Staples Players Presents CURTAINS
Blend the intrigue of a whodunit with the belly laughs of brilliant comedy, add a catchy score and rousing Old Hollywood-meets-Old-West dance numbers, and you've got a recipe for Staples Players next smash hit: Curtains. Will Lieutenant Cioffi solve the murder mystery, fall for a starlet, be stage struck . . . or maybe all three? Come see this enchanting show, which was the final project of Kander and Ebb-the songwriting team behind Cabaret and Chicago. David Roth (SHS '84) and Kerry Long (SHS '97) co-direct the cast of 46 in six performances from March 15 to 23.
Roth says, "Curtains is one of our favorites shows as it is contemporary but feels like a big, classic, old-fashioned musical. It is essentially a love letter to musical theatre. We have a large senior class this year and we chose the show, in part, because there are so many wonderful roles. It is a true ensemble show and we wanted to give each student an opportunity to shine."
Nick Rossi (SHS '19), known by Players fans as Emmett in Legally Blonde, Franklin Shepard in Merrily We Roll Along, and Jack in Newsies, plays Lieutenant Cioffi. "Even though he loves his job as a police lieutenant, he's always had dreams of being on the stage," explains Rossi, "and this murder case gets him up close with the show people he so admires. I love this aspect of Cioffi, because I can pull from my own love of musical theater to create the genuine intrigue he shows throughout the musical."
Lexi Levins (SHS '19) plays brassy Broadway producer Carmen Bernstein. In exploring her character during rehearsals, Levins began to see herself in Carmen more than she expected. "She may do crazy things, but when you boil it down she is just a caring person who wants the best for the people she loves," says Levins. The most challenging aspect for her? "Learning to speak with a New York accent. It is a skill I had to practice continuously for it to become second nature." Co-Director Kerry Long comments, "The kids are working with a professional accent coach in LA via Skype to help them nail the different dialects in the show."
He doesn't have to worry about accents, but stage manager Joe Xiang (SHS '19) has plenty on his mind as opening night approaches. In Curtains, multiple scene drops are a challenge. "We have three different drops that present different locations," says Xiang. "We installed tripping systems in our fly, which is effectively pulley mechanisms that allow us to bring the drops in and out."
To bring to life the old theater setting and "Robbin' Hood of the Old West" scenes (the show within the show), Players recruited alumnus Michael Dodd (SHS '18) as set designer. He worked as assistant stage manager and then stage manager (Newsies, Merrily We Roll Along) during high school and is now an electrical and computer engineering major at Duke University. "David Roth and I redesigned the main structural set for the show directly after Legally Blonde closed," says Dodd, who researched everything from old riverboats to water towers. "I was able to attend some early rehearsals in January and talk directly to the choreographers and technical team about ideas for the most important set pieces. After returning to college with some simple drafts, I created 3D renderings to send to the fantastic set building team at Staples."
Players has produced Curtains before, but those who saw it need to return for another look. "While we wanted to use the set from 2010 as inspiration," says Dodd, "David and I agreed that we wanted to make the set grander and larger than the last time." Kerry Long adds, "Dance has become a larger focus in Players, with more boys training in dance than we had then. So, we will be seeing some great partnering and lifts-lots of athletic dancing this time around!" She adds, "There are so many jokes in this show and they come so quickly that you have to see the show a couple times to catch all of the humor. It really is very funny-and appropriate for the whole family."
Roth concludes, "Anyone who works in the theatre or even just enjoys going to the theatre will find it to be a touching tribute to the love of creating and appreciating a show. It definitely celebrates the power of theatre to bring people together and lift people up."
Friday and Saturday Evenings: March 15, 16, 22 & 23 at 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday Matinee: March 17 & 23 at 3:00 pm
Snow Dates: March 21 at 7:30 pm and March 24 at 3:00 pm
Staples High School Auditorium
70 North Avenue
Westport, CT 06880
$20 for adults, $15 for students, $15 for seniors (matinee only)
Tickets may be purchased online at StaplesPlayers.com or in the lobby 30 minutes prior to performances, subject to availability. Run time is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes with one 10-minute intermission. Suitable for all ages.