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Cowboys Don’t Sing, 2013
Written and directed by Dennis Flynn
[image courtesy of Tim Leuke]

Wilson here. As you may recall, we previously reported, at Mr. Struggan’s request, on the premiere of Cowboys Don’t Sing, a musical written by some dear friends of Mr. Struggan, Misters Dennis Flynn and Johnny Kelley. Last month, Cowboys re-emerged as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, staging five performances to rave reviews. This finally afforded me an opportunity to see the show, and offer you, dear readers, a long-overdue review of one of the finest western musicals ever written. 

Cowboys Don’t Sing spins a riotously smart yarn, sending up pretty much every trope and cliche of the western and musical genres you can possibly think of. The curtains rise on a fantastic opening number; a train full of hopeful travelers headed out to the old west, whose optimism at the chance for a fresh start are swiftly, and hilariously, interrupted by a gang of train robbers. Among the passengers are Alice (Megan Beaty) and Max (Jeffrey Sharkey), new transplants to the “singin’ town” of Tombstone Junction, whose residents are fond of regularly expressing themselves though practiced and synchronized song and dance (Mr. Struggan welcomed this clever plot device, which solved for him the main reason he usually hates musicals).

The train heist, along with the mysterious arrival to town of the eponymous Cowboy (TJ Alcala), sends the Sheriff (Matt van Orden) and citizens of Tombstone Junction into a frenzy of twistful suspense and ingeniously clever musical numbers. The end result is a supremely entertaining and satisfying play. The production triumphs in large part due to Flynn’s fresh and confident writing, an exceptional score from Kelley and Alcala, and a tremendous ensemble cast (Beaty, Sharkey, and van Orden deliver standout performances).

Cowboys Don’t Sing is currently in the midst of an extended run, part of the Fringe Festival’s Encore Series. There are two more performances scheduled for this week, Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th, at The Players Theater, 115 MacDougal Street, New York City. 

Mr. Struggan sends his Highest Regards