PTHS drama presents ‘The Three Musketeers’

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Port Townsend High School’s drama students open their season with a traditional staging of “The Three Musketeers” by Ken Ludwig. More than 25 students from all over Jefferson County are involved in this mammoth production, which opens at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7 at the PTHS auditorium.

Described as “a tale of heroism, treachery, close escapes and, above all, honor” this adaptation of the famous novel by Alexander Dumas is guaranteed to wow audiences with its swashbuckling swordplay and 17th-century costumes. Director Jennifer Nielsen chose the Ludwig adaptation because it stays true to the original, but distills the action to keep the narrative moving. With the addition of Sabine, a sister for d’Artagnan, Ludwig is able to include a more complete feminine point of view. Sabine functions both as the servant, Planchet, and a love interest for one of the musketeers.

Joining director Nielsen as fight choreographer for the show is certified combat instructor Erik Van Beuzekom from the Paradise Theatre School in Chimacum. Besides choreographing multiple sword-fighting scenes, Van Beuzekom is also fulfilling the role of set builder. With the loss of the carpentry and theater tech classes at PTHS, Nielsen had to search for others to build the sets for the plays. Van Beuzekom has realized Nielsen’s designs marvelously, depicting more than 13 different locations in and around Paris, with the help of the students making up the cast and crew.

The costumes for this show are truly massive. Libby Urner has returned to design, build, borrow and organize more than 45 period costumes for this show.

“The 17th-century ambiance requires authentic costumes, and Libby has worked tirelessly to create beautiful pieces,” said Nielsen. Urner, who works at Microsoft, has brought in more than $7,000 over the past two years as part of its Volunteer-Match Program, in which the company donates funds to any nonprofit for which its employees volunteer. Last year, the funds were used to replace eight old light instruments, and this year’s funds go toward the cost of a week-long field trip for 14 drama students to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

Nielsen has nothing but praise for Urner, saying, “In addition to bringing her positive, creative spirit to the costumes, Libby has enhanced the drama program through this generous infusion of funds.”

Joining the technical staff is Kelly Doran from the Tacoma School for the Arts, where she teaches a variety of theater classes to high-school-age students. Doran designs the show’s lighting and provides support with the sound. At PTHS, Doran most recently worked on “Wanda’s World” and “James and the Giant Peach.”

Noah Phillips plays the pivotal role of d’Artagnan, with Mahina Gelderloos as his sister, Sabine. The title characters Athos, Aramis and Porthos are played by Stevie Reipe, Rowan Gallagher and Joey Ripley, respectively. The queen’s daring lady-in-waiting, Constance, is played by Raquel Noltemeier.

The conniving characters are well represented, with Marcus Bufford as Cardinal Richelieu, Sam Brooks as his cutthroat sidekick Rochefort, and Diana Bond as the Countess DeWinter, also known as “Milady.” Portraying multiple characters throughout the show are Zack Slough, Laure Mounts, Carmen Jaramillo, Paula Sexton, Miranda McClave, Ciara Halligan, Mazzie Peters and Jennifer DeLong.

The backstage crew is led by Natalie Gannon in the role of stage manager. Elli Coupe with help supervises the backstage crew as the assistant stage manager. Handling the rest of the backstage positions are Mitch Morris, Wylie Carter-Douglass, Alex Genaw, Phoebe Arthur, Alivia Brass, Zeke Whitney, Joey Ripley, Abby Bushell and Naya Krienke.

The performance dates for the show are Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2:30 p.m.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and students, and $3 for children younger than 12. A special group rate of $25 for families is also available. Tickets are on sale at the door only.

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