Kander-Ebb Musical Curtains Ready To Be Raised in L.A. World Premiere; Dates Announced

News   Kander-Ebb Musical Curtains Ready To Be Raised in L.A. World Premiere; Dates Announced Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles has announced summer dates for the world premiere of the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical Curtains — starring David Hyde Pierce and sweetened by librettist Rupert Holmes, who took over the book after the death of Peter Stone.

Scott Ellis (Twelve Angry Men, The Little Dog Laughed) will direct the work at the Ahmanson Theatre. Pierce (Spamalot, "Frasier") will star as a show-tune-loving detective in the musical set in 1959 and populated by fictive members of the Broadway theatre community. Holmes & Stone share book credit, "from an original idea by Peter Stone."

The long-developing musical comedy, a backstage murder-mystery, will begin previews July 25 and open August 9 for a run through Sept. 10.

Curtains marks one of the last collaborations by one of the longest-running songwriting teams in Broadway history — composer Kander and lyricist Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Zorba, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Woman of the Year). Their The Visit was produced by The Goodman Theatre in Chicago but did not move to a New York run. Ebb died in 2004.

Curtains is set in 1959 in Boston at a pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical "where it's literally 'curtains' for the leading lady who dies mysteriously onstage during the applause at the end of the show."

The entire company — the producers, the songwriters, the director, the actors, the stage manager — are possible suspects and each has an motive to be sorted out by a local detective. The detective, of course, "is a fervent musical theatre fan, allows the company to continue rehearsing while he conducts his murder investigation," according to CTG. "He soon finds himself in the middle of the uproarious bedlam of theatrical egos and eccentricities, more murders and even a budding love affair."

Playbill.com previously reported Debra Monk, Edward Hibbert and Karen Ziemba would join announced star Pierce in the work. Production spokespersons could not confirm the casting of the trio of Broadway veterans Monk (Reckless, Chicago), Hibbert (Noises Off, Me and My ) and Ziemba (Contact, Steel Pier) — who appeared in an Oct. 31, 2005 reading.

Rupert Holmes won three Tony Awards in 1986 for his Broadway musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and from 1996 to 1999 he was the creator and writer of the television series "Remember WENN" on American Movie Classics.

Peter Stone, who died in 2003, won three Tony Awards for his librettos for Titanic, Woman of the Year and 1776.

Previous reports indicated the Holmes and Kander would provide additional lyrics.

Tickets to Curtains are currently available at the Center Theatre Group box office or by calling CTG Audience Services at (213) 628-2772. For more information, go online to www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.

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