong, with solid dancing and singing ability. The choreography seems fresh and well suited to the space, the show, and the skill levels of the dancers. Emily Tarallo gets to show off some provocative dance skills in the song "Kansasland."
While musical theater performers and aficionados will perhaps relish the inside theatre jokes and references more than other audience members, it would be difficult for anyone to not enjoy the feel-good style of Curtains, especially when this production is so well done.
Curtains had its world premiere on July 25, 2006, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. After minor alterations the production had its Broadway opening on March 22, 2007, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. The Broadway production closed on June 29, 2008 after 511 performances, receiving eight Tony Award nominations, with David Hyde Pierce winning the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.
The successful musical team of John Kander and Fred Ebb met in 1963. Their first musical to be produced on Broadway was Flora the Red Menace, which opened in 1965 and marked Liza Minnelli's Broadway debut. Kander & Ebb collaborated on the Broadway musicals Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Woman of the Year, The Rink, The Happy Time, Steel Pier, Zorba, The Act, And The World Goes 'Round, Fosse, and Curtains. They also wrote the music for the movies New York, New York and Funny Lady. Together, Kander and Ebb are the recipients of three Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Emmy Awards. In 1998 they received Kennedy Center Honors for their contributions to theatre and music.
Curtains will be appearing at the Wick Theatre through March 27, 2016. The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum is located at 7901 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton, Florida. For more information you may contact them by phone at 561-955-2333 or online at www.thewick.org.
*Designates member of Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.