'Curtains' parodies murder mysteries


POSTED: Friday, February 27, 2009

There was a time when Army Community Theatre was known as the local theater group that specialized in doing popular Broadway musicals of a certain style and vintage—shows that everyone who enjoys American musical theater should see at least once, and which many theater fans enjoy seeing over and over again.





        Place: Richardson Theatre, Fort Shafter

Dates: Opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday; continues Fridays and Saturdays through March 14


Tickets: $22 to $28; $15 to 20 children


Call: 438-4480 or 438-5320, or visit armytheatre.com


Times change, and Army Community Theatre is changing as well. ACT presented Hawaii's first community theater production of “;Miss Saigon”; in 2005. ACT's production of “;Curtains,”; now in its first weekend, is a Hawaii debut production as well.

The show, the last collaboration by Kander & Ebb, is a musical parody of old-style backstage murder mysteries. The year is 1959, and police lieutenant Frank Cioffi is called to investigate the mysterious death of Jessica Cranshaw, a one-time film star who is well past her expiration date as a stage performer. It seems at first that the show, “;Robbin' Hood! A New Musical of the Old West,”; can survive Cranshaw's death, if only Boston's top theater critic can be persuaded to see it a second time. But more mayhem ensues, and Lt. Cioffi discovers that he, too, is a target.

Almost every major member of the “;Robbin' Hood”; cast, and most of the production team, has secrets to hide and hidden agendas in play. As Lt. Cioffi continues his investigation, he discovers that saving the embattled production is becoming as important to him as finding the killer.

Can Lt. Cioffi assemble the clues, cut to the chase, uncover the killer, and help rewrite the show?

Veteran Tom Holowach stars Lt. Cioffi. Tina Shelton returns to the ACT stage as Virginia Cranshaw, with Lenny Klompus as flamboyant director Christopher Belling, and Shanan Colvin as Nikki Harris, Cranshaw's talented understudy.

Among the other bankable talents are Lance Rae, Renee Garcia Hartenstein, Philip Amer Kelley, Daren Kimura and Jamie Rolfsmeyer.