So I caught one of the final curtains of Curtains this weekend at the San Pedro Playhouse; this murder-mystery musical is obviously B-list Kander and Ebb, with a genial, if undistinguished, score and an old-fashioned script by Rupert Holmes. On Broadway, the evening seemed to fly by, carried by the immense charm of David Hyde Pierce; at the Playhouse, however, Curtains clocked in at nearly three hours, including a few glacially-paced book scenes. As is so often the case with the SPP's mainstage musicals, there were a few standout performances but also some real clunkers; kudos especially to Elise Lopez for taking a wisp of a tune â??“Thinking of Him”â?? and transforming it into nearly into an art-song.
I've never understood why the SPP continues to produce huge, dance-driven shows: Such material is clearly not the SPP's forte. (Members of the men's chorus were still making missteps on closing weekend: not a good sign.) But Rose Kennedy and Laura BriseÃ±o knocked themselves out on the costumes â?? particularly for the women's chorus â?? and Vernon Push's cartoony set fit the concept of the evening well.
The Mainstage's sole non-musical offering this year was to be the upcoming farce Boeing, Boeing; this has been replaced by Larry Shue's The Nerd. Remember when the Mainstage used to do Tennessee Williams and Tony Kushner? â??Tis curtains for them, it seems.
--Tom Jenkins, Current Theater Critic