November 2016

Curtains Raised for Musical Mystery Comedy

Author: Erin Laytham Lentz

Curtains, the Broadway musical whodunit, will hit the stage at The May River Theatre in Bluffton this November—one of the final collaborations between composer John Kander and lyricist, Fred Ebb, also known for writing the scores to Cabaret and Chicago. The murder mystery features a detective called in to investigate the murder of a Broadway star who mysteriously dies during the curtain call of her troubled new show on opening night.

BroadwayWorld Award-winning director Bryce Cofield directs a cast of 15-20 local actors. Cofield, a longtime actor, made his directorial debut with his smash hit production of The Addams Family in 2015. He is joined by acclaimed actress and choreographer, Jodi Layman, who has spent decades in the arts and previously worked with Cofield when he was a young actor. Warren Hellman, Musical Director, rounds out the dynamic artistic team.

“I met Jodi in 2005 when I did my first show, Seussical, at Main Street Youth Theatre, where she was choreographer. She was able to transform me from someone playing ensemble parts to lead roles and ultimately to giving a performance that would get me accepted into a college conservatory program in Manhattan [AMDA]. I owe her a whole lot, and I am so excited to work with her on this show,” Cofield said.

In Curtains, the audience embarks on a hilarious journey of suspense, justice seeking and romance, all bundled inside a musical. The plot begins when an over-hyped, no-talent star is murdered during her first curtain call. It is up to Lt. Frank Cioffi to solve the crime in which everyone is a suspect: the domineering producer, the formerly married songwriters, the egotistical director, and the chorus of Broadway hopefuls. Cioffi, a police detective and musical theatre fan, finds love and attempts to save the show while avoiding getting killed.

Near the end of the first act, as theatre people are trying to work out the kinks of a new musical while a cop seeks to solve the backstage murder, comes what fans and cast members have termed, “the song.” “I Miss the Music,” written by Kander is said to be sentimental lyrics for his longtime friend and colleague, Ebb, who did not live to see Curtains.

When Curtains opened, it was referred to as a brand new, old Broadway musical, and it is two shows in one. It is a tribute to the very best musicals that ever appeared on Broadway, incorporating snippets of other shows within this larger than life production.
MRT is pleased to share the on- and off-stage talent of many creatives who knew the theatre in its beginnings.

The all-star cast is led by Daniel Derrer (Lieutenant Frank Coiffi), Jennifer Green (Carmen Bernstein), Daniel Cort (Aaron Fox), Debbie Cort (Georgia Hendricks), Emily Rice (Bambi Bernet) and Jean White (Niki Harris). Supporting actors include: DA Southern, Stephan Brannan James Siler, Jim Sauter, Robert Fitzsimmons and Mary Lynn Finn. Ensemble is played by: Lindsey Brannan, Elliott Lentz, Jeff Cory, Emily Kustak, Katherine Lucena, Matthew Davey and Alyssa Ratajczyk.

Production rights are from Theatrical Rights Worldwide. The show run is Nov. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19 at 8 p.m. and Nov 6, 13 and 20 at 3 p.m. For tickets, visit mayrivertheatre.com or call (843) 815-5581. Tickets are $25. 

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