Okay, so every college, high school, and Community Theater in the country has done “The Music Man” at least twice. (It was, in fact, the first theatrical production I was ever involved with, as part of the set crew – but I digress.) There is still something about that flim-flam man, Professor Harold Hill, that still charms audiences out of there admission money.
Gerritt Vandermeer, steps into Robert Preston’s band director shoes, and wears them quite well, thank you. He’s as smooth as creamy peanut butter, and slick as Brylcream.
Carolann M. Sanita handles the vocal fireworks of River City’s skeptical librarian, Marian Paroo. An actress of marvelous range she easily holds her own when compared to the original librarian, Shirley Jones. Ms Sanita’s interpretation of the spinster music teacher was a convincing mix of polished confidence, undeniable loneliness, and a rather poignant willingness to become another one of Hill’s conquests.
While there might be trouble in River City, the residents of Music City had no trouble at all with a supporting cast that provided a solid evening’s entertainment. Albert E. Parker as the irascible Mayor Shinn and Corey Elias as his hilariously gullible wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn were delightful. Elias and her posse of gossiping, dancing, feather-headed society ladies captured the audience’s attention whenever they were on stage. (“One Grecian Urn.” I’m still laughing!)
Yes, “The Music Man” has been around forever, but the music still resonates with a timelessness that “Bring on the Funk…” and its wannabees will never maintain. And I have to admit; I’m a sucker for a great barbershop quartet. Hats off to the precision singing provided by Bert Rodriguez, Joacquin Stevens, Joseph Torello, and Steven Wilde did.
A Big League Theatricals production, “The Music Man” has drawn its share of criticism as a non-union show, but I can’t say the quality of the production suffered in the least.
Mike Parker reviews arts and entertainment from him home in Antioch, Tennessee. Visit him online at www.wordcrafts.net
Music Man Comes to Music City