The St. Joseph’s Academy/Catholic High School Black Box Company presented Curtains in the Academy Arts Center Black Box Theater. The musical was presented through special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide.
Curtains, composed by the creators of the hit musicals Chicago and Cabaret, is a fast-paced musical comedy that keeps audiences guessing until the curtain falls. The story begins in 1959 as the cast of a new musical, Robbin’ Hood, opens the show in Boston with an aging film star in the lead role. Things don’t go as planned as the show receives deadly reviews, and leading lady Jessica Cranshaw drops dead. Enter Lieutenant Frank Cioffi of the Boston Police Department, a homicide detective and musical theater lover. Believing the suspect is still in the theater, he sequesters the cast and crew until the crime can be solved.
The five-day run was completed before schools were closed across Louisiana on March 16. Lily McGill, SJA’s drama teacher and Black Box Company moderator, said she was thankful that the production was able to finish. “It meant a lot to the kids, especially the seniors,” she said.
McGill said Curtains was one of the biggest and most challenging productions ever attempted by the Black Box Company. “We built a full proscenium stage with functioning curtains and integrated new light and sound boards in the control booth,” she said. “We really stepped it up. This was also some of the most complex choreography we have performed in quite some time, so I am really proud of the kids. In total, we had 30 students in the cast and more than 30 more helping with other elements of the production. We were truly blessed to be able to finish out our theatrical year.”
Senior Caroline Feduccia portrayed Georgia Hendricks. She said Curtains was “by far the most daring production” the Black Box Company has attempted. “I can say with great confidence that we succeeded with flying colors,” she said. “Ms. McGill has an incredible and broad knowledge of theater from how to build stage with a functioning curtain to figuring out a character’s motivation. This show would not have been possible without her incredible guidance and hard work. I don’t do a lot of comedy, and I’ve never done a musical like this before. This cast worked so incredibly hard, and I couldn’t be prouder to have a part of this production. The choreography and music were very difficult at times, but we all lifted each other up and practiced over and over again. While I am sad this was my last Black Box production, I am grateful I got to be a part of it.”
Freshman Anna Kathryn Nodier portrayed Jessica Cranshaw. She said the production was the best part of my school year. “The cast was so incredibly talented and just the most welcoming group of people,” she said. “I see a bright future for the Black Box Company, and I am so excited to be a part of it.”
Sophomore Avery Aucoin, who portrayed Niki Harris, said Curtains was her first musical with the Black Box Company. “It was one of the best experiences I have had at SJA,” she said. “In just over three months, we built a beautiful set and put on an amazing show. Everyone in the cast is so talented and caring, and I have made bonds that could never be broken. We are all so appreciative of all the hard work Ms. McGill and the other moderators put into this club, and I can’t wait for the next two years.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Tracy Ducote and Edy Koonce