Ellis directed previous readings of the show in May 2001 and February 2003. At the 2003 event the cast included Debra Monk, Edward Hibbert, Michele Lee, Chip Zien, John Dossett, Michael McCormick, Paul Michael Valley, James Naughton and more. No cast has been selected for the new reading.
Monk sang a number from the show, "It's a Business," at the Nov. 15 memorial for Ebb, who died on Sept. 11. Kander is the only creator of the project yet living; Stone died on April 26, 2003. Rupert Holmes has since been enlisted to work on the libretto.
Stone told PBOL in January 2001 that Kander and Ebb have been working on Curtains "sporadically for 12-to-13 years. We've each done at least three other shows in that period, so either they've been busy or I have, so it was tough to get together. But we had a private reading three or four weeks ago [in early 2001], just for us, and it was very encouraging. Scott Ellis directed, and we want him to be our director."
Curtains is set during the tryout of a Broadway-bound musical. The show's producers are a married couple, one of whom is murdered in the third scene. Every member of the cast and crew is a suspect, since they all have some kind of beef with the producing twosome.
Curtains is a rarity in that it isn't based on source material from another medium or a play adapted into a musical. "It's an original musical not based on anything," Stone said, adding that after the murder, a homicide detective is brought in, and "by sheer coincidence, he happens to be a remarkably up to-date musical theatre buff. He's thrilled to be there with opinions and suggestions."