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Remember, in the 50s and 60s, coming out of the theater
after seeing a musical, with dancing feet and tunes already committed to memory? And what about feeling oh so sexy with cinched
waists on either full skirted or hourglass dresses? Well,
John Kander and the late Fred Ebbs have brought back those memories in their last musical,
remember those things? Curtains will probably still be engaging, but maybe
the temptation will be to view it a bit more critically. What
a pity it would be to whip out the microscope and nit pick away.
The story is of a really weak musical, Robinhood of the Old West, opening in
Thats right, Curtains is another play within a play á la The Producers or The Drowsy Chaperone, the latter of which also premiered at the Ahmanson this season. The structure is hardly innovative, but what makes it work so well is that the players on the Ahmanson stage except the original lead are supposed to be first rate performers, and they are. Robinhood, the play within the play, is just a mediocre vehicle.
One number they are doing is called "Kansas" and, yes, it does sounds a lot like Oklahoma with choreography that owes more than a little to Agnes DeMille and music that smacks of Rogers and Hammerstein. There is even an aside, If you love
In addition to the frantic, back-biting world of the stage, fun is what Curtains is about. Rob Ashfords choreography is high-kicking and spirited and the cast seems to be having a great time with the old-fashioned, Broadway style dancing. Outstanding were the lithesome Jill Paice and the acrobatic dancing of Megan Sekora (Bambi). Even Deborah Monk, the matronly producer of the flop, and mother of Bambi, was a delight to watch as she belted out song after song. Isnt that reminiscent of Ethel Merman? And, wasnt she fun to watch?
Curtains is corny; it is silly; it is supposed to be that way: a simple pleasure like a hot fudge sundae or a Three Musketeers bar. Not for everyday, but a treat when one allows oneself.
August 17, 2006 - Karen Weinstein