By Bridges Sayers
Midvale has long been a hub for the performing arts, and that certainly continues to hold true with Titus Production Theatre Co.’s spectacular performance of The Three Musketeers. This original musical, written by Jake Anderson, is based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas. It follows the tale of the eager young D’Artagnan (Christian Shepherd) , who longs to join the King’s Musketeers. However, the drama and intrigue of the time does not allow for his task to be so simple. Rife with thrills, affairs, treachery, and more, the story is far from predictable. Along his journey, D’artagnan discovers the perils of betrayal, the passion of love, and the everlasting bond of friendship. This story, full of heartbreak and joy, adventure and discovery, is one that holds meaning far beyond its years. Anderson, both the playwright and the director of the show, truly captures the essence of the novel. This is the musical’s debut performance, not an easy feat on its own, but the cast and crew performed the show with poise, talent, and honesty far beyond its humble beginnings.
Easily the star of the show is D’artagnan himself. Clearly a seasoned performer, Shepherd launched himself into the role with enthusiasm, talent, and obvious dedication. Aaron and I both remarked about the authenticity of Shepherd—the portrayal never felt forced or unnatural. Rather, Shepherd is D’artagnan. His vocals are flawless, his comedic timing is brilliant, and his energy moves the show along wonderfully. He also pairs beautifully with Constance (Jennica Henderson), another powerhouse on stage. Her rendition of “When the Boy Becomes a Man” is stunningly beautiful. The love between the two is honest and raw, something incredibly difficult to convey through the show.
Other clear standouts are the Musketeers themselves. Athos (Quinn Nielsen) is a delightfully complex character. His voice is smooth and melodic and he holds himself with poise and dignity on stage. Nielsen captures the troubled past of his character with such poignant ease that it takes your breath away. Similarly, Aramis (Anthony Hernandez), is not to be forgotten. His own turmoil is relatable and remarkable, and his vocals are stunning. My personal favorite of the three, though, is Porthos (Josh Astle). Perhaps seemingly less introspective than the others, Astle creates a bold and complex character. His comedic timing sets him apart as an incredible performer, and I couldn’t help but love his character. Though all brilliant on their own, the Musketeers bring magic to the stage when paired together—a brilliant casting choice by Anderson.
Not to be forgotten are several other notable performances among the “good guys.” Planchet (Tanya Rasmussen) is, personally, my favorite woman on stage. Her comedic timing is brilliant and makes the language used very easy to understand. Her vocals are lovely. Rasmussen is incredibly relatable and enjoyable. Similarly, King Louis (Carl Smith) steals your attention when on stage. There is something so honest and interesting about his performance. His relationship with Queen Anne of Austria (Nikki North) is sweet and heartfelt. The two understand how it is to grow to love another and they progress to that point beautifully.
Also brilliant are the villains of the show. Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Chucay) is heinously evil. There are few characters that are so authentically bad that you shiver when they enter the stage, and Chucay portrays one of them. His performance of “One For All” is so spectacularly terrifying. His smooth voice only adds to the eeriness of the role. Complimented by Milady De Winter (Rossy Thrall) and Rochefort (Michael Thrall), the level of evil in this show is simply stunning. As Rossy Thrall sings, it’s “Good to be Bad,” and I couldn’t agree more.
Finally, the ensemble truly compliments the show. Several standout performances are found with surprisingly brilliant characterizations. Bazin (Kimberly Johnson) and Marie (Brycie Piper) had me in stitches. Their timing and commitment to the role is truly wonderful. The Duchess of Brooksby (Sasha Nugter) is another unforgettable role. Her total humor with the role made it an absolute standout. Also brilliant is the Reverend Mother (Chelsea Tramell) whose performance is so dedicated and lovely. It is rare to see a show where my eyes flock to the ensemble members, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of these lovely performers any time they stepped on the stage.
Fantastic job to director, Jake Anderson. His work with Aaron Webb and Lorrinda Christensen made for some truly beautiful music, and I definitely haven’t gotten it out of my head—which is bad, because I don’t have a way to listen to it now. The costume team did a fantastic job (Amy Martinez, Emily Landeen, Nyssa DeGrazio, Rachel Rasmussen, Alta High School, Taylorsville High School, Kim Russell). I loved the diversity of the costumes, and all of the bright and bold costuming decisions. The fight choreography (Michael Thrall, cast) is wonderful and engaging, and will leave you on the end of your seat.
If you are looking for a night of adventure, laughter, and brilliant performances, be sure to see Titus Production Theatre Company’s performance of The Three Musketeers. It will be unlike anything you have ever seen before, and I mean that in the best of ways.
Be sure to arrive early, as parking and seating are both limited. Also, bring cash or checks, as they do not accept credit cards. The show runs for about three and a half hours with two short intermissions, similar to shows at the Shakespeare Festival, so plan in advance for a later night. Also, be cautious when bringing little ones. There is some slight language, though nothing egregious. However, the many deaths and the length of the show could be hard for some young ones. Ultimately, though, there is plenty for them to enjoy and to keep them engaged. We brought Aaron’s younger sister, and she loved the show just as much as we did.
Titus Production Theatre Co. presents The Three Musketeers, an original musical by Jake Anderson
Performed at the Midvale Performing Arts Center (695 West Center St (7720 South), Midvale, Utah 84047)
The show runs through August 4 7:00 PM
Tickets: $10, and may be purchased at the door. (Be aware, they only accept cash or check for your purchase, but there is an ATM located across the street.)