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The Three Musketeers

"All for one, and one for all!" is, of course, the code by which d'Artagnan (Ben Rosenbaum) and his three gallant friends—Athos (Jamison Jones), Porthos (Mike Ryan), and Aramis (Martin Yurek)—live in service to a courtly and chivalrous ideal. They find themselves in a struggle for the soul of France, as Cardinal Richelieu (John Hutton) threatens to usurp power from King Louis XIII (Charles Pasternak) by maligning Queen Anne (Sarah Nealis).

Ben Rosenbaum as d'Artagnan and Sofia Jean Gomez as Constance Bonacieux
Ben Rosenbaum as d'Artagnan and
Sofia Jean Gomez as Constance Bonacieux
Photo: Jennifer Koskinen
Given the sad state of affairs we face with our own leadership, both within this country and from the financial powers pulling the strings, the romantic tale of The Three Musketeers is a call to action for those whose code demands a similar level of selflessness for those who serve the public, including all levels and extensions of government.

Ben Rosenbaum as d'Artagnan
Ben Rosenbaum as d'Artagnan
Photo: Jennifer Koskinen
Director Art Manke has the good fortune of a fine adaptation by Linda Alper, Douglas Langworthy, and Penny Metropulos from Dumas' book, which arranges the key elements into a seamless, energetic, and epic dramatic arc. A narrative passage from Dumas' work in the first scene extols the finer points of swordsmanship, which was, in all matters of honor, the principal weaponry, since it required skill, not firepower.

(Left to right) John Hutton as Cardinal Richelieu and Charles Pasternak as King Louis
(L to R) John Hutton as Cardinal Richelieu
and Charles Pasternak as King Louis
Photo: Jennifer Koskinen
And swordplay we get, in spades, throughout the rollicking, witty, and sobering tale. Gregory Hoffman's fight choreography makes serious business with the blades and the players have a grand time sporting their derring-do.

Rosenbaum hits all the right notes for d'Artagnan, a country boy taught to wield his weapon by his famous father, a former Musketeer. As d'Artagnan is educated in the intrigues of the city and the court by his friends, Rosenbaum subtley shades his transformation into an esteemed comrade-in-arms and leader, as well as a gallant lover whose relationship with Constance Bonacieux (the lovely and refined Sofia Jean Gomez) is the heart of the romantic tale.

Jeanne Paulsen as Mme. de Cocquenard and Mike Ryan as Porthos
Jeanne Paulsen as Mme. de Cocquenard
and Mike Ryan as Porthos
Photo: Jennifer Koskinen
Jones, Ryan, and Yurek make for a colorful, contrasting bunch: the circumspect Athos, the dandy Porthos, and the repentent Aramis. Hutton's stature and gravity make for a tempered malevolence in Richelieu that, ultimately, respects d'Artagnan's courage, bravery, and chutzpah. Richelieu's cohorts, the nasty Count de Rochefort (Sam Gregory) and femme fatale, Milady, the Countess de Winter (Katie MacNichol) spread the venomous wealth.

The economy of the script is reflected in Tom Buderwitz' adaptable period setting. Katherine G. Maes' voice and dialect coaching is particularly deft in Pasternak's flamboyant King Louis.

Sarah Nealis as Queen Anne and the court of King Louis
Sarah Nealis as Queen Anne
and the court of King Louis
Photo: Jennifer Koskinen
B. Modern's exquisite period costumes, fashioned from a robust selection of brocades, lace, feathers, and leather, reach dazzling heights in the ball at the French court in the Louvre.

Would that today we would find a wealth of such men and women—like d'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, Bonacieux, etc.—who would stand for our country at this time of crisis, not on some foreign shore, but here in the streets of the U.S.

The Denver Center Theatre's presentation of The Three Musketeers runs through October 21st. For tickets: 303-893-4100 or www.denvercenter.org.

Bob Bows

 

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