It’s been a week since the the Jesus Christ Superstar performance at Derryfield Rep, and I needed another theatre “fix”. As luck would have it, the solution was two minutes down the road at Wheaton College’s Weber Theatre. The Triboro Musical Theatre and Wheaton College are presenting 2 performances of “Curtains” (January 15,16) . It was glorious!! OK… I’ll come clean, I had never heard of this show and I decided not to do any research before the performance. This morning I spent a few minutes on the net getting some more background- thanks to IBDB. Curtains is by Kander and Ebb (“Cabaret”, “Chicago”, etc.)- it’s a purposefully old-style musical/whodunit. The original show ran on Broadway from March ’07 to June’08 and starred David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk. The Amazon link has some additional information but unfortunately no samples of the wonderful music.
OK back to last night’s performance. The cast was very talented and it showed in the acting and singing as well as in the choreography. Ted Nesi as Lt. Frank Cioffi and Amanda Nelson as producer Carmen Bernstein were wonderful. Writeups from other sources refer to them as Wheaton Alumnists (is alumnist a word?) but you get the idea. Other Wheaton students star in the production – Katie Anderson (Niki Harris), Pete Rizzo and Lauren Bamford (writing team of Hendricks and Fox). Another standout was Diana Puccio (Bambi). It’s unclear to me how the combination of Wheaton College and the Triboro Musical Theatre works and there’s a surprising lack of information about this collaboration (hint hint). The Triboro’s web site is just a splash page at the moment.
I love the old show-within-a-show template and Curtains does this admirably. So some of the numbers are about reworking the show and the others relate to the characters and the arc of whodunit. “Show People”, “Coffee Shop Nights” and “The Man is Dead” were a few of the standouts among the dozen or so tunes. The show ran almost three hours (including a 15 minute intermission). It was genuinely enjoyable and I highly recommend getting over to Wheaton College for the second show.
The eleven piece orchestra (!) was excellent under the direction of David Renoni and the sound was reasonably well done. Now that I’m into the music and sound side of theatre again, the other side of my brain wants to get a little more analytical about what I saw/heard. But I’ll save that for the next post.