There’s a whole lotta muddled storytelling going on at Theater B 59E59 Street Theaters where “I Married Wyatt Earp” will be ramblin’ on through June 12th.
Perhaps a more apt title would be “I, a young arrogant ambitious Jewish gal from San Fran who can sing and dance moseys myself into a theatrical troupe, winds up in Tombstone, meets Earp at the end of Act I, causes his common-law wife – a drug addict – to kill herself and then we live happily ever after for some 47 years. With a lot more stuff that happens along the way told in lively song and dance.” But even that would be too long a title for this too long production.
It is “suggested in part” by the book of the same name by Glenn. G. Boyer. I wonder which parts they used and how long this tome is. “They” being Thomas Edward West & Sheilah Rae (book) music by Michele Brourman and lyrics by Ms. Rae with overall direction by Cara Reichel who must be commended for keeping the cast of 11 women from colliding with each other on the small stage. The practical set is by Ann Bartek. Cramped choreography by Joe Barros. Nice “Sunday Best” costumes by Ryan J. Moller.
The unlikable widow of Wyatt, Josie (Carolyn Mignini) is having a heated argument over the phone regarding the filming of a John Ford movie based on her life “My Darling Clementine” where she has just been fired as consultant due to some information given by Allie Earp widow of Virgil Earp (Heather Mac Rae). The saga then unfolds in flashback as Josie and Allie reminisce over booze in tea cups.
Before I go further, Ms. Mac Rae is one of the only reasons to sit through this oater. The other being her younger self, portrayed by Stephanie Palumbo. Both add professionalism and fine voices to the otherwise adequate cast. And adequate is probably the last word any actor wants to be described as.
The young Josie, a star vehicle if there ever was one is played by Mishaela Faucher who unfortunately is not completely up to the task. She’s adequate.
There is Bess Earp, Mrs. James Earp (Carol Linnea Johnson) a tarot card reader and her daughter Hattie (Laura Hankin – whom I also liked very much), Mattie Earp wife of Wyatt the womanizer (Anastasia Barzee) deranged and much in love – and the mistress of Doc Holliday, Kate Haroney (Ariela Morgenstern – does anyone remember Aliza Kashi?) played with gusto and an indistinguishable accent.
The theatrical troupe is headed by Pauline Rackham (Tina Stafford who adds much of the comedy with her rather mannish impresario).
It’s a bit of Fanny Brice goes to the Tombstone Territory, a bit of “Follies”, a bit of “The People in the Picture” and “The Music Man”. Only a mélange of them all with not enough focus in its storytelling. People and subplots abound with Ms. MacRae left sitting in the corner watching and wondering.
Produced by the Prospect Theater Company and New York Theatre Barn “I Married Wyatt Earp” in short is long and uneven with a somewhat melodic score with a twang when the actors aren’t singing their sung dialogue. If Josie Earp wanted to set the record straight she hasn’t.
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