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American Musical Voices Project: Part Three

And the Curtain Rises

by Michael Slade, Joseph Thalken, & Mark Campbell

March 15 – April 10, 2011


Ever wonder how the first musical was created?

Well, if And the Curtain Rises is to be believed, the process was fraught with confusion, disorder, and a whole lot of humor. And the Curtain Rises, a valentine to musical comedy, is a classic backstage comedy about the creation of the first American musical. In 1866, producer William Wheatley finds his play a disaster, the actors in revolt, the costumes and scenery destroyed and his production in shambles. When a fire at the theater next door leaves a French ballet troupe stranded without funds in New York City, Wheatley decides to turn sour apples into apple sauce, adds a touch of music and dance—et voilà, the American musical is born.

“Signature’s American Musical Voice Project is the most ambitious embrace of new musical theater in the DC region.”The Washington Post