(Above, left to right: Mark VanBeever, Kim Fairbairn, Tracy Nygard and Ward Fairbairn are among the large cast of the musical comedy “Curtains,” at the Cottage Theatre in Cottage Grove; photos by Emily Bly)
By Randi Bjornstad
“Curtains” is next up on the Cottage Theatre stage during the company’s 35th season, and it will transport the audience back to the 1950s in the form of a musical comedy whodunit.
Set in Boston, the plot revolves around a a theater — the Colonial — that is putting on a new musical production before it heads for the Broadway stage in New York City.
It seems like a great show, except for one big problem: The leading lady, Jessica Crenshaw, not only is not a triple threat, she’s no threat at all, not being able to sing, dance or act.
As luck — good for the show, bad for her — would have it, Crenshaw mysteriously dies onstage during the opening night curtain call, and naturally everyone on the cast and crew is a potential suspect. Police lieutenant Frank Cioffi gets the task of trying to sort it all out.
It turns out he’s a dyed-in-the-wool musical theater fan himself, so saving the show becomes just as important to him as solving the murder. Not only that, he’s taken a shine to a lovely young thing in the cast, so the question is whether he can solve the case, save the show and find true love all at once.
“Curtains” opens on April 7 at the Cottage Theatre and runs through the end of the month for 14 performances. Janet Rust directs, and Chris Holt is the music director, with set design by Tony Rust, costumes by Rhonda Turnquist and lighting by Amanda Ferguson.
Joel Ibanez stars as Lt. Frank Cioffi, with Sophie Blades as Niki Harris and Tracy Nygard as Georgia Hendricks. Kim Fairbairn takes the part of Carmen Bernstein, with Mark VanBeever as Aaron Fox, Dale Flynn as Sidney Bernstein, Larry Brown as Christopher Belling and Stefhani Anderson as Bambi Bernét.
The cast also includes Josh Carlton, Chris Carter, Brittany Dreier, Ward Fairbairn, Amber Hagen, Jason Kirkendall, Jennifer Mandeville-Schulz, Lisa Mattiello, Kathryn Pearson, Shanti Rios, Earl Ruttencutter, Tim Singer, Karen Snyder, Natalie Tichenor, Alex VonderHaar and Kory Weimer.
“Curtains” was written by Rupert Holmes, with lyrics by Fred Ebb and music by John Kander. The show premiered in Los Angeles in 2006 and opened on Broadway the following March, with David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk in the lead roles. It ran for 511 performances, closing in June 2008. Hyde Pierce won a Tony for best actor in a musical for his efforts.
When: 8 p.m. on April 7-8, 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29 and 2:30 p.m. on April 9, 23 and 30. (Note: There is no performance on Easter Sunday, April 16.)
Where: 700 Village Drive, Cottage Grove
Tickets: $25 for adults; $15 for youths ages 6 to 18 years; available in advance at the box office, 541-942-8001, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday or online at cottagetheatre.org/.