by Madison Johnson of Raymore Peculiar High School
Lunch counter mornings and coffee shop nights will never be boring after Grain Valley's production of CURTAINS. A whodunit musical comedy awaits, perfect to make the whole family laugh.
CURTAINS was originally produced in 2006, going to Broadway the year after. The narrative follows the plot of a murder happening of a musical's lead actress. The cast and crew get stuck in the theater as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi does his best to not only solve the murder, and soon to be murders, but also fix the show with his own little theater loving experience.
With Frank Cioffi (Maddux Hughes), Carmen Bernstein (Harper Allie), Aaron Fox (Trae Selemaea), and Georgia Hendricks (Mak Robinson) all bringing exceptionally strong vocals, along with the chorus, pulling the show together and tying it with a bow. The harmonies in, "What Kind of Man?" stands out, and the completeness of, "Thataway!" makes the singing that much better.
The combination of comedy and mystery work extremely well with this cast. Johnny Harmon (Katie Hobbs) is well memorable as a comedian throughout the show. Oscar Shapiro (Josh Poblete) also holds a comedic value special to this cast. Even the characters the audience isn't necessarily supposed to enjoy, such as Sidney Bernstein (Luke Gniotczynski), who holds his stage presence well and is immediately memorable, and Daryl Grady (Forest Kruse) who makes their limited time on the stage worthwhile.
The set and costuming is phenomenal. The transitions from one set to another are smooth and reminiscent of that of an actual musical rehearsal. The costumes are accurate to not only the western show the cast is performing in their show, but also accurate to the 1950's era the characters reside in. It is easy to hear the cast the entire show, even with the small mic troubles, the cast projects extremely well and is able to be heard all the way in the back of the theater. Select choreography (lead by Mak Robinson and Bailey Jinkens) is creative, balanced, and keeps both the cast and audience engaged in the song the entire time. The meta-humor of incorporating aspects of the tech, such as the light crew head, Gracie Havard, into the show makes it that much more enjoyable to watch.
The never ending chemistry between characters, both good and bad, makes CURTAINS hilarious and beautiful. This company really is "a special kind of people, show people!"