Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: Ken Ludwig's Three Musketeers family fun at Chatham Playhouse

3 m Chip queen
Tony award-winning playwright, Ken Ludwig has established himself as a master of comedy with a very impressive string of successful plays, 21 in all, that range from Lend Me A Tenor, to Crazy for You to The Fox on the Fairway to The Three Musketeers. It's Ludwigs comic take of Alexandre Dumas classic "one for all and all for one" Three Musketeers that is wrapping up the Chatham Players’ 93rd Season. The play may not be of the same caliber as his Tony honored plays but this version directed by Mike Burdick still provides a delightful, fun evening.

The fun is in large part due to the exuberant cast that clearly is enjoying their swashbuckling efforts. Leading the cast are Chip Prestera as King Louis, Glen D. Post as Porthos (Prestera and Post are both masters of comedy who contribute to the fun with Marx Brothers-like enthusiasm), Frank Bläeuer as the evil Cardinal Richelieu, Kristina Hernandez as the equally evil Milady, Corinne Chandler as Queen Anne, and Mitchell Vargas as d’Artagnan.
3 m Nick Becky
The familiar adventure stays true to Dumas' original tale of the bitter rivalry between the good King Louis XIII and the bad Cardinal Richelieu who seeks to usurp the King's power for his own political gain. There is one cast difference, Ludwig added one key character...a younger sister for d'Artagnan, Sabine (nicely played by Caroline Cromwell) who functions both as the servant, Planchet, and a love interest for one of the musketeers. Of course, the secondary plot line is d'Artagnan's pursuit of a commission as a King's Musketeer. Does anyone not know that he teams with Porthos, Aramis (Matthew Strool), and Athos (Scott Costine)...The Three Musketeers to save the Queen from a Royal scandal?
3 m musk The remainder of the diverse cast are: Rebecca Ryan as Constance, the Queen's Lady in Waiting; Nick Colacino as Rochefort, villainous aid to the Cardinal; Steve Ruskin as D’Artagnan’s Father (and the fight captain); Ed Faver as Treville (a past Perry winner); and Sean Day as Duke of Buckingham.

The set, by Dean Sickler, is sparse and is easily transformed for the 20 scene changes. The large number of changes unfortunately does have a negative effect on the play's pacing at several key points. The visual treat in this production is provided by the costumes from Beverly Wand and Tom Marshall (see the photos). Also, impressive is the sword fight choreography directed by Scott Kerns.
A word from the Director Mike Burdick on what makes Ken Ludwig’s adaptation special. “In Chatham’s production, you will see all the best parts of the story you know and love - the daring action, good vs evil, the highest nobility with just the right amount of improper behavior mixed in - but also so much more. A clever humor has breathed fresh life into this journey, along with the addition of a bold new character who will increase the energy and enjoyment of the story overall. But fair warning ... in this production ... the audience will be part of the adventure! All for one and one for fun!”
3 m cast
Rounding out Burdick’s talented production team: Producer is Andrea Sickler, Stage Manager is Dawn Noonan, Fight Choreographer is Scott Kerns, Production Coordinator is Maybelle Cowan-Lincoln, Scenic Designer by Dean Sickler, Scenic Painting by Andrea Sickler, Costume Designer by Beverly Wand and Tom Marshall, Lighting Designer by Richard Hennessy and Sound Designer by Joe DeVico.
The play runs about two hours plus one intermission.
 Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  May 2, 2015
Remaining performance dates are May 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 8pm and May 10 at 3pm. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue, in Chatham. Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for youth/senior.
Tickets can be purchased at our Box Office or Online. To access the theater’s online ticketing service, simply go to The service is available 24 hours a day, and tickets can be purchased online up until three hours prior to curtain on the day of a performance. Chatham Playhouse’s box office accepts phone reservations at (973) 635-7363.  Patrons with special needs requiring seating accommodations should contact the Playhouse at least 24 hours prior to the performance. Without prior notice, accommodations cannot be guaranteed.
Photos by Howard Fisher
Top: Chip Prestera and Corinne Chandler
2: (left-right) Nick Colacino, Rebecca Ryan and Frank Bläeuer
3: (left-right) Scott Costine, Mitchell Vargas, Caroline Cromwell, Matthew Strool and Glen D. Post
4: Full cast

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