Town & Village - Thursday, April 28, 2005
Arts & Entertainment
Wings Theatre does right by 'Musketeers' the musical
For evidence that ambition has no bounds, one has to go only to the Wings Theatre, 154 Christopher St., where Alexandre Dumas’s rambling, 1844 romantic novel, “The Three Musketeers,” has been dramatized and set to music. Clint Jeffries, who wrote the book and lyrics, and Paul L. Johnson who wrote the music are the two bold souls who undertook the massive mission. And, it is satisfying to report, their efforts are pleasantly successful.
“The Three Musketeers,” if one can remember from the high school
reading list, is the adventure novel to top all adventure novels. Set in the early seventeenth century, the novel has intrigue, love, honor, war, international politics, betrayal, swordplay, religion and almost any other kind of conflict that a novelist has ever imagined. Jeffries and Johnson do their best to include most of Dumas’s plot – there is a cast of twenty -- in their version; plus they added music and song
So much takes place in different areas of the theater that the interplay of the different intrigues is often hard to follow. But no matter, D’Artagnan and the musketeers, the good guys, win in the end and the damsels are rescued. Director Jeffery Corrick does a remarkable job in keeping all the action in
(L-R) David Velarde, Steve Cabral and David Weitzer in "The Three Musketeers;" at the Wings Theatre
Jeffries and Johnson have kept strictly to the period in which the action was supposed to have taken place – no modern touches for them. The costumes by Tom Claypool and the wigs by Anthony Loscinto go well with the swordplay.
In keeping with the spirit of the novel, Johnson has written a romantic score with love ballads and even a psalm. The music sounds refreshingly old-fashioned to ears accustomed to the current trend in musicals.
In addition to having written the music, Johnson is the music director. His keyboard is the only accompanying instrument; and Johnson is a master.
A notable feature of
the production is the choreography by Kate Swan and the fight choreography by Kymberli Morris. At times the tiny Wings Company stage is chock-a-block with musketeers and Cardinal Richelieu’s guards all waving swords at each other. In a remarkable choreographic feat Swan and Morris manage to keep the battlers unscathed (at least in the performance that I saw).
The cast is somewhat uneven. The women, in particular Pamela Brumley who plays Milady de Winter and Kim Reed who plays Anne of Austria, have voices with more color and range than have the men. But David Gary who plays Buckingham also has a fine voice. Ryan Boda is a charmingly naïve D’Artagnan.