3hree

3hreeOriginal Cast, 2000 (DRG) 4 Stars (4 / 5) It would be a wonderful thing if more full-length musicals could be as melodic and charming as 3hree, the triumvirate of one-act works that director Harold Prince put together to great acclaim in Philadelphia. Each mini-musical was penned by a different team of up-and-coming young talents. Composer Laurence O’Keefe, lyricist Nell Benjamin, and librettist Julia Jordan wrote the first and most satisfying piece, the darkly comic “The Mice.” It features John Scherer as an exterminator who goes to extreme measures to escape his shrewish wife, played by the delightfully evil Jessica Molaskey. Less impressive overall is the show’s middle section, the ghostly love story “Lavender Girl,” but songwriter John Bucchino’s talent is evident here, notably in the pretty waltz “Dancing.” 3hree‘s showcase piece, “Flight of the Lawn Chair Man,” is based on the true story of a man who soared into the sky on a lawn chair lifted by toy balloons. Songwriter Robert Lindsey Nassif and book writer Peter Ullian’s fanciful work brings Leonardo DaVinci and Charles Lindbergh into the action for comic touches, but it’s in the score’s ballads that Nassif really shines. Christopher Fitzgerald and Donna Lynne Champlin perform “Tiny” and “The Air Is Free” with great sensitivity and great power, respectively. — Brooke Pierce