“…whatever you do, Don’t reveal who killed who, Or it just might…be curtains…for you!!”
The production of CURTAINS at Neshaminy Valley Music Theatre ends with those words, so you will excuse me if I am very careful about any potential spoilers. What I can (and will) say is that this production is very solid, and very enjoyable.
CURTAINS is a musical “show within a show” spoofing the film noir-style shows of the 1950’s. During the curtain call of the opening night performance of “Robbin’ Hood”, an Old West version of Robin Hood, the lead actress, fading film star Jessica Cranshaw (Rita Enders) is murdered. Enter Lt. Cioffi (Michael Zweig) who is not only a homicide detective, but a theatre buff. He saw the performance and loved it with the exception of the performance of Cranshaw. His mission is to not only solve the murder but to save the show, salvage a song writing team’s broken relationship and perhaps to find true love himself.
CURTAINS is a musical homage to many other musical comedies, and part of the fun is finding those hidden treasures. The director/choreographer, Stephen Casey, has done his homework and has given the cast some great tidbits to give the audience a special thrill. The acting is appropriately over the top at times, and the choreography is reminiscent of the extravaganzas of the era. Music Director Michael Zweig has the chorus and principles well rehearsed, working very well with the pre-recorded score. (My pet peeve with pre-recorded music not allowing the actors to be expressive was almost non-existent with this production. Kudos to both Zweig and the recording company for making me forget at times there was no live music.) Minimal sets allowed the action to flow quickly from scene to scene, and the costumes were appropriate for the period, with the bright colors accenting the spoof of the genre.
Performances in this show were also first-rate. Zweig played Cioffi as the semi-bumbling fan who hides his brilliance behind his shyness. His “interest” Niki (Michele Demsky) is endearing as the understudy with a secret. Aimee Miller almost steals the show as Carmine Bernstein the co-producer. Her stage presence is wonderful, and she commands the stage each time she is on. Joan Zalot (Georgia) and Michael Scibilia (Aaron) are delightful as the songwriters who need a bit of help finding each other. Kyle Rodgers is excellent as Bobby, the choreographer and lead actor of Robbin’ Hood. The other performances were also very solid…my apologies to the cast as there is not nearly enough space to acknowledge each performance.
The show flows beautifully, moving from scene to scene very quickly. The action never bogs down, and the music is delightful. There is only one more weekend to enjoy this first-rate production. Don’t miss it.
Book by Rupert Holmes, Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed and choreographed by Stephen Casey
Musical Direction by Michael Zweig
April 12-20, 2013
Neshaminy Valley Music Theatre
Neshaminy High School Theodore Kloos Theatre
2001 Old Lincoln Highway
Langhorne PA 19047