ROYAL OAK, Michigan (WXYZ) - Stagecrafters will open the curtain tonight (Friday January 18 th) on the musical whodunit Curtains at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak.
The story focuses on a detective by day, Frank Cioffi (Bob Marselle of Rochester Hills) giving his time to the local community theatre for several weeks a year. It’s a show sure to captivate anyone who loves live theater. “All us of involved have a connection to this character,” says director Debbie Landis-Sigler of Clawson. “He finds the theatre fulfilling and is willing give his time and talent simply for the love of it. That sounds like most of us,” she says.
The show; with book by Rupert Holmes, music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb, original book and concept by Peter Stone and additional lyrics by John Kander and Rupert Holmes; runs January 18 – February 10, 2013, at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak. Tickets are available at or at the box office (248) 541-6430. http://www.stagecrafters.org
The story contains both playful and poignant music, as a detective bitten by the theatre bug sets out to solve a murder against a colorful backdrop of a Broadway-bound show, circa 1959.
Landis-Sigler and her team say the whodunit is “hilarious” and full of “thrills, spills, laughter, mayhem and mystery,” as it celebrates the Golden Age of musicals and Hollywood film noir detective movies of the 1950s.
Cioffi is not just solving another murder case when he is sent to Boston’s Colonial Theatre to investigate the death of faded star Jessica Cranshaw (Megan Meade-Higgins of Northville). With a pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical, Robbin’ Hood!, which places the Robin Hood legend in the Old West, in progress, this stage-struck detective is completely in his element.
“The Lt. Cioffi character is an ‘All American’ guy who is warm and friendly, but very serious about his job of catching the killer while just as passionate about the time he spends involved in community theatre,” says Landis-Sigler.
With the company sequestered, he uncovers a web of secrets, blackmail, complicated relationships and strong personalities. The show’s hardened and unhappily-married producers, Sidney and Carmen Bernstein (Larry Webster of Royal Oak and Denise Kowalelski-Tucker of Livonia, respectively), are at odds while trying not to show favoritism toward their ambitious daughter, chorus girl Bambi Bernét (Deb Dworkin of Berkley).
The songwriter Aaron Fox (Tony Battle of Royal Oak) is still carrying a torch for his ex-wife, Georgia Hendricks (Lynette Kerr-Yeager of Utica), who has gone from co-songwriter to leading lady and is now dating the charming choreographer and leading man, Bobby Pepper (Jerry Haines of Berkley). Christopher Belling (Steve Worley of Rochester Hills) is the show’s campy director, Oscar Shapiro (Michael Falzon of Dearborn) is the General Manager and Johnny Harmon (Tom Pagano of Clinton Township) is the gruff stage manager. Finally Cioffi takes a personal interest in the sweet chorus girl Niki Harris (Celeste Blanch of Birmingham).
As the company is reeling from the murder and a negative review by local newspaper critic Daryl Grady (Nasir Khawaja of Southfield), the backstage body count continues to rise. But if Cioffi doesn’t have his hands full, he is now the confidant to the entire company, falling in love with Niki and re-working the show.
Landis-Sigler promises a good old-fashioned whodunit with upbeat music, plot twists and turns, great characters and some Western dancing thrown in. “This show takes place in 1959 and has a nostalgic musical theatre feel. For the audiences of today who sometimes demand more from their shows technically or in the subject matter, we need to simply play it honestly. If we are sincere with what we do, the audience will be comfortable and sit back and enjoy,” she says.
Curtains opened on Broadway on March 22, 2007, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and ran for 511 performances to close on June 29, 2008. The show was nominated for eight 2007 Tony Awards with David Hyde Pierce (Niles in television’s Frasier) winning the Best Actor (Musical) award for his portrayal of Lt. Frank Cioffi. The show, unfinished at the time of Fred Ebb’s death in 2004, marks one of Kander & Ebb’s final collaborations. The 2003 death of Peter Stone, the book writer, also preceded the Broadway production.
Advance tickets for performances are $18 on Thursdays, $20 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Patrons attending the opening night performance, January 18 th, are invited to a 7 pm pre-glow of light hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Student, military and senior discounts are available for specific performances. Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 per ticket.