by David May for Theatrical Rights Worldwide
Sacramento’s Runaway Stage Productions is now presenting CURTAINS, through August 1st. I had the pleasure of attending the matinee on July 18th and am pleased to report that it is a brilliant production from start to finish. Runaway Stage is a very popular fixture on the Sacramento theatre scene, and I can see why. They have been presenting top quality shows since 1997 and have a very loyal audience base, as witnessed by the sold-out house that enjoyed CURTAINS on Sunday. CURTAINS features a score by the legendary team of John Kander and Fred Ebb and a book by Rupert Holmes, based on the original book and concept by Peter Stone.
Director Bob Baxter has crafted a truly wonderful production. His super-talented cast is led by a confident Darryl Strohl as Lt. Frank Cioffi, the musical theatre loving detective. Lillian Baxter’s brassy Carmen Bernstein was right on the mark and Andrea St. Clair was a charming Niki Harris, the ingenue who falls for Cioffi. Kate Richardson, as Georgia Hendricks, the writer turned actor who steps in for the murdered Jessica Cranshaw, delivered a truly winning performance with a fully developed character and a lovely singing voice. Dan Masden’s portrayal of tunesmith Aaron Fox was spot-on, especially his gorgeous rendition of “I Miss the Music.” His lilting tenor captured the emotion and beauty of the song and held the audience spellbound throughout. Michael McElroy soared appropriately over the top with his take on director Christopher Belling, taking the show to delicious comedic heights. Scott Woodard found just the right formula to give life to Bobby Pepper, the show’s lead dancer and choreographer. And in a superstar turn as Bambi Bernet, Kris Farhood took the show into overdrive with her hilarious hi-jinks. Her song and dance skills were on prominent display in the show-stopping “Kansasland.” The entire ensemble was top-notch. Rounding out the talented company were Trey Hinkle, Giorgio Selvaggio, Thomas Galownia, Kevin Sowles, Amy Jaques-Jones, Daryl Clark, Eddie Voyce, Kirstin Haag, Marissa Tiddrick, and James Dean. During the final week of the run, Ian Culity takes over the role of Aaron Fox.
Baxter’s expert direction was augmented by a very strong design team: Choreography by Darryl Strohl, lighting by Kimberly Negrete, sets by Brian Watson, sound by Dave Hushbeck and costumes by Lillian Baxter. Rachel Mullen is the production’s Stage Manager.
One of the show’s highlights was the superb vocal performance of the ensemble, beautifully directed by Anne-Marie Pringle. The choral sections of Kander and Ebb’s score sounded lush and lovely. And, Music Director James Lohman (who also played the show within the show’s conductor Sasha), took the show to the next level with his phenomenal fourteen piece orchestra. The resident orchestra of the Runaway Stage played the shows orchestrations professionally and were recognized with great applause by the grateful audience. The pit at the 24th Street Theatre was graced by Donica Stiles, Patty Long, Jeanna Arnold, Laura Turpen, Deann Golz, Gary Suits, Jeffrey Falkner, Cat Spece, Alan Johansen, Paul Allen, Rudy Stubbs, Verna Brock, Paul Doerner and Ken Horton, conducted by Music Director Lohman.
Kudos to the entire staff and company of Runaway Stage’s CURTAINS!
For more information on licensing CURTAINS at your theatre click here.