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‘Curtains’ takes the stage at the University of Jamestown this weekend

The production is Thursday, Nov. 4, through Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Reiland Fine Arts Center.

“Curtains” the mystery, comedy, musical is quite the psychological confusion. Consider the source: It’s based on a Peter Stone book and concept. It’s staged in 1959 Boston, Massachusetts. The pitifully undertalented actress Jessica Cranshaw gets murdered at her curtain call as Madame Marion in “Robbin’ Hood of the Old West “ and the mystery begins … everyone is under suspicion.

On Broadway, it was not unusual to see a cast of more than 35 actors (including David Hyde Pierce) fill the roles of investigating detective, the deceased and the culprit, right through every big and little part in between. There’s love and big dreams of becoming famous, of being onstage, of staying alive.

Boston Police Department’s detective Lt. Frank Cioffi, who is himself a wanna-be actor-singer, begins his investigation by announcing to the cast that Madame Marion died from poisoning. The cast feigns sadness, decides the show should close but in reality each saw an opportunity to play a more important role.

So instead of it closing, it stays up and “the show must go on,” as does the investigation.

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A rehearsal, complete with new singers and an audience, lands a great take, and the scene closes with high praise. The show’s theatrical promoter, Sidney Bernstein, lay strangled to death as the curtain dropped … the rope around his neck.

More questions, a new fill-in sequence, but yet another attempted murder, then yet another shot but missed, and it just keeps on. But who is it? And why?

Oh, so two have been killed?

And there are more. While the plot twists and turns and everyone is suspect, it will be a full circle of "who done its" before the final curtain call.

The University of Jamestown’s cast of characters includes the following:

Lt. Frank Cioffi is played by Christian Gifford, and Morgan Palmer as Niki Harris. Emma Bennett plays Georgia Hendricks, Alivia Hoke as Carmen Bernstein and Dylan Ossachuk plays Aaron Fox.

Drayven Ayers plays Sidney Bernstein, Ian Weis plays Christopher Belling and Grace Quam plays Bambi Bernet. Chase Glueckert plays Daryl Grady, with Annabeth Lint as Johnny Harmon. Mason Rose plays Oscar Shapiro, while Nate Swanson plays Bobby Pepper. Stephanie Jorritsma plays Jessica Cranshaw, Dawson Mee plays Randy Dexter, with Peyton Piatz as Harv Fremont, Sarah Jenson as Roberta, and Austin Carter as Detective O’Farrell.

The Ensemble is played by Ciarra Sayler, Kaityn Altendorf, Ashlyn Swanson, Gabi Oberg, Zachariah Ebsch, Westin Walker, Stephanie Jorritsma, Skya Brandon, Keira Horner, Drayven Ayers, Kristi Carpenter and Silje Kindseth.

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"Curtains" runs from Thursday, Nov. 4, through Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Reiland Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $12. Tickets for the season can be purchased at the door, via email tickets@uj.edu or by phone at 701-252-3467, ext. 5435. Season tickets are $30 and includes “Curtains,” “The Lost Girl,” the classic “Tartuffe” and "An Evening of One Acts.” All shows start at 7:30 p.m.

If anyone has an item for this column, please send it to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.

To read more columns of Sharon Cox's columns, click here.

Related Topics: UNIVERSITY OF JAMESTOWN
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