September 17, 2014

‘Curtains’ lifts the 2014-15 theater season

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Theater will present “Curtains,” a murder-mystery-musical comedy at the McLeod Theater as the first play of the 2014-2015 season. 

The play runs Oct. 2-5, with performances at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. 

“Curtains” is a delicious mix of show-biz savvy, murder-mystery suspense and musical theater. Set in 1959, this show-within-a-show tells the story of a stage-struck police detective called in to investigate the death of the unlikeable leading lady of an ill-received Broadway-bound show. When the autopsy reveals foul play, the “show’s” company enters “whodunit” mode, with suspicions arising at every turn. The detective sets out to solve the murder, fall in love, and make the “show” a hit, all before the curtain comes down. 

Erica Gould, guest artist, director and choreographer for this play, said she wanted to create an immersive experience for theater-goers. Accordingly, the set transforms McLeod Theater into the pre-renovation Colonial Theater in Boston, Mass., the setting for the play. 

“We want the audience to feel they are there, in the crumbling Colonial Theater, where the crime was committed,” Gould said. “It will be a first-hand view from other side of the fourth wall.” 

Gould visits SIU from New York, N.Y., where her projects include theater and opera productions, world premieres of new works, and Shakespearean classics. She is a certified fight choreographer, and a member of the Fight Steering Committee for the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. 

Rounding out the director’s staff are: faculty member Cody Walker, associate choreographer; graduate student Kevin A. Smith, musical director; teaching assistant M.K. Hughes, set design; graduate student Libby Mueth, costumes, and graduate student Delaney L. McKenzie, lighting. 

A pre-show lecture is at 1 p.m., Oct. 5, in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts Dean’s Conference Room. The lecture is free. 

Tickets are $16 for adults and $6 for students and are available at the McLeod Theater or SIU Arena box offices, by phone at 618/453-6000, or online at Tickets are also available at McLeod Theater one hour before each performance. 

The SIU Student Fine Arts Activity Fee provided funding for the production and the guest artist. 

Actors and stage personnel, by hometown: 


Canton: Charles Robinson as Aaron Fox, songwriter.

Carbondale: Nathaniel Washington as Bobby Pepper, the “show’s” choreographer.

Carterville: Mike Terrana as Sydney Bernstein, the “show’s” producer.

Chicago: Jonathan Rivera as Johnny Harmon, the “show’s” stage manager.

Columbia: Chris Ceradsky as Daryl Grady, theater critic.

Downers Grove: Tanya De Leon as Georgia Hendricks, songwriter.

Lansing: Manning Goldman as Christopher Belling, director. 


Jeffersonville: Noah Kelso as investor Oscar Shapiro.

Newburgh: Chad Ferriel as police detective Lt. Frank Cioffi. 


Henderson: Katelin Coursey as ambitious Bambi Barnet. 


Memphis: Emily Morgan Collins as Carmen Bernstein, wife of the “show’s” producer.

Old Hickory: Alexis Nwokoji as Niki Harris, the star’s understudy.