Meet the actor: Knox Culpepper plays Lt. Frank Cioffi
Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, a local Boston detective who is also a musical theatre aficionado, is the star of the musical comedy whodunit Curtains.
Tallahassee native Knox Culpepper will grace the stage as the “loveable goofball detective” in Quincy Music Theatre’s rendition of the musical.
“I’ve been doing shows since middle school,” the Leon High school graduate.
Culpepper, who more recently graduated from college said he’s known the show’s director since his freshman year of high school.
“Naomi is a wonderful director,” the actor said.
He met director Naomi Rose-Mock when she directed Les Misérables while he was attending Leon Choral Department’s summer theatre camp, which draws the top high school talent from across Leon County each year to present an elaborate musical production, often to sell-out crowds.
“Naomi asked me to come audition,” Culpepper said.
However, he didn’t have to audition for the part. He believes Rose-Mock already had him in mind to play the character.
“I love doing accents, and he has one,” Culpepper said.
Lt. Cioffi has a thick Boston accent; the show is set in Boston in the late 1940s.
“He’s a fantastic detective, really goofy, but just loves theatre,” Culpepper said about the character he portrays. “I think it’s funny because he tells these people they’re heroes and he’s a homicide detective, but that’s what he thinks – they’re magical; they’re heroes.”
Culpepper recently earned a master’s degree in social work.
He also has a dual bachelor’s degree in criminology and psychology from Florida State University.
He recently began his career as and mental health therapist, which takes up most of his time now.
That’s one of the reasons he wanted to do this show.
Culpepper said now that he has gotten into his profession, he doesn’t know if he’ll still have time to perform.
“It’s hard but it makes it easier because it’s so fun,” Culpepper said about the show.
This is Culpepper’s first time as the lead actor in a show.
“I’ve had big parts before, but I’ve never been lead,” Culpepper shared.
He said if he does have to take a break from acting to focus on his career, he wants to go out with a bang.
Meet the director: Naomi Rose-Mock
This weekend, Quincy Music Theatre’s first performance of the new year is set to debut.
The musical comedy whodunit Curtains tells the story of a musical-loving detective who tries to solve the murder of a leading lady in 1959 Boston.
The show opens at the Quincy Music Theater on Friday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m., and remain until its final showing on Sunday, February 5 at 2:30.
Keeping it in the family, the show’s director Naomi Rose-Mock is the wife of long-time Quincy Music Theatre technical director Mike Mock, and the daughter-in-law of the music theatre’s former executive directors Bill and Jane Mock.
Originally from England, Rose-Mock has lived in Tallahassee since 1995.
She met her husband at a show in 2005; it was her first time ever coming to Quincy.
The two married the following year.
Rose-Mock has been a professional director for almost 20 years.
The first show she ever directed was Calamity Jane and she’s directed more than 40 shows since then.
During her professional career in performing arts, Rose-Mock has achieved many accomplishments.
In 2015 she won a Theatre Conference Award recognizing her contributions to theatre in the State of Florida.
She also served as the Tallahassee Little Theatre’s executive director for several years, now known as Theatre Tallahassee.
Rose-Mock’s love for performing arts began at an early age.
Her first performance was in The King and I.
She also began playing musical instruments at age five, then learned to play the clarinet first and added other woodwinds, some basic piano and French horn.
“Clarinet is what I’m best at for sure but piano has been a lot more useful over the years,” Rose-Mock.
This is Rose-Mock’s first time doing a show in Quincy since the pandemic.
“I missed working in this space and I love this town and the theater a lot,” Rose-Mock shared.
Curtains was created by the same composers as Chicago and Cabaret.
She went to see the Broadway production Curtains where David Hyde Pierce – who is also known for his role as Dr. Niles Crane in the hit television series Frazier – starred as Lt. Frank Cioffi.
“It’s kind of like Clue meets Murder in the Building,” Rose-Mock said. “It’s really funny, really silly, with lots of big dance numbers and lots of fun characters.”
She said it has also been a while since she directed a dance show. Recently she opted for smaller dramas in non-traditional spaces.
“It’s an escape from what’s going on in the world right now,” Rose-Mock noted.
The director said the show came out in the early 2000s but has an “old-time feel.”
“It’s a show within a show,” Rose-Mock explained. “The detective comes in and keeps everyone in the theatre.”
Rose-Mock said she’s excited to work with the show’s choreographer Taylor Whittle and music director Max Brey again.
This is Whittle and Rose-Mocks first show in Quincy since performing Mamma Mia in 2019.
“80 people auditioned,” Rose-Mock revealed
The upcoming show has 27 cast members.
The director said two-thirds of them are Florida State University theatre students, and half of them are brand new to Quincy Music Theatre.
She said what she has enjoyed the most while preparing for the show is getting to know new people.
Rose-Mock said between Florida State University and Florida A&M University, the theatre community in Tallahassee always has new talent coming in, which keeps it very competitive.
“The cast has lots of energy,” the director shared.
While Curtains has been taking much of Rose-Mock’s time, when she isn’t directing the upcoming musical, she is a professional acting coach, teaching others who want to excel in the world of performing arts.
For showtimes and dates, as well as to purchase tickets, visit quincymusictheatre.com
Quincy Music Theatre is located at 118 East Washington Street in Quincy.
The Box Office is open Wednesday-Friday from 2-5 and 1 hour before each performance.
Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service