The troupe of the Tony Award-nominated musical by Peter Stone, Rupert Holmes, John Kander and Fred Ebb went into the studio March 26. The disc has 22 tracks on it, featuring music of Kander, lyrics of Ebb and additional lyrics by Holmes and Kander. Holmes penned the libretto, inspired by Stone's original book and concept.
The murder mystery musical comedy opened March 22 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and features David Hyde Pierce, Debra Monk, Jason Danieley, Jill Paice, Noah Racey, Megan Sikora, Edward Hibbert, Karen Ziemba and more.
The album is produced by Jay David Saks, a longtime Kander collaborator. Executive producer is Bill Rosenfield.
A color booklet includes production photos and an essay by Holmes. In an apparently new twist in cast album marketing, complete lyrics to the show are available at www.ManhattanRecords.com/ CurtainsLibretto.
Changes to the score were made during Broadway previews, which began Feb. 27. Kander and Ebb fans will read a special poignancy into the song "I Miss the Music," sung by a composer, about his absent lyricist. The song was written after the death of Ebb, composer Kander's longtime writing partner. Ebb died in 2004, ending a long creative marriage with Kander. Together, they wrote the songs for Broadway's Flora, the Red Menace; Cabaret; The Happy Time; Zorba; 70, Girls, 70; Chicago; The Act; Woman of the Year; The Rink; Kiss of the Spider Woman; and Steel Pier.
The most recent new Kander and Ebb Broadway score to be recorded was 1997's Steel Pier, which, like Curtains, was also directed by Scott Ellis (and starred Ziemba).
Curtains (conceived by Peter Stone, who wrote its original book) is one of four scores Kander and Ebb were working on at the time of Ebb's death. The Visit is scheduled for a regional production in 2007. All About Us had a spring staging at Westport Country Playhouse. The Minstrel Show is another orphaned work.
The list of musical numbers on the cast album follows.
"Wide Open Spaces"
"What Kind of Man?"
"Thinking of Him"
"The Woman's Dead"
"Coffee Shop Nights"
"In the Same Boat #1"
"I Miss the Music"
"The Man Is Dead"
"He Did It"
"In the Same Boat #2"
"It's a Business"
"Thinking of Him"/"I Miss the Music" (reprise)
"A Tough Act to Follow"
"In the Same Boat #3"
"In the Same Boat Completed"
"Show People" (reprise)
"Wide Open Spaces Finale"
"A Tough Act to Follow" (reprise)
In an effort to make the show seem to come from one unified voice, rather than three songwriters, the show's Playbill and cast album do not offer a breakdown of lyric credit for each song.
In Curtains, Hyde Pierce (Spamalot, "Frasier") plays a Boston police detective, Lt. Frank Cioffi, investigating the murder of the leading lady of a musical having its out-of-town tryout in Beantown. An avid musical fan, he tries to both solve a crime and defuse a Broadway-bound bomb, offering rewrite tips to the creative team and producers (played by Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba, Jason Danieley and Edward Hibbert, among others).
The show's plot was rewritten extensively by Holmes when he was invited aboard after the 2003 death of Stone.
Tickets are on sale at Telecharge at (212) 239-6200, or online at www.telecharge.com or in person at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre box office (302 West 45th Street).
For more information visit www.CurtainstheMusical.com.
The cast includes David Hyde Pierce as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, Tony Award winner Debra Monk (Redwood Curtain, Steel Pier) as producer Carmen Bernstein, Tony winner Karen Ziemba (Contact) as lyricist Georgia Hendricks, Jason Danieley (The Full Monty, Broadway's most recent Candide) as composer Aaron Fox, Jill Paice (The Woman in White) as ingénue Niki Harris and Edward Hibbert (The Drowsy Chaperone) as director Christopher Belling, with John Bolton as theatre critic Daryl Grady, Michael X. Martin as stage manager Johnny Harmon, Michael McCormick as investor Oscar Shapiro, Noah Racey (Never Gonna Dance) as choreographer/star Bobby Pepper, Ernie Sabella (Sweet Charity, Man of La Mancha) as producer Sidney Bernstein and Megan Sikora as understudy Bambi Bernét.
Tony winner Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie) choreographs.
According to the producers, "Curtains unfolds backstage at Boston's Colonial Theatre in 1959, where a new musical could be a Broadway smash, were it not for the presence of its talent-free leading lady. When the hapless star dies on opening night during her curtain call, Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (David Hyde Pierce) arrives on the scene to conduct an investigation. But the lure of the theatre proves irresistible and after an unexpected romance blooms for the stage-struck detective, he finds himself just as drawn toward making the show a hit, as he is in solving the murder."
The 31-member cast also features Ashley Amber (Swing), Nili Bassman (Arlene Barucca), Kevin Bernard (Roy Stetson/Detective O'Farrell), Ward Billeisen (Brick Hawvermale), Paula Leggett Chase, (Marjorie Cook), Jennifer Dunne (Jan Setler), David Eggers (Swing), J. Austin Eyer (Swing), Matt Farnsworth (Harv Fremont), Patty Goble (Jessica Cranshaw/Connie Subbotin), Mary Ann Lamb (Mona Page), David Loud (Sasha Iljinsky), Brittany Marcin (Peg Prentice), Jim Newman (Randy Dexter), Joe Aaron Reid (Ronnie Driscoll), Darcie Roberts (Roberta Wooster), Christopher Spaulding (Russ Cochran), Allison Spratt (Swing) and Jerome Vivona (Swing).
The Broadway producers are Roger Berlind, Roger Horchow, Daryl Roth, Jane Bergère, Ted Hartley and Center Theatre Group. Like The Drowsy Chaperone in 2005-06, Curtains had its world premiere at Center Theatre Group's Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles (in August 2006).
The creative team includes set designer Anna Louizos, Tony-winning costume designer William Ivey Long (The Producers), Tony-winning lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski (The Producers) and sound designer Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Tony winner William David Brohn (Ragtime). Dance arrangements are by David Chase. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by David Loud. Wig and hair design is by Paul Huntley. Fight direction is by Rick Sordelet. Aerial effects design is by Paul Rubin. Make-up design is by Angelina Avallone. Associate choreographer is Joann M. Hunter. Production supervisor is Beverley Randolph. Technical supervisor is Peter Fulbright. Casting is by Jim Carnahan.