Wednesday, May 18, 2016

review - CURTAINS - Fountain Hills Theater

Michael Stewart and Karylin Veres
Photo by Patty Torrilhon
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through May 22nd.

 "John Kander and Fred Ebb have written the scores to some excellent musicals—Chicago and Cabaret being their two biggest hits. But they also wrote scores for numerous other shows, some of which only had short runs on Broadway. Curtains is one of those musicals, running for just a little over a year in New York. While it may not be the same caliber as their two biggest hits, and it has a few shortcomings, the Curtains score has several catchy songs and the show features an interesting murder mystery plot. Fountain Hills' production has talented leads and swift direction which make for a fun-filled endeavor....The plot involves a Broadway bound musical having out of town tryouts in 1959 Boston. The leading lady is murdered on opening night and a local detective, who is also a musical theatre buff, attempts to solve the murder while the creators and cast attempt to solve the problems with their show. And since the murder happened on the stage when everyone in the cast and crew were present, they are all suspects and can't leave the theatre until the mystery is solved. Curtains has many things going for it: great characters, a plot that keeps you guessing as to just who the murderer actually is, and some rousing songs. However, while the plot is an interesting and somewhat original one, and there are some good songs and the plot has plenty of twists and turns, the show is a little lacking in bringing all of the components together to make a satisfying musical....While Fountain Hills can't do anything to overcome these shortcomings inherent in the show, they fortunately have a cast that is quite good. As Cioffi, the Boston detective trying to solve the case, and the demanding co-producer of Robbin' Hood!, Michael Stewart and Leslie Haddad play off of each other very well. Stewart is perfectly believable as a detective as well as a person who loves the theatre; the fact that he is able to play both sides of the role with an abundance of charm and authority shows how good of an actor he is. He also manages a fairly good and consistent Boston accent. Haddad injects a big dose of motherly advice beneath her demands, which helps round out the character and make her more realistic. She also has good comic skills and is able to instill fear in the cast and crew of her show, exactly like you'd expect a producer to do....(Peter) Hill's direction instills a fast pace and plays up the humor in the show but also doesn't undercut the more intense moments of the ongoing murder investigation....While Curtains isn't a perfect musical it is still a fun show. Fountain Hills' production is fast paced with an effective cast and adept direction that find both the warmth and humor within the mystery."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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