Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Music Man"

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entire contents copyright 1997 by Larry Stark


"The Music Man"

Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Story by Meredith Willson & Franklin Lacey
Directed by Greg Ganakas
Choreography by Linda Goodrich
Music Direction by Alby Potts

Set Design by Jeff Modereger
Lighting Design Kirk Bookman
Costume Design by Jonathan Bixby
Sound Design by John Stone
Production Stage Manager Janet Tong

Harold Hill................................Bob Walton
Marian Paroo..............................Lee Merrill
Mayor Shinn..............................David Coffee
Mrs. Paroo...............................Teri Ralston
Winthrop Paroo....................Christopher Thomann
Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn................Nancy Johnson
Amaryllis................................Emily Walton
Tommy Djilas.............................David Burkta
Marcellus Washburn....................Wayne W Pretlow
Zaneeta Shinn.............................Robyn Cohen
Charlie Cowell.........................Carl Danielson
Ewart Dunlop.............................Dale Hensley
Oliver Hix..............................Paul Laureano
Jacey Squires.........................Newton Gilcrest
Olin Britt.................................Mark Jones
Gracie Shinn..............................Amy Boudrow
Alma Hix.................................Tina Johnson
Maud Dunlop..........................Deborah Bradshaw
Ethel Toffelmier.......................Kathy Robinson
Mrs. Squires....................Colleen Smith Wallnau
Mrs. Britt.............................Paris Bradshaw
Constable Locke........................Peter A. Carey
Traveling Salesmen...Matthew Perri, Michael Serpiglia
Citizens...Laura Bell, Jason Buell, Tony B. Crisp,
Kate Levering, Kristen Novalany, Catherine Marsh,
Todd Smith
Children...Tess Amadeo-Vickery, Michael Buckley,
Kyla Fallon, Josh Holden, Alex Walton

Orchestra
Flute, Clarinet.......................Bill Carmichael
Clarinet, Oboe..........................Rod Ferland
Clarinet, Bass Clarinet.................Marc Phaneuf
Trumpet 1...............................Jay Daly
Trumpet 2................................Greg Hopkins
Trumpet 3...............................Eric Berlin
Trombone.............................Richard Stepton
Violin.................................Lucy Pope
Violin.................................Stanley Silverman
Cello....................................Sandra Keifer
Bass..................................Barry Smith
Percussion.............................Mark Worgaftik
and
The Beverly High School Marching Band


When Alby Potts gives the downbeat for the overture to "The Music Man" at North Shore Music Circus, the very music itself sounds like it's enjoying itself, and that feeling never stops. By the end of this fable of a self-confessed charlatan's transformation of a dour Iowa town, people may actually believe they can see a fully uniformed band marching across that big circular stage. It's magic --- theatrical magic --- and it works.

By any standards this is a huge production with thousands of tiny details from complicated dance steps to a single note from a triangle, from ensemble-mime of a bumpy train-ride to the comic pause in a line that must be done crisply, honestly, and broadly enough to register with an enormous audience. But thanks to the cast and crew, all the work of Director Greg Ganakas, Choreographer Linda Goodrich, Music Director Potts and Production Stage Manager Janet Tong is believably bright throughout the show.

The principals who move the plot are familiar to any North Shore regulars. Bob Walton playing Gregory (a k a Professor Harold Hill "The Music Man") took some time off between "Crazy for You" last season and this show to do a show down south on Broadway. Here he is a scam-salesman intending to spend four weeks in River City trumping up a need for a uniformed brass band, then leaving the youth of the city with no idea of how to play their instruments.

Lee Merrill plays the town's librarian, a music teacher who can blow his act and who resists his amorous advances --- except that she sees a healthy excitement generated in the town, and in herself, by his dream-spinning.

David Coffee --- wearing the same tall top-hat which has capped his Scrooge at NSMT for five years --- is the tangle- tongued unimpressed mayor bent on hounding him, tarred and feathered, out of town.

These big roles carry the show, but Greg Ganakas has directed it so that everyone who steps on Jeff Modereger's peripatetic set can feel, if only for a moment, that the story is their own. For Christpher Thomann it's the story of a 10-year-old kid finally conquering shame over his "lishp" and singing a song full of s's, and for Emily Walton it's about the 10-year-old girl proud of him when he does it. For Wayne W. Pretlow it's a story about Hill's retired accomplice eagerly helping him fleece some more rubes. For Nancy Johnson it's about the mayor's haughty wife blossoming as a choreographer. For Teri Ralston it's about an outspoken Irish widow urging her librarian daughter to make life and love as important to her as books. And to Dale Hensley, Paul Laureano, Newton Gilcrest and Mark Jones it's about the infectious delight men can find in barbarshop-quartet singing.

And every one of them is right!

Love,
===Anon.

"The Music Man" (till 21 June)
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY
1(617)922-8500
Check their web site


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