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Stamford to host area premiere for Tony Award-winning musical

By Curtain Call

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Seen here playing one of eight characters in Curtain Call's production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, is Michael Wright along with Katherine Atkin-Dahm. This 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical is playing in Stamford for the first time March 29 through April 27. (contributed photo)
It's a little bit murder mystery, it's a little bit love story and it's a lot of laughs. That's how Curtain Call describes the area premiere of the 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER playing in The Kweskin Theatre, March 29 through April 27. (The musical also captured the BEST BOOK Tony Award, among others.)

A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER is the hilarious story of Monty Navarro, an heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by—you guessed it—eliminating the eight pesky relatives who stand in his way. All the while Monty has to juggle his mistress, his fiancée and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea! This is the first time the musical will play in Fairfield County.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder will play in Fairfield County for the first time when it opens at Curtain Call's Dressing Room Theatre, March 29. Seen here in rehearsal for the show which runs through April 27, are Sarah Giggar, Dan Fay and Rebecca Borowik. (contributed photo)
"This is one of the great Tony Award shows that I missed when it was on Broadway," said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call executive director and producer for A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, "but I listened to the score and read the script as soon as they were available and knew that it was something I wanted to work on." As soon as Curtain Call was offered the option to present the show, Ursone jumped on it. The musical, by Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, is based on Roy Horniman’s 1907 novel “Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal,” which also inspired the 1949 British film comedy “Kind Hearts and Coronets.”

Curtain Call's production is directed by John Atkin, with music direction by Tony Bellomy, choreography by Christine Titus, costume design by Robin Mazzola, lighting design by Peter Petrino and set design by Peter Barbieri, Jr. The cast is significantly smaller than most of the organization's large-scale musicals, "but it was the chamber-size elements that drew me to it - among other things," Ursone said.

The two male leads in Curtain Call's production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, are Michael Wright and Dan Fay. (Wright is in Red). Seen here in rehearsal for the show playing in Stamford for the first time March 29 through April 27, Wright plays eight separate character in this Tony Award-winning Best Musical. (contributed photo)
"Having directed a couple of traditional farces, when asked, I jumped at the opportunity to take on this musical farce. It has all the smart elements I look for in a production, side-splitting British humor, snappy smart dialogue, and music that will knock your socks off," said Atkin. “It is always a thrill and a pleasure to direct at Curtain Call, Stamford's longest-running and only year 'round, nonprofit producing theatre company. Curtain Call sets the standard with high production values, and a hard working and dedicated production team, that truly supports the job of the director," he added.

The original Broadway cast consisted of just 11 players, Curtain Call's cast includes 14: Ann Alford, Katherine Atkin-Dahm, Seth Barkan, Rebecca Borowik, Anne Collin, Dan Fay, Robert Geils, Sarah Giggar, Katie Imholt, Melissa McGuire, Janice Rudolph, Kellen Schult, Bill Warncke and Michael Wright.

Atkin noted that good timing, a sense of humor, and dedication to commit to each line is what he looks for in casting a comedy. "I have found all of that in this talented cast. The entire cast works together seamlessly to tell this hilarious tale, of love…and murder, that you never see coming!” Ursone noted that his favorite aspect of the show is watching one actor play eight roles. Atkin said, “Michael Wright’s hilarious portrayal of all the members of the D’Ysquith Family has me gasping for air every night at rehearsal, wondering what he’ll come up with next!"

Ursone commented that newcomer, Dan Fay, is working beautifully with "our two leading ladies." Atkin added, "Dan Fay’s balancing act of charming two beautiful love interests, (played by Sarah Giggar and Rebecca Borowik), will have you guessing which one he ends up with, or maybe he ends up with both…"

Performances will be held Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00PM and Sunday afternoons at 2:00PM, beginning March 29 and continuing through April 27. The Kweskin Theatre is located at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, CT. Doors open one half hour before show time. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for senior citizens and $17.5 for children. Thrifty Thursday tickets are $27.50 for performances on April 18 & 25. (No show Easter Sunday, April 21.) Box Office: 203-461-6358 x 36 or on the web at www.curtaincallinc.com.

Curtain Call's 28th season also includes Big River and I Hate Hamlet, as well as comedy nights, and an interactive murder mystery. Additional information is available at www.curtaincallinc.com or by calling 203-329-8207.

Curtain Call is the non-profit community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and educational workshops for all ages are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre.

Curtain Call was voted Fairfield County's BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP ten years running in the Annual Readers' Poll of the Fairfield County Weekly and has received similar BEST OF awards from Stamford Magazine and StamfordPlus magazine for 2008 through 2018. Curtain Call received The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2011 and the ACE Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture from the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.

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