ROCK OF AGES Hanggi Helms AND THE CURTAIN RISES at Signature Theatre; Begins 3/17


Virginia's Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre, through its groundbreaking American Musical Voices Project (AMVP), announces the world premiere of the musical comedy And the Curtain Rises (formerly known as Wheatley's Folly). Beginning performances on Thursday, March 17, 2011, And the Curtain Rises marks the third production presented as part of Signature's AMVP, the largest commissioning program for new musicals in the country, following Michael John LaChiusa's Giant in 2009 and Ricky Ian Gordon's Sycamore Trees last year. The Washington Post has said that "Signature's AMVP is the most ambitious embrace of new musical theater in the DC region."

Directing And the Curtain Rises will be Tony Award® nominee Kristin Hanggi (Broadway's Rock of Ages). Music was composed by Joseph Thalken, one of five composers to garner Signature's prestigious Musical Theatre Composer Grant. The book for And the Curtain Rises is written by Michael Slade with lyrics by Mark Campbell. Working with Hanggi on the creative team are Music Director/Conductor Boko Suzuki, Choreographer Josh Walden, Set Designer Beowulf Boritt, Costume Designer Kathleen Geldard, Lighting Designer Colin K. Bills, and Sound Designer Matt Rowe.

Inspired by true events, And the Curtain Rises tells the outrageous and funny story of how the first American musical - 1866's legendary The Black Crook - was born. This musical comedy follows novice producer William Wheatley as he frantically struggles to save his mess of a play. With a dreadful script, an uncompromising author, a cast on the verge of revolt, and scenery and costumes destroyed, the production is in shambles. Conditions are further complicated when a French ballet troupe is forced to seek refuge in their theatre after their theater burns down next door. Rather than throw in the towel and count his losses, Wheatley decides to take control and turn lemons into lemonade.

The cast for And the Curtain Rises features Nick Dalton (William Wheatley), Rebecca Watson (Millicent Cavendish), Kevin Carolan (C.H. Morton), Jennifer Smith (Rose Morton), Sean Thompson (Charles Barras), Alma Cuervo (Mme. Grimaud), Anna Kate Bocknek (Marie Bonfant), Erick Devine (Jeremiah Burnett), Brian Sutherland (Roman Korda), Erik Altemus (George C. Boniface), William Diggle (James Timoney), and a host of ballerinas.

Eric Schaeffer, Signature Theatre's Artistic Director stated, "We could not be more proud of all that we have been able to accomplish so far with our American Musical Voices Project. It is a vital part of who we are and what Signature represents in the world of musical theater. With this remarkably talented creative team - and the cast we have assembled - I am sure that audiences will thoroughly enjoy being among the very first to witness this very funny and very poignant show."

Performances of And the Curtain Rises run from March, 17 2011 to April 10, 2011. Show times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. There is no performance on Saturday, March 19 at 2:00pm. The Funders performance on Tuesday, March 29 is at 8:00pm.

Tickets range from $55 - $81 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT (7328) or visiting Group discounts are available for parties of ten or more by contacting Bethany Shannon at or by calling (571) 527-1831. For more information please visit


The remaining shows in Signature's 2010-11 season include Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning play Art and Side by Side by Sondheim. Tickets are available by calling Signature's Box Office at (703) 820-9771.


Erik Altemus (George C. Boniface) OFF-BROADWAY: Matt in The Fantasticks. REGIONAL: Muny: Annie, Meet Me in St. Louis, Camelot; Musical Theatre Guild of Los Angeles: Parade; University of Cincinnati: Jesus in Godspell, Passion, Cabaret, The Cradle Will Rock. TV: HBO: Miraculous Year (Pilot). FILM: American Film Institute: The Newman Shower. EDUCATION: BFA, Musical Theatre, University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) 2009.

Anna Kate Bocknek (Marie Bonfant) NEW YORK: MOMA: Balcony Scene. REGIONAL: American Stage: Othello; Theater at Monmouth: Once Upon a Mattress; Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati: The Frog Princess; Bigfork Playhouse: Anything Goes; Grease; Crazy for You; Hello, Dolly!; Chicago; Washington Ballet Internship 2005. EDUCATION: BA, James Madison University.

Kristen Calgaro (Ballerina) NEW YORK: New York Classical Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing; Broadway Workshop: Brigadoon. NATIONAL TOUR: Dr. Dolittle (w/ Tommy Tune). DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Broadway: 3 Generations; Bay Theatre: The Glass Menagerie. REGIONAL: Goodspeed: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; North Shore: Cinderella; 5th Avenue: White Christmas; Sierra Rep; White Christmas; Deertrees: Out of Sterno. TV: Law and Order. FILM: Kumare, South by Southwest Film Festival, March '11. EDUCATION: University of Virginia, Religious Studies & Spanish, Phi Beta Kappa.

Kevin Carolan (C.H. Morton) BROADWAY: Chicago, 10th Anniversary Celebration, The Ritz, Dirty Blonde. OFF-BROADWAY: Encores!: Pardon My English; NYMF: Have A Nice Life (Best Ensemble Performance, 2006). NATIONAL TOUR: Chicago, Dirty Blonde. DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: Kudzu!. REGIONAL: Barrington Stage: A Streetcar Named Desire; Goodspeed: Happy Days! A New Musical; Berkshire Theatre Festival: Morning's At Seven; George Street Playhouse: Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Studio Arena Theatre: A Thousand Clowns; Wilma Theatre: Dirty Blonde; American Stage Company: The Butter And Egg Man, Lucky Guy. TELEVISION: The Middle, Boardwalk Empire (dir. Martin Scorsese), Curb Your Enthusiasm, White Collar, Fringe, Sonny With A Chance, Spin City, All My Children, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: CI, Trinity (recurring). COMEDY: Member: Friars Club, The Improv (Miami), Upright Citizen's Brigade (NYC): Gravid Water.

Alma Cuervo (Mme. Grimaud) BROADWAY: Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts), Cabaret (Schneider), Titanic (original Ida Straus), The Heidi Chronicles, Ghetto, Quilters; Is There Life After High School?, Censored Scenes From King Kong, Bedroom Farce, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. NATIONAL TOURS: Wicked (Morrible), My Fair Lady, Cabaret, M. Butterfly. OFF-BROADWAY: Sondheim and Weidman's Road Show (directed by John Doyle). REGIONAL: Cincinnati: The Three Sisters (Sarah Ruhl's adaptation); Huntington: The Miracle At Naples; Northern Stage: The Year of Magical Thinking. AWARDS: OBIE for Uncommon Women and Others; Barrymore for The Beauty Queen of Leenane (PTC); PHOEBE for Wit (Theatre Virginia). TV: Norman Lear's a.k.a. Pablo (series co-star), Law and Order, Criminal Intent. EDUCATION: BA from Tulane; MFA from Yale Drama.

Nick Dalton (William Wheatley) BROADWAY TOURS: Hair (Europe), Hairspray (Las Vegas), Legally Blonde (1st National). NYC/OFF-BROADWAY: NYMF: Trails, Don Imbroglio, Liberty; York Theatre: Its Not What I Say, Ethan Frome (by Adam Gwon); Musicals Tonight!: Ernest in Love, Love From Judy; Active Theatre Company: Romance Romance. REGIONAL: Walnut Street Theatre: Fiddler on the Roof (Barrymore nomination); North Shore Music Theatre: The Three Musketeers; Ogunquit Playhouse + Gateway Playhouse: The Full Monty; Mill Mountain Playhouse: Funny Thing Happened..; Arizona Broadway Theatre: Jekyll + Hyde (title role); Mason Street Warehouse: Wicked City (by Chad Beguelin and Matt Sklar). TV: Host of Zoo Sounds (ABC & PBS), All My Children. FILM: Liszt For President (Euro Indie Winner). EDUCATION: Western Michigan University.

Suzanne Darling (Ballerina) NATIONAL TOUR: Radio City Christmas Spectacular. INTERNATIONAL TOUR: 42nd Street. REGIONAL: Debbie Does Dallas The Musical; Carnegie Hall: Holiday Spectacular with Elaine Stritch; Avery Fisher Hall: You Oughta Be In Pictures (w/ Karen Ziemba); Brooklyn Lyceum: All Is Full Of Love (world premiere). TV: Love Is Blind (pilot).

Erick Devine (Jeremiah Burnett) BROADWAY: Ragtime, Seussical, Cats, Sid Caesar & Co. OFF-BROADWAY: Enter Laughing, Anne of Green Gables, Lucky Stiff, (all 3 on CD), A Winter's Tale. ENCORES: Of Thee I Sing, Allegro. NATIONAL TOUR: Big River (Deaf West), Ragtime, White Christmas, Me & My Girl (Helen Hayes nomination), Annie Get Your Gun (w/Cathy Rigby), Grand Hotel. DIRECTED: HMS Pinafore, Candide (both w/Kristin Chenoweth), Anything Goes (w/Kelli O'Hara), ...Molly Brown (w/Cathy Rigby), Annie Warbucks (w/Gavin MacLeod), 1776, ...Forum, Most Happy Fella, Compleat Wks of WmShkspr (Abridged), Der Fledermaus, Miracle on 34th Street.