Hayfield Secondary School CurtainsBy Cappies • May 18th, 2010 • Category: Cappies
The lead actress is simply awful, reviews are bad and the finale needs some major reworking before Robbin’ Hood will ever reach Broadway. With fighting between ‘showmances’, family squabbles and snobby directors how will this show ever survive? Oh, and that’s besides the heinous crimes that need to be solved. Chaos reigns in Hayfield Secondary School’s wacky parody of the ins and outs of musical theatre, as well as the dos and don’ts of murder, in their amusing production of Curtains.
Composing greats Kander and Ebb wrote the score, while Rupert Holmes handled the book for Curtains, which had a well received 2007 Broadway run that garnered eight Tony Award nominations. Created as a play-within-a-play spoof of both murder mysteries and musicals, the show opens as the star of Old West musical Robbin’ Hood falls down dead within seconds of taking her bows on opening night. Detective and secret theatre aficionado Frank Cioffi is sent to solve the case, and his help may be the only thing that can keep this production from death…literally!
As Cioffi, the nosy officer seeking the murderer and maybe a better musical, Jacob Brisson delivered his lines loudly and clearly, as well as performing an impressive tap duet. His partner, ditzy yet conniving understudy Niki Harris, was played effectively by Maria Cammarata, who exhibited great prowess as a dancer and delivered laughable lines to the audience. Aubrey Meeks carried the vocal strength of the performance as hard-nosed producer Carmen Bernstein, in songs like “Show People (Reprise)” and “It’s a Business.”
Dueling lovers and composers Georgia (Meghan Peterson) and Aaron (Michael Bayerle) convincingly played their love interest in lamentable numbers like Bayerle’s vocally-strong “I Miss the Music.” And Lizzy Stapula’s pretty twirls and leaps as aspiring dancer Bambi, as well as the cast’s great dancing efforts in several numbers, brought up energy in several songs when the slow-paced performance was lacking it.
Despite clear comic cues from the script, some actors failed to create memorable and funny caricatures for their over-the-top roles. An exception to this was funnyman Carter Plemmons, portraying the outlandish director Christopher Belling, whose snobby accent and grandiose gestures brought laughs from each of his excellent lines. Occasionally, however, some lines from the company were regrettably lost, making it more difficult to understand this murder mystery’s twists and turns.
Lovely painted backdrops were a highlight, giving an appropriate sense of place on the set and containing visually appealing details. Lighting was simple but effective, as were the props and special effects. Few microphone malfunctions occurred, though it was occasionally hard to hear some actors.
Putting on an intricate whodunit is hard enough, without adding the complications of show business to the mix. Despite these hardships and some lagging energy, Hayfield Secondary School put an admirable effort forth as the curtains went down on their own performance. For putting on a humorous production, the culprit is clear: case closed.
Julia Katz of McLean High School.
Photos by Jean Martelli.
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