WSP’s “Triumph of Love”

Washington Street Players are opening a two weekend run of the delightful musical Triumph of Love TONIGHT Friday October 25, held at upper town hall The other performance dates are 10/26, 11/1, 2 and 3. It is a gem not to be missed. Opening on Broadway in 1997, it’s based on the 1732 commedia dell’arte play Le Triomphe De l’Amour. Called “modest in everything but talent and charm,” the entire story is told with seven actors, and earned a Tony nomination.

Some superb voices bring life to this rollicking, Shakespearean-like comedy of mistaken identity. Princess Leonide, ably played by Jennifer Paxton, falls hopelessly in love with Agis, a prince who has been brought up on rationality. However, he is about to embark on a campaign to assassinate…Princess Leonide. Her family unfairly wrested the throne from his family previously. When Leonide realizes his true identity, she realizes the only way to win his heart is to deceive, so she disguises herself as a man and presents herself as a reliable friend and compatriot.

The convoluted plot that ensues gives numerous chances for hi jinx and soaring melodies. Agis’s aunt Hesione, played by Stephanie Mann, sings commandingly of the return of reason to Sparta. Her resonant voice is particularly outstanding in “Serenity,” a plaintive ballad of love. Agis, as played by William Annand, has a rich baritone and explores his own vulnerability in “The Issues in Question.” Harlequin, as played by James Parr, reveals his own strong voice in the humorous “Henchmen Are Forgotten.” Joel Hersh, as Hermocrates, is Agis’s uncle, and Hesoine’s brother. Hermocrates and Hesione capture a melodic, revealing moment in the tender, tremulous, then resounding and glorious “The Tree.”

Conspiring with Princess Leonide is Chrissy Peterson. She is the sexy, beguiling friend who manages to lure the Gardener Dimas, played by Randal Divinski, and the Harlequin into her confidence. These three characters provide the comic relief. Their surprisingly good dancing, Harlequin’s self-conceit, and the Gardener’s groanable, earthy puns sparkle. James Parr reappears as the Baron of Blue Cheese with a convincing French accent. Corine, the coquette, sings alluringly of being “torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool.”

It is worth the price of admission just to hear the entire cast close Act I with “Teach Me Not To Love You.” Director Cindy Bell and musical director Michael Jones have delivered us a triumph.

Don’t miss it!

Cecilia LeBeau

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