Photo courtesy of Surfside Playhouse

‘Curtains,’ a musical comedy murder mystery from the creators of ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Chicago,’ will open this weekend at Surfside Playhouse with Rob Kenna starring as Lt. Frank Cioffi.

COCOA BEACH – When the curtains close at the end of a theatrical production, it usually means the show is over and the cast is free to celebrate their performance or go home.

But in the plot of “Curtains,” the ending of one show only leads to much more drama – along with singing, dancing, comedy and sleuthing.

Audiences will have the opportunity to see this humorous show within a show – a musical murder mystery from the creators of “Cabaret” and “Chicago” – from Friday, Nov. 8 to Sunday, Nov. 24 at Surfside Playhouse, 301 Ramp Road, Cocoa Beach.

Set in Boston in 1959, “Curtains” centers on a group of actors putting on an unintentionally subpar theatrical adaptation of the Robin Hood story.

Just after the cast takes their bows on opening night, the show’s grossly untalented leading lady collapses and is later pronounced dead.

Enter police "Lt. Frank Cioffi," the detective tasked with solving the murder.

Lt. Cioffi, who is played by Rob Kenna, quarantines the cast in the theater overnight to investigate the suspects, but as a theater enthusiast himself, he also ends up offering advice on how to improve the show as the cast works toward reopening.

“Curtains” is suitable for all ages.

“How can you go wrong when producing a musical comedy that sprung from the mind of the creators of 'Cabaret' and 'Chicago'?!” Artistic Director Bryan Bergeron said. “The music is memorable and fun. The dialogue is comic but peppered with sentiment and nostalgia.”

Additionally, the story involves new love alongside rekindled affection, which adds a warm contrast to the “sinister villains” lurking in the background, Mr. Bergeron said.

One of two mainstage musical productions being presented as part of Surfside’s 60th anniversary season, “Curtains” required more time for the playhouse to organize than a typical non-musical production, Mr. Bergeron noted.

“Choreography is an essential element of producing any musical production,” Mr. Bergeron said. “As far as how it affects the process…Tons more rehearsals! It at least doubles the amount of required rehearsal time as compared to non-musicals. But it is a labor of love.”

While the play’s title is most obviously associated with the idea that a murder occurs when the curtains close, the story also highlights some of the realistic elements of participating in a theatrical production – but in a way that can appeal to broad audiences, Mr. Bergeron noted

“The show is about ‘Show People,’” Mr. Bergeron said.

“The plot is very theatre centric and pulls on the hidden strings that pushes us to be noticed and admired,” Mr. Bergeron added. “Truthfully, the ‘mommy, daddy…look at me!’ lingers in all of us.”

Performances will be held Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. A special 2 p.m. matinee will be offered Saturday, Nov. 23.

Admission is $25 for adults; $10 for children 12 and under; and $22 for seniors, students and military personnel.

Tickets are available at the door or in advance at www.SurfsidePlayhouse.org.

For more information, call (321) 783-3127.

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