Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Three Musketeers - gone and probably forgotten

It's big, it's showy, it has swords...its just okay. I saw The Denver Center Theatre Company’s production of “The Three Musketeers” Friday night in the Space Theatre (it closed Sunday) and left me wanting.

To be sure, the sets by Vicki Smith and costumes by David Kay Mickelsen are quite good – up to the standards expected of DCTC. And Sam Gregory (Count de Rochefort) and John Hutton (Cardinal Richelieu), when they are involved, bring the stage alive with their usual rich performances but the rest of the time everything felt run of the mill – not bad but nothing special. Certainly nothing like what we expect from DCTC productions such as the wonderful “Fences” which also just closed. It was like drinking Vin Ordinaire when you want a Grand Cru Bordeaux.

It’s not just that this is piece of fluff; there is nothing wrong with producing fluff – no one wants a steady diet of Ibsen - it is that it is so ordinary and nothing of the caliber of Alexander Dumas’ novel, the basis for the script.

Not every production succeeds and the failure in my eyes of this production does not in and of itself reflect badly on DCTC. However I am concerned about the overall season-quality over the last few years. The high points are still there from year to year (the aforementioned “Fences”, for instance) but overall the seasons don’t seem to be as challenging and rewarding. DCTC built a reputation and an audience by mounting challenging and rewarding productions – even when those productions might fail.

I know that these are challenging economic times for arts organizations and I know that the diminishment or loss of corporate sponsorship creates additional challenges, but organizations like DCTC must find a way to overcome these obstacles and not lose the reputation and identity they have built. DCTC continues to be unique among Regional Theatres, I want to see it stay that way and its reputation enhanced.

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