Yo ho at MSMT

Posted Sunday, June 30, 2019 in Culture

Yo ho at MSMT

Treasure Island cast after the mutiny. Aaron Ramey (center) as Long John Silver. Photo by Jared Morneau.

by Gina Hamilton

In its Maine State Music Theatre (and East Coast) premiere, Curt Dale Clark and Marc Robin teamed up to turn Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure classic, "Treasure Island", into a musical tour de force.

The cast was led by Michael Nigro as young Jim Hawkins and Aaron Ramey as Long John Silver. James Patterson played Dr. David Livesey, Michael Iannucci played Squire John Trelawney, James Michael Riley starred as both Blind Pew and Ben Gunn, Jason Simon played George Merry, Brian Krinsky played Tom Morgan, and David Girolmo played Captain Alexander Smollett.

The new work was directed by Mark Martino.

The musical takes some liberties with the Stevenson adventure story, of course, including the rehabilitation of Long John Silver, who is a scoundrel in the book (and absconds with a portion of the treasure). In the musical, Silver is portrayed as always in Jim Hawkins' corner, even if he has to pretend otherwise to assuage the more bloodthirsty of his comrades. It is a more human, and wholly believable, interpretation.

The story is less pure adventure and more coming of age, a gentler and more compelling story than Stevenson, writing for a young male audience, probably intended. But it is also far more likely to hold the attention of a full breadth of musical-going audience.

One of the most charming pieces is a duet by Livesey and the Squire, called "The Stockade", which is a delightful (and utterly shameless) homage to Gilbert and Sullivan (who also knew a thing or two about ships and pirates, one must recall). We can only assume Clark is responsible for that, and bless him for it.

With strong support from set design, lighting design, costuming, and sound, Treasure Island is a rollicking great pleasure from beginning to end. Don't miss it! Treasure Island runs through July 13. Ticket information is available at msmt.org.

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