Shows

Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain, a musical comedy, opened at the Prospect Theater in 2006, with Lyrics by Peter Mills and an original Book by Susan DiLallo with Cara Reichel directing. The show was inspired by the documentary East Side Story that told the true tale of how the Soviet Union tried to write propaganda musicals to rival Broadway and Hollywood in the 1950s.

The show won the New York Innovative Theater Award as Best Off-Off Broadway Musical for 2006 and received rave reviews across the board. Since then, the show has been showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Village Theater New Musicals reading series and workshopped there as well. 2007 saw a production at Los Posidas Community College directed by Ken Ross, as well as a showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, directed by Andrew Panton. In 2008, the show was further developed at the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference under the auspices of Paulette Haupt. The show was selected for the National Alliance of Musical Theater Festival of New Musicals in October of 2009.

Iron Curtain synopsis

From the Las Positas College Proudction of Iron Curtain

New York, 1956: MURRAY FINKEL and HOWARD KATZ, two down-on-their luck songwriters, are at the end of their rope. Twenty years of writing together, and nothing to show for it. SHIRLEY, Howard’s long-suffering girlfriend, tries to cheer him up. But HOWARD is ready to call it quits — until MURRAY spots an ad in Variety: “Songwriters wanted. Big bucks. Must be willing to travel.” Deciding to give it one more shot, they arrive at the office of ONANOV Broadway… where they are kidnapped and find themselves in Russia, at the Ministry of Musical Persuasion. ONANOV gives them their assignment: re-write the latest Soviet propaganda musical and they will be sent home.

From the Las Positas College Proudction of Iron Curtain

But it’s not that easy. The show is dreadful. The deadline is a week away. And Howard finds himself in the clutches of HILDRED HEINZ, the Director-cum-Dominatrix. Later, in their fleabag hotel room, under the watchful eyes of KGB agent SCHMEARNOV, MURRAY gets an idea: suppose they write a whole new musical, instead. They’ll call it “Damnable Yankees.” In it, they’ll renounce American values. Working feverishly, they finish the show, expecting to be sent home on Opening Night. But Khrushchev decides they must stay and oversee the movie version. Time passes. Murray, enjoying the good life, is smitten with MASHA, the ingénue. But Howard is gloomy, realizing for the first time how much he misses SHIRLEY. Meanwhile SHIRLEY — who spent the last few months searching for him — finds herself in Berlin on the very day that MURRAY and HOWARD are there, shooting the movie version. A border skirmish lands SHIRLEY in prison, where she’s interrogated by the Minister of Contradictory Behavior — none other than HILDRED. Torn between her unrequited love for HOWARD and her love of country, HILDRED does the noble thing: she tells SHIRLEY of a secret escape tunnel underneath the city, but urges her to tell no one except HOWARD. Thus begins a wild chain reaction of mishaps and misdirects ending with a madcap, farcical comedy of errors as our heroes finally find their way homeā€¦and the success they’ve always wanted.

The show won the New York Innovative Theater Award as Best Off-Off Broadway Musical for 2006 and received rave reviews across the board. Since then, the Iron Curtain has been showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Village Theater New Musicals reading series and workshopped there as well. 2007 saw a production at Los Posidas Community College directed by Ken Ross, as well as a showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, directed by Andrew Panton. In 2008, the show was further developed at the O'Neill National Music Theater Conference under the auspices of Paulette Haupt. The show was selected for the National Alliance of Musical Theater Festival of New Musicals in October of 2009.

In 2011, the show had a triumphant critical run at Seattle’s Village Theater and is being readied for a returning Off-Broadway run in November, 2011, directed by Cara Reichel.