It's Official: Kander, Ebb, Stone and Holmes' Curtains Will Premiere in Los Angeles

News   It's Official: Kander, Ebb, Stone and Holmes' Curtains Will Premiere in Los Angeles
Billed as a pre-Broadway engagement, Curtains — the long-developing Kander & Ebb backstage murder-mystery musical comedy — will have its world premiere this summer at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Center Theatre Group presents the production, which will star David Hyde Pierce (Spamalot, "Frasier") as a show-tune-loving detective, and has a book by Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) based on an earlier libretto by Peter Stone. Scott Ellis (Twelve Angry Men, The Little Dog Laughed) will direct the musical, set in 1959 and populated by fictive members of the Broadway theatre community.

The production is bittersweet: Both Stone and lyricist Ebb did not live to see the project in a fully-produced format. Worked continued on the project following their deaths, in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

The Ahmanson announced Jan. 13 that additional lyrics are by Holmes and composer Kander.

The musical comedy will run from mid-July through mid-September 2006, with specific dates to be announced.

Curtains is the second new musical headed for Broadway in artistic director Michael Ritchie's inaugural season at the Ahmanson. Both the critically-acclaimed presentation of The Drowsy Chaperone, which concluded performances in late December 2005, and Curtains "represent a new program initiated by Ritchie in which CTG will present original new musicals and large-scale productions through partnerships with Broadway producers," Center Theatre Group announced. 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.

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 (played by Pierce).

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."

"It's an engaging and wildly comic romp," stated Ritchie. "As a backstage musical comedy, I find it irresistible, and as a mystery, I know it will keep the audience guessing right up to the end. It will be a great summer treat for Los Angeles."

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.

Tickets to Curtains are currently available on an Ahmanson Theatre subscription only. For further information and to purchase a subscription, please call (213) 628-2772.

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