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Curtains [Original Broadway Cast]

Curtains [Original Broadway Cast]

4.5 2
by David Hyde Pierce
Nominated for eight Tony awards in 2007, Curtains is the final musical from the celebrated team of Kander and Ebb, whose longstanding partnership produced such Broadway classics as Cabaret and Chicago. Composed in a style that harks back to Broadway's Golden Age (it even features a bona fide overture), this whodunit-dressed-up-as-a-musical stars


Nominated for eight Tony awards in 2007, Curtains is the final musical from the celebrated team of Kander and Ebb, whose longstanding partnership produced such Broadway classics as Cabaret and Chicago. Composed in a style that harks back to Broadway's Golden Age (it even features a bona fide overture), this whodunit-dressed-up-as-a-musical stars David Hyde Pierce as a song-loving detective, with solid supporting performances from Karen Ziemba, Jason Danieley, and the scene-stealing Deborah Monk.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The road to getting a musical on Broadway has become long and circuitous, even for stage veterans, and this is borne out by Curtains, which finally opened at the Al Hirschfield Theatre on March 22, 2007, several years after the deaths of its original librettist, Peter Stone, and lyricist, Fred Ebb. When Stone succumbed in 2003, Ebb and his composer partner John Kander turned to Rupert Holmes, a playwright, songwriter, and former recording artist ("Escape [The Pina Colada Song]") with a taste for mystery stories whose sole prior musical theater credit came with The Mystery of Edwin Drood, for which he wrote both the songs and the libretto. When Ebb died suddenly in 2004, Holmes became a co-lyricist as well. The result, not surprisingly, is a work that mixes the sensibilities of Kander & Ebb with Holmes. Curtains is set in Boston in 1959, at a theater where a Broadway-bound musical is in tryouts that are not going well. The show-within-a-show, Robbin' Hood!, is set in the Old West, and bears a distinct resemblance to Oklahoma! After a performance, the leading lady, an untalented fading film star, collapses and is rushed to the hospital, where she dies of poisoning. That brings onto the scene Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (David Hyde Pierce), a stage-struck detective who, over the course of two acts, catches the murderer and saves the show. Kander, who turned 80 only days before opening night and whose theatrical composing career dates back to 1962, has always felt most comfortable writing pastiches of the kind of songs he might have heard in his childhood; his musical sensibility is rooted in the jazz and popular styles of the 1920s and early '30s, and it is notable that his most successful shows, Cabaret and Chicago, are set during that period. Faced with the requirement of writing music that sounds like the Broadway of the late '50s, he makes a brave attempt, at least at first, and manages to move his usual style up to the mid-'40s. "Wide Open Spaces," the big finale for Robbin' Hood! that opens Curtains, draws directly on the song "Oklahoma" (1943), and "Show People," in which Pierce and producer Carmen Bernstein (Debra Monk) attempt to buck up the doubtful cast, sounds a lot like "There's No Business Like Show Business" from Annie Get Your Gun (1947). But no Kander musical can stay away from '20s jazz styles for long, and by the time of "Thataway!," another Robbin' Hood! number, there's a banjo strumming away and the wailing horns are making like New Orleans. Ebb, for his part, spent his career veering between sharp, cynical lyrics (that often threw in mildly crude language as a kicker) and deeply sentimental ones, and he seems to have maintained that dichotomy to his dying day. "What Kind of Man?" excoriates critics (and even uses the word "excoriated" to do it); "The Woman's Dead" takes jibes at the first murder victim; and "It's a Business" has some caustic things to say about the theater (including the not-for-profit theater, which can't have been much of a force, if it even existed, in 1959). But "Thinking of Him," "Coffee Shop Nights," and particularly "I Miss the Music" (which inevitably must be heard as Kander's lament over Ebb's death) are wistful ballads full of sincere emotion. Holmes' influence seems more apparent in the somewhat generic production songs like "Thataway!" and "Kansasland," although his lyrical contributions are not spelled out precisely. (It seems unlikely that Ebb would have committed the mistake of anachronistically referring to the 1961 film Splendor in the Grass in "Kansasland," but who knows?) Sporting a Boston accent, Pierce, previously seen in Spamalot and best known for his role in the TV series Frasier, is a light, pleasant presence on a cast recording more dominated by stage veterans Monk and Karen Ziémba. The ensemble cast is strong and gives a good account of a score that ends up being sturdy and representative of the songwriters, if not among their best work.
San Francisco Chronicle - Robert Hurwitt
[Hyde Pierce] is a charming singer, but the dynamic voices of Debra Monk and Karen Ziemba...as the show-within-the-show's tough producer and the lyricist with love problems, respectively, are what really sells this original-cast CD.

Product Details

Release Date:
Manhattan Records

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

David Hyde Pierce   Primary Artist
Donald Downs   Trumpet
Jimmy C. Newman   Harmonica,Tom-Tom,Vocals,Spoons
Ernie Sabella   Vocals
Charles Gordon   Trombone
R.J. Kelley   French Horn
David Loud   Conductor,Vocals,Musical Direction
Bruce Doctor   Drums
Steve Kenyon   Alto Saxophone
Karen Ziémba   Vocals
John Bolton   Vocals
Mark Thrasher   Baritone Saxophone
Patty Goble   Vocals
Jason Danieley   Vocals
Debra Monk   Vocals
Michael McCormick   Vocals
Kevin Bernard   Vocals
Dave Eggers   Vocals
Matt Farnsworth   Vocals
Noah Racey   Vocals
Megan Sikora   Vocals
Jill Paice   Vocals
Curtains Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Michael X. Martin   Vocals
Edward Hibbert   Vocals
Curtains Cast Ensemble   Choir, Chorus
Jim Newman   Harmonica,Tom-Tom,Vocals,Spoons
Paula Leggett Chase   Vocals
Christopher Spaulding   Vocals
Mary Ann Lamb   Vocals
Ashley Amber   Vocals
Joe Aaron Reid   Vocals
David Hyde Pierce   Vocals
Owen Kotler   Alto Saxophone
Allison Spratt   Vocals
J. Austin Eyer   Vocals
Sam Davis   Piano
Jerome Vivona   Vocals
Angela Cordell   French Horn
Greg Utzig   Acoustic Guitar
Brittany Marcin   Vocals
Matt Peterson   Trumpet
Robert Renino   Acoustic Bass
Jim Newman   Vocals
Hunt   Clarinet
Jennifer Dunne   Vocals
Nili Bassman   Vocals
Darcie Roberts   Vocals
Jennifer Wharton   Bass Trombone
Sue Anschutz   Keyboards
Ward Billeisen   Vocals
Greg Landes   Percussion

Technical Credits

Rupert Holmes   Composer,Liner Notes,Book,Synopsis
John Kander   Composer
David Chase   Dance Arrangement
Frank Filipetti   Engineer
Jay David Saks   Producer,Audio Production
Bill Rosenfield   Executive Producer
David Loud   Vocal Arrangements
Fred Ebb   Lyricist
Steve Koster   Package Layout
Peter Stone   Concept,Cover Design

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4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Mommamia More than 1 year ago
The Kander-Ebb score is wonderful--I fell in love with the show from the recording. It was great to get to see it on Broadway twice, and totally lived up to what I expected. This is an essential recording for anyone who loves musical theatre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago