Based on the Novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Music by Marc Robin
Book & Lyrics by Marc Robin & Curt Dale Clark
Directed by Marc Robin
At Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis, IN
Treasure Island is a shinning gem of a new musical.
It took two extremely talented creative artists both at the top of craft to get me to take a 3 hour, 160 mile ride to Indianapolis, Indiana to see a new musical. I was not disappointed with Treasure Island written by Marc Robin and Curt Dale Clark. This is a gem of a new musical that reminds me of the scope and grandeur of Les Misérables.
Award winning director/ choreographer/composer/lyricist Marc Robin and his partner actor/playwright/ lyricist Curt Dale Clark have collaborated on many children’s shows so they know how to write musicals. Robin’s vast directing and choreographing experience and Clark’s vast experience as a triple-threat actor/dancer/singer have served them well giving them an understanding of structure, style and tone necessary to create an entertaining musical. Robin & Clark took 11 years to completely develop Treasure Island from a 50-minute childrens’ to a full 2 hour, 30 minute Broadway family musical.
Their Treasure Island is a major triumph with a grand future offering a sophisticated tale ripe with pirates, excitement, buried treasure, ships and distant shores peopled with richly developed characters originally created by Robert Louis Stevenson. Robin and Clark are terrific storytellers true to the novel’s essence enriching their musical with humor, suspense, action, and loads of heart. Treasure Island is an adventure musical with a strong coming of age male bonding theme sparked by an unlikely friendship. Action and adventure fuel this tuneful musical.
Treasure Island is young cabin boy Jim Hawkins’ (the charmingly warm Rick Desloge) tale of adventure as he is entrusted with a treasure map. With the help of his guardian Dr. Livesey (Curt Dale Clark) and Squire Trelawney (J.R. Stuart), a grand adventure unfolds as they search for the mysterious “Treasure Island.” With the song “Look at Me,” Jim Hawkins quickly wins us over. The rousing “Introductions” presents us to the salty sailors recruited by the cook Long John Silver (Jamie Jackson). In the excellent number “Dreams” Hawkins sings to his desire for adventure. Songs like “Mutiny” and “Bottle of Rum” gives us a portrait of the ship’s crew. In classic Broadway style, act one introduces us to the key characters, sets the tone and the show’s promise. The act ends with the mutiny of the crew with Jim escaping to the island.
Act two is a most polished affair filled with several cleverly complex songs and powerful anthems. The stranded island loner, Ben Gunn (played by Marc Robin as a last minute replacement for the injured Eddie Curry) is the funny and wacky recluse who helps Hawkins free his ship mates. Robin was outstanding as he showed his comic chops. This adventure produces action as the captain (Mark Goetzinger), Dr. Livesey and the Squire fight the mutineers. Hawkins’ sings his intentions to save his friends in “Seize the Day,” another powerful song deftly sung by Rick Desloge. We witness Long John Silver (Jamie Jackson in a crafty and ambiguous turn), Jim Hawkins and the pirates deliver “Confessions, Conditions, Consequences” a smart tune that move the show toward its resolution.
The good guys win the day as Hawkins and Silver sing the duet “Someday/Look at Me” (reprise) after Long John is defeated. Long John sings “Miracles” as an ode to his survival acumen. The show ends with an anthem to the human spirit.
Treasure Island is a fun, action packed and appropriate family entertainment. It is also a most sophisticated classical styled Broadway musical with operatic sensibilities filled with a mixture of musical styles in the grand tradition of epic musicals. With some tweaking of act one, Robin & Clark could have the next major Broadway musical hit.
One can only hope that the producers/artistic directors from Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Drury Lane Oakbrook or the Goodman Theatre need to take the ride down I-65 to Beef & Boards to see Treasure Island. Doug Stark, the owner and artistic director at Beef & Boards traveled to Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, PA in February, 2008 to see the world premiere of Treasure Island. He stated, “After seeing this show’s premiere, we were very excited at the opportunity to present it (Treasure Island) in Indianapolis.” Stark told me Treasure Island has been a major hit at his Beef & Board Dinner Theater. “I see a great future for Treasure Island,” Stark observed.
Let me add that Beef & Board is a fine venue—one of the few remaining dinner theaters in America. For a reasonable price, you can enjoy a fine meal and an Equity theatre production in a friendly and efficient atmosphere. I was made to feel most welcome at Beef & Boards.
So, if you miss dinner theater like the old Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, take the pilgrimage down to Indianapolis to Beef & Boards—you’ll experience the enchanting Treasure Island—the next epic musical.
At Beef & Boards dinner Theater, 9301 N. Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN, Call 312-872-9664, www.beefandboards.com, tickets $34 – $57 dinner included, Tuesdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, matinees on Wednesdays at 1 pm, & Sundays at 1:30 pm, running time is 2 hours, 35 minutes with intermission.