Aye, Matees! It is so exciting to see the world premiere of a show. I had this opportunity with the opening of Treasure Island, A Musical Adventure at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, Long Island. This original two-act musical, based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, has a book by Sherman Yellen, Music by Gary William Friedman, and lyrics by Will Holt -- all Tony nominees. Now playing through October 27th, this beautiful up-and-coming production, directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, is in fantastic shape thus far.
Treasure Island, A Musical Adventure, set in the late 18th century, tells the tale of Long John Silver, the larger-than-life leader of the pirates. It is a coming-of-age story narrated by Jim Hawkins, a young man who becomes a cabin boy on the ship that takes them on an adventure for treasure.
Portraying Long John Silver was the fantastic Steve McCoy. He was a great choice for the role as he is not only the swash-buckling leader, but also an eventual father-figure to the semi-orphaned Jim Hawkins, portrayed by Hans Paul Hendrickson. Their father/son chemistry was apparent and MR. McCoy's voice was fantastic for the twenty-two number score.
Mr. Hendrickson was also well suited for his role of Jim Hawkins. His voice soared during the performances of “Adventure”, his duet with MR. McCoy in “In This Great Big World”, and “By Jim”. Mr. Hendrickson balanced the duality of Jim Hawkins very well. On one hand, he is the innocent young man on a voyage for treasure and star-struck by Long John Silver while on the other, he’s ballsy to take on hard-fighting pirates.
The score was well put together and seemed to flow very well. One of the highlights was the hopeful “Adventure” sung by the entire 18-person company featuring Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver. There were also some upbeat numbers like “Pieces Of Eight” when they are searching for treasure. This is, in essence, was reminding them of their ultimate goal. The score was definitely a roller coaster of emotions. From tense with the pirates fighting, to loving with Long John Silver singing “Pretty Bird”, a duet with his pet parrot, Molly (voiced by Phyllis March).
Also beautiful were the costumes by Kristy Leigh Hall. Bandanas, eye patches, goatees, frilled shirts, and full bottomed wigs were of abundance with this cast. Adding to the ambiance, set designer Randall Parsons went all out with the whole feel of the theatre. Fog, the sounds of seagulls, and waves crashing greeted the enthusiastic audience as they entered the theatre. Rustic wooden ladders and roped nets adorned the sides and back of the stage. There were also two very tall structures the cast periodically moved about stage. I’m assuming they were the upper deck of their ship. Also a highlight was the great fight scenes choreograph by Ed Heath Cohen, who also portrayed Josiah Hans, a pirate, in the show.
I be tellin' ye, buckos, Treasure Island, A Musical Adventure is the epitome of pirate tales and adventure story telling. This beautiful production boasts a wonderful cast, exciting story, and a wonderful opportunity to say “I saw this first”.
The world premiere of Treasure Island, A Musical Adventure is presented by Theatre Three of Port Jefferson, Long Island, playing through October 27th. Book by Sherman Yellen, Music by Gary William Friedman, lyrics by Will Holt, Directed By Jeffrey Sanzel, Musical Direction by Ellen Michelmore, Choreographed by Sari Feldman, Fight Choreography by Heath Cohen, Scenic Design by Randall Parsons, Lighting Design by Robert W. Henderson, Jr., Costume Design by Kristy Lee Hall, Technical Direction by Neil Creedon of Avency, Inc. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (631) 928-9100 or visit theatrethree.com.