The company of Curtains. Photo: CLT


Book, additional Lyrics by Rupert Holmes
Music, additional Lyrics by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Original book and concept by Peter Stone
Directed by John Hardaway

A review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2024 by Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

A diva is poisoned, a producer is killed, and a stage manager is shot. Understudies, chorus members, and even reviewers from the local newspaper are suspects! Clarksville Little Theater’s current production of Curtains is a laugh-out-loud musical murder mystery with lots of nods to old Broadway musicals thrown in for good measure.

The laughs start the moment the literal curtain lifts. “Wide Open Spaces” does double duty by introducing Robbin’ Hood, the fictional show within the show. Sporting their best country western gear, cowboy hats, and bonnets, the cast channels productions of classics like Annie Get Your Gun or Oklahoma! Complete with a spelling of Kansas and staging of actors in the shape of letters, the Robbin’ Hood sequences provide the strongest parts of the show. The, “In the Same Boat” moments are a humorous folly as the chorus handles large boats and tiny paddles while chorus girls in the mermaid lounge nearby. Emma Lambert’s saucy chorus girl, Bambi brings fierce high kicks and spins. Lambert shows off her dance skills during the Agnes DeMille-inspired “Kansasland” with Brayden Glass’ Bobby, who serves as a formidable dance partner. “He Did It” opens the second act with great vocals from the whole cast and well-timed stage work involving flashlights and black curtains; truly a highlight of the show.

Curtains is a perfect example of what is possible with a great musical comedy in a local theater. And Dan O’Neil’s Lt. Frank Cioffi is tons of fun as the musical theater aficionado detective hired to solve the murders. O’Neil plays well as an outsider who gets to live their dreams of song and dance. Paired with Jaden Berry’s sweet doe-eyed Niki, he leads the company in a riveting version of “A Tough Act to Follow.” In other scenes, he comes to comedic blows with Christopher Belling, the foppish yet arrogant director played deliciously by TJ Lewis. Carrie Chastain is a diva of her own making as the show’s producer, Carmen. She displays strong comic chops with jokes about her husband and nails it every time. Chastain shines in her rendition of “Show People” and “It’s a Business,” though the choreography for her backup dancers needed some polishing. Solid vocals are given by Sam Borders as Aaron and Kelly Doyle as Georgia. Borders’ “I Miss the Music” swoons while Doyle’s transformation from shy lyricist to star is quite the sight to see. 

With any play involving a large cast of local performers, the opportunity for stage time should be considered. Curtains has a full page of actors in the program who eagerly appear on stage for nearly the entire play. With such a packed stage, focus pulled from the comedy, and some very funny moments were lost. More variation of staging and sets could have been considered instead of the ever-present brick wall, while character choices by smaller ensemble members could have varied from a generic actor to decisions about costumes and other details.

By the end of Curtains, the murder mystery is solved and the show goes on. The dancing is delightful, the comedy is well-timed and full of jokes for any musical lover. And if you watch closely enough, you might figure out who the murderer is! 

Featuring Whitney Alexander, Jaden Berry, Sam Borders, Carrie Chastain, Kelly Doyle, Sloan Doyle, Kristen Findley, Brayden Glass, Bradyn Gundle, Arianna Hart, Roscoe Henning, Erica Lamb, Brad Lambert, Emma Lambert, TJ Lewis, Erin McMahon, Amanda Ogburn, Jerry Prince, Richard Ryan, Joshua Schmidt, Heather Shockley, C. Kevin Swansey, Christa Thompson, & Maximilian Valentine


March 9, 15 & 16 @ 7:30 PM
March 10 & 17 @ 2:00 PM

Clarksville Little Theater
301 E Montgomery Ave
Clarksville, IN 47129

Kate Barry has worked with many different companies around town since graduating in 08 from Bellarmine University. She’s worked with CenterStage, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions. She used to work in the box office at that little performing arts center on Main Street but now she helps save the planet. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. Her play “Catcher Released” won an honorable mention with the Kentucky Playwrights Workshop. She has written for LEO Weekly and as well. When she is not writing, she teaches yoga. Thanks for reading!