The overture to Curtains, the final show created by the team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (who also wrote Cabaret and Chicago among other great musicals) announces that the Golden Age of Broadway hasn't ended. It’s bold and brassy and full of melodies that make you feel like it’s 1959 or thereabouts.
Curtains, which actually debuted on Broadway in 2007, is getting its regional premiere by Cincinnati Music Theatre (CMT), one of our city’s best community theaters, predictable in its high quality with regular productions at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theatre.
The show is indeed set in 1959 in Boston, where a new musical, Robbin’ Hood, is having its out-of-town tryout. It’s a cheesy tale set in the Wild West with a masked hero, an innocent ingénue, a dashing hero and all the stereotyped characters you might imagine. The problem is that the leading lady is simply ghastly — a problem solved shortly after Curtains’ opening number when it’s literally “curtains” for her.
The actress dies — the producer quips, “She’ll never be better” — and the company finds itself taken over by a stage-struck homicide detective who keeps them all locked up in the theater. The cast members have little choice but to keep rehearsing the ill-fated show while he sorts things out and strikes up a little romance with the show’s ingénue.
Through May 15. Get showtimes, buy tickets and read Rick Pender's full review here.