‘The Three Musketeers’ takes the stage at Leeds

Published 3:33 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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Leeds Center for the Arts presents “The Three Musketeers” this weekend and next, and the show promises to be a swashbuckling good time that updates one of the world’s most loved adventure tales.

The show takes place in 1600s Paris, where the lead character, D’Artagnan, seeks to follow in his father’s footsteps by serving the king, only to find himself ensnared in a plot involving an evil cardinal.

While the show stays true to the spirit of Alexandre Dumas’s novel, director Nick Vannoy said it has a few contemporary updates.

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“This particular script is adapted by Ken Ludwig and he is known for his comedies. So this play has quite a lot of humor and quite a bit of slapstick fun,” Vannoy said. 

The show also adds a character: D’Artagnan’s sister, Sabine.

“She is a whole new character who is completely new to this production,” Vannoy said. “I think it updates it and makes it much fresher. It adds another female character into the mix with the three musketeers and adds more fights.” 

In Vannoy’s opinion, the action-based story is a forerunner for the modern superhero epic.

“I really think of this story as the first comic book/adventure story,” he said. “It feels like the first iteration of that superhero model…and it has endured because of that.”

Vannoy has worked with a talented cast to bring the story to life.

“We have a great group of actors,” he said.

One of those actors is Alan Brown, who plays three roles in the show: D’Artagnan‘s father, Monsieur de Tréville and the Duke of Buckingham.

Playing each role posed a number of challenges for Brown.

“I have to use an English accent for the Buckingham character,” he said. “But the biggest thing is the costume changes between one of the scenes I am in and another scene. And also, shifting my language and my demeanor.”

Brown said he did not want the “same vibe coming off each character,” for instance, as Tréville, he has to be “very strict and patient.” 

To Brown, the story’s universal appeal is because the characters “fight for what they believe in, often to the death.”

Actor Mead Ryder plays musketeer Porthos and commented on the challenge of the show’s physical nature.

“It’s a large part of what we work on every day,” he said. “We have what is called a fight call and go through all the different fight choreography we are working on. It is similar to working on a musical.”

The show opens Friday at 7:30 p.m., and there are two performances this weekend: one at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Next weekend’s shows are 7:30 performances on Friday and Saturday, with another 2:30 matinee on Sunday.

Tickets can be purchased online at leedscenter.org. They start at $18 for students and $22 for adults.