Barry brings 'Treasure' to Gotham
Rialto fight director B.H. Barry will helm “Treasure Island” on Broadway this summer, in an action-oriented play based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel.
The $3.5 million show, produced by Broadway tyro Jonathan D. Moll, aims to bow at a mid-size house in July — and potentially benefit from any summer pirate frenzy stoked by the third installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which hits cineplexes in late May.
Written by Barry and Vernon Morris, this adaptation of “Treasure Island” tells its story, about young Jim Hawkins and his adventures with seafaring brigands such as Long John Silver, as much through action sequences as through dialogue.
“I’ve always wanted to do an action play. I realized it was something missing on Broadway,” said Barry, whose fight-directing credits include “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Evil Dead the Musical.” “All the fights really further the story and develop the characters.”
“We’re going to create for the Broadway stage the theatrical equivalent of a white-knuckle thrill-ride,” said Moll, whose background includes production and photography.
First produced by the Blue Light Theater Company, Barry’s “Island” preemed in 1996 at downtown Gotham’s Ohio Theater; two years later he helmed a successful production on Sanibel Island, Fla.
Designed by Tony Straiges (“Enchanted April,” “Sunday in the Park With George”), the minimal set will consist mainly of four rolling, interlocking platforms, accessorized with maritime elements such as barrels and ropes.
“Instead of just doing a series of elaborate sets, what I intended is much more flexible,” Barry said.
Production also will incorporate music in the form of traditional sea shanties, sung by the cast of 14.
Aiming to appeal to a broad audience with its focus on action, “Treasure Island” arrives on a Broadway scene that has been derided by some tradition-minded legiters as bearing an increasing resemblance to a theme park.
” ‘Treasure Island’ is not gimmicky or hokey,” Moll counters to potential naysayers. “We’re using the language and story of Stevenson. The fights all come from the drama.”
He hopes to nail down a specific theater for the production as the spring progresses and summer availability firms up.