Story by Brianna Willis
“Curtains” opens this Thursday under the direction of Maribeth Crawford, assistant professor of music. She spoke with us this week to give more information on the show and what it is like to be a director.
Brianna Willis: Tell me a little bit of what it is like for you to direct.
Maribeth Crawford: Directing a show is both thrilling and terrifying, at the same time. Thrilling because I feel like I am at my most creative when directing. It can also be terrifying because there are so many elements to consider when directing. It is way more than just blocking scenes. I am very grateful to have a wonderful stage manager that helps me remain focused on the creative side of the production.
BW: Can you explain the process for deciding how shows are chosen, and why “Curtains” was picked?
MC: Each year, the music and theater departments collaborate together to choose a musical. Both departments have many factors to consider when choosing a musical, but that decision is based on what we feel will be most beneficial to the students’ artistic growth.
BW: In your own words, what is “Curtains” about?
MC: “Curtains” is a musical about a musical. In it, Boston Detective Frank Cioffi solves the show’s artistic problems, while solving the murders that happen around it. Over the course of his investigation, Cioffi lives out his dream of becoming a Broadway star. He represents every audience member that has ever dreamed of being on the Broadway stage. It is a light-hearted, murder mystery that follows the golden rule in live theater–“The show must go on!”
BW: Is your direction of “Curtains” pretty strict to the original concept or will Murray State’s direction be a unique interpretation?
MC: My concept does not include an avant garde interpretation of the show. I really allowed the story and the music to inform my decisions about the overall aesthetic for the show. I developed my concept statement early in the creative process and met with the creative/design team consistently to help realize that concept statement. I have some fantastic colleagues that helped bring that dream to life.
BW: What is the style like of “Curtains,” what kind of music can students and community members expect to hear?
MC: “Curtains” is by writing team John Kander and Fred Ebb. Together they wrote some of the most iconic Broadway musicals including “Cabaret,” “Chicago” and “Fosse.” The writing style is the epitome of the post golden age of musical theater, and seeks to uphold the classic traditions of what made Broadway so magical.
BW: Will there be any surprises in the show?
MC: It is a murder mystery, so yes, there is a surprise. I can’t give it away!