Good guy or bad guy? That’s the question that Brandon Wood attempts to answer lock, stock and barrel in this intriguing and promising soft rock meets Nashville sounding musical TOMBSTONE – The Legend of Wyatt Earp that is being presented as part of the Midtown International Fringe Festival at the June Havoc Theatre 312 West 36th Street.
Not only has Mr. Wood written the book, lyrics and music to TOMBSTONE he also stars as the redemptive guitar playing Wyatt Earp whose story has more ups and downs and twists and turns than the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster.
Wyatt Earp has left his past behind only to have it resurface as he tries to make peace in the Wild West Tombstone Territory where he finds himself in an odd love triangle. The newly appointed sheriff Johnny Behan (James Parks) a position that Earp thought he would get turns out to be corrupt and as trigger happy as Earp used to be when he was best friends with Doc Holliday (Don Sandeen) who took the blame for a crime committed by Earp spending three years in jail in his stead.
The new Sheriff’s wife, Sadie Marcus (Taylor Lintelman) is an actress called Josephine who prefers to be called Sadie and isn’t actually married to him and falls immediately in love with Earp with obvious complications ensuing – she being blind to what is actually happening.
Earp tries valiantly “to right the wrongs” of his life. The “story songs” are big on the message of “picking oneself up and continuing on”. Nice songs that sound like we’ve heard them before somewhere else. Musical Director Oliver Blatt does an outstanding job at keeping the show – which is a series of short scenes that cover too much territory even condensed as it is – moving along. Sometimes actors play along on guitar.
Too often the actors seem not up to the parts they have been cast in. Mr. Wood, although having a pleasant voice and demeanor might want to concentrate on clarifying and revamping the book than appearing as Earp.
Mr. Sandeen as Doc Holliday gives a strong performance seemingly influenced by Johnny Cash and Ms. Lintelman delivers her songs with a fine sweet natured voice. Will Schnurr does extremely well as Ike Clanton – who sets his sights on killing Earp at the end of Act I.
Teresa Fallon does a serviceable job as director and there are a few shoot out scenes that work quite nicely. With some additional work TOMBSTONE – The Legend of Wyatt Earp and cast with more seasoned actors could accomplish what Mr. Brandon has set out to do.
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