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

reason­able order.

    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.