Raise the Curtains: Kander, Ebb, Stone, Holmes Musical Begins Broadway Run

News   Raise the Curtains: Kander, Ebb, Stone, Holmes Musical Begins Broadway Run
Curtains, the new murder-mystery musical comedy that begins Broadway performances Feb. 27, was created by so many Tony Award winners that the title page deserves its own overture — starting, of course, with a John Kander vamp.

Noah Racey and Karen Ziemba in the new musical Curtains.
Noah Racey and Karen Ziemba in the new musical Curtains. Photo by Joan Marcus

Like The Drowsy Chaperone last year, Curtains is that rare commercial musical theatre creature: an original show not based on existing source material, like a book or a movie. It sprang from the mind of Tony-winning librettist Peter Stone (1776, The Will Rogers Follies), who developed it over many years with composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb (both Tony winners, revered for Cabaret, Chicago, Zorba, Kiss of the Spider Woman and more).

Stone and Ebb did not live to see their darkly funny showbiz-set mystery musical come to life, but the project did not die with them. Tony winner Rupert Holmes (the songwriter and librettist of The Mystery of Edwin Drood) was enlisted as a new collaborator for Kander. Holmes and Kander share the credit of "additional lyrics" for the project.

Stone is credited with original book and concept. Holmes is credited with the book, which is set in and around the Colonial Theatre in Boston during the tryout of a new Broadway-bound show.

Following previews, Curtains will open March 22 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street, west of Eighth Avenue.

Four-time Tony Award nominee Scott Ellis (1776, The Little Dog Laughed, Twelve Angry Men, Kander and Ebb's And the World Goes 'Round, Steel Pier) directs a cast that 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 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.

Performance schedule for Curtains is Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM. Starting March 27, Tuesday evening performances will be at 7 PM.

Tickets are on sale at Telecharge at (212) 239-6200, online at www.telecharge.com or in person at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre box office.

For more information, visit www.CurtainsTheMusical.com.

Debra Monk and company begin performances in <i>Curtains</i>
Debra Monk and company begin performances in Curtains Photo by Joan Marcus
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