"Curtains" opens at Cottage Theatre

© 2017-Cottage Grove Sentinel

If you are the kind of person who doesn’t enjoy laughing or trying to figure out who is guilty in a murder mystery, then the Cottage Theatre’s “Curtains” is not for you. However, if you are among the 99 percent of us who enjoy comedies and mysteries, then “Curtains” is a great entertainment choice!

“Curtains,” which is a musical within a musical, is a very clever and brilliantly written play. Director Janet Rust knew she had a hit on her hands, the challenge was to effectively cast the wide-array of comedic characters, which is not always easy. Rust hit a home run with the Cottage Theatre’s 24-person cast.

 Joel Ibanez was superb as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, the affable policeman, who found it necessary to quarantine the entire cast of the western version of “Robin Hood,” the play within the play, after Georgia Hendricks, the lead in the musical fell dead at the conclusion of her pathetic performance. We quickly learn that every major character had a motive for her demise. Without giving away too much, Hendricks’ murder is followed by two more during the course of Cioffi’s investigation. 

I have seen many performances at the CT by Sophie Blades, and I think her portrayal of Niki Harris was her best to date. She displayed a wide range of emotions and talent in this fast-moving production.  All the major characters were very good, but Larry Brown as Christopher Belling, the pompous, pretentious director, was spot-on. It is hard to conceive of anyone who could play that role better than Brown. He was a joy to watch and listen to in every scene he was present.

There are almost 20 musical numbers and all were choreographed by Rust. I found  Mark VanBeever’s solo, “I Miss the Music” one of the musical highlights as well as the “make up” duet by VanBeever and Tracy Nygaard. The lighting, sound, costumes, and orchestra were all executed without a hitch in just the second night after the Friday night opening. “Curtains” originally opened in Los Angles in 2006 and then on Broadway in 2007 where it ran for over one year. David Hyde Pierce (Niles on televisions’s “Frasier”) won the Leading Actor Tony Award for his portrayal of Lieutenant Cioffi.

For local community entertainment, “Curtains,” is well worth the price of admission. There will be 14 performances at the Cottage Theatre from April 7–30. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm. There is not a performance on Easter Sunday, April 16.

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