Iron Curtain is a remarkably funny musical about what happens when you actually get what you ask for. Set during the Cold War, two show tune writers down on their luck are about to throw in the towel on their careers when the opportunity of a lifetime appears. An ad promising fame and fortune lures Howard Katz (Todd Alan Johnson) and Murray Finkel (David Perlman) into the arms of the KGB looking for someone to spice up their stinker of a propaganda musical. The hapless writers are kidnapped and shipped off to Moscow (and eventually to East Berlin), where they suffer culture shock, death threats, lovesickness… and unexpected success. As their play becomes a hit, Howard and Murray must decide how much their freedom means to them and whether there really is no place like home.
The spitfire comedy in Iron Curtain is almost too quick to absorb. But don’t worry if you miss a joke, there are plenty more to follow. The entire cast works like a well-oiled machine and they don’t miss a beat. Gordon Stanley oozes charm as Onanov, the Russian producer with a hankering for Broadway. Perlman’s performance as the crotchety but loveable Murray harkens back to another East Berlin romp, Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three. James Cagney’s C.R. “Mac” MacNamara and Perlman’s Murray are almost interchangeable and this cast would be at home in any Wilder setting, but the real star in Iron Curtain is Bobbi Kotula as Hildret Heinz, the theater director/government agent with a burning desire for Murray. She quite literally steals every scene she’s in and sends the audience into a frenzy every time she walks onstage: She is that fantastic. All in all, this throwback to the golden-age of cinema is a pleasant homage to old Hollywood, where all’s well that ends well and even Soviet spies harbor secret hearts of gold.
Prospect Theater Company, by special arrangement with Fireboat Productions presents Iron Curtain, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center at Baruch College. This limited run is scheduled to end on November 27. For more information, please visit www.ProspectTheater.org