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Villanova Theatre Presents: “Curtains”

By Jenna Renaud and Ethan Shea

"Topper Theatre"

Photograph of Topper Theatre courtesy of Villanova University

Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit is arguably the largest production of the 2021-2022 Villanova Theatre season. The show will be the inaugural performance in the new 400-seat Topper Theatre, part of the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts, completed in 2019. In addition, this musical marks the return of Villanova President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, to the theatre. Curtains is only the second musical directed by Father Donahue since he became University President in 2006, the last being The Drowsy Chaperone in 2012.

The show captivated audiences from the first number and kept everyone engaged from start to finish. There were numerous elaborate scenes, and each performer took advantage of their opportunities to showcase their musical talents, whether it was in a somber ballad, or an over-the-top performance including background dancers and a grand staircase.

Unsurprisingly, Curtains lived up to its name, as there were certainly a lot of curtains in the show. This may seem obvious, but there was definitely more curtain usage than your average theatre production. This was mostly a product of the play within a play that is central to the plot. The extra layer of theatrical performance allowed the script to make some meta commentary on theatre in general, making for some witty and  hilarious moments.

Without giving away any spoilers, it can be said that Curtains is sure to please anyone who attends because it has something to offer for every sort of theatre-goer. Those who look for humor in their plays will perhaps be the happiest, but attendees looking for a fulfilling love story or suspenseful scenes will not be forgotten. Needless to say, you should buy your tickets now, and you can do so here!

Curtains is a Agatha Christie-style mystery combined with golden-age style musicals. Check out the following materials from Falvey’s collection to learn more about Curtains, Agatha Christie mysteries, and golden-age musicals:

If you would like to “dig deeper,” as we say around here, Falvey’s recent Cat in the Stax blog, which was featured on both the Library’s blog and “The YAWP: Villanova’s Graduate English Program Blog,” showcases some memorabilia from past Villanova Theatre productions that are similar in nature to Curtains, so check it out here!


Jenna Renaud and Ethan Shea are Graduate Assistants at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Mysteries & Musicals from Past to Present

By Ethan Shea

"Curtains Poster"

On March 31, Villanova Theatre will put on the very first performance in the Topper Theatre of the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. This show, Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit, will be directed by our very own Villanova University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD.

I was lucky enough to gain access to some memorabilia from past Villanova Theatre productions that inspired the upcoming performance. These flyers, photos, and programs were collected by Kimberly Reilly, Director of Marketing for Villanova’s Theatre Program, so this blog would not have been possible without her help!

To begin, the 1999 production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood was another mysterious musical directed by President Donohue. The photo below shows Demetrios Bonaros, Polly Donovan, Mark Gornto, John O’Conner, Susan Bolt, and Sara Macerelli in a scene from a performance of this show which ran from April 14 to May 2.

 

"Edwin Drood Photo"

 

City of Angels granted President Donohue yet another directorial credit in 2003. This play is also a musical, but it sets itself apart from others through its adaptation of film noir characteristics. The image below shows how the cover of the program for City of Angels encapsulated the theme of film noir.

"City of Angels Program Cover"

In 2013, Villanova Theatre performed a different play inspired by noir. This time, the production was Red Herring, a murder mystery about marriage and nuclear espionage during the Cold War.  The photo below shows how a flyer used to advertise this play made use of the comic art style indicative of the its setting, Boston during the year of 1952.

"Red Herring Flyer Cover"

Lastly, you can check out this poster for Something’s Afoot, a murder mystery musical directed by President Donohue back in 1986! As you can see, the theatrical “whodunnit” is truly timeless.

"Something's Afoot poster"

The latest production from Villanova Theatre will be showing from March 31 to April 10, so be sure to get your tickets now! You can find more information here. We hope to see you there!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: March 30, 2022