A High School Curtains Goes Up, With Professional Help

PlayBlog   A High School Curtains Goes Up, With Professional Help
"When your high school does a show you helped create on Broadway, you have to do something." So reasoned John Bolton, who originated the role of the critic in Curtains, the 2007 backstage murder mystery musical by John Kander, Fred Ebb, Peter Stone and Rupert Holmes, which rang up 511 performances on Broadway.

A man of his words and a graduate of Leroy High School in Rochester, NY, Bolton did a one-day workshop at his old alma mater and gave its Curtains cast pointers on the play in March, roughly a month before this high school musical went up. "To see kids do things you did for a year and a half on Broadway was such an honor."

As a special opening-night surprise for the youngsters, Bolton "had the original Broadway principals call their respective kid. I got the telephone numbers from the director. David Hyde Pierce called the kid who played his role, Debra Monk called her kid, Karen Ziemba called her kid. Jason Danieley talked to his kid for about 15 minutes about the role. Every single principal called their high-school counterpart and talked to them on opening night, and the kids were just thrilled to death.

"In return, the kids made a $500 contribution to Broadway Cares in honor of the original cast of Curtains. The fact that high-school kids raised $500 for Broadway Cares in our honor was above and beyond the call of duty."

All that, and award glory too: In April, Curtains won big at Rochester's local version of the Tonys, amassing a total of 14 "Stars of Tomorrow" awards. Hosting the event: Steve Rosen, who, like Bolton, hails from Rochester and Spamalot.

— Harry Haun

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