'The Music Man' at Marriott soars with ensemble cast
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Over the holidays, you may be looking for an activity that will please everyone from your kids to your Aunt Gladys. Consider treating yourselves to a fantastic production of "The Music Man" at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre. This lavish production, with colorful costumes, spirited dance numbers and familiar songs, will please anyone age 8 to 80.
The show centers around Professor Harry Hill and his plan to scam small-town Iowans out of their money during the summer of 1912. The "in the round" seating arrangement puts the audience on all sides of the action and makes us all feel part of the town and the progression of the play. Director Gary Griffen has done a remarkable job of using all parts of the stage, so there's never a bad seat.
"The Music Man" needs a superstar actor to pull off the charisma, singing and dancing of Harry Hill. They found him in Bernie Yvon, who charms the townspeople and the audience. I would have bought anything he was selling. Johanna McKenzie Miller, as the skeptical librarian with a lovely singing voice, provides a tender counterpoint to his bravado. My sons loved laughing at John Reeger's portrayal of the pompous blowhard Mayor Shinn.
While all the individual performances are outstanding, it's really the ensemble of professional adult and a handful of child actors who keep the action moving. From the rousing "Ya Got Trouble" to the show's signature "Seventy-Six Trombones," Harold and the cast of townspeople had us tapping our toes and humming along.
"The Music Man" is a fine example of the era of great American musicals. It has everything-rousing choral numbers, poignant solos and duets, great humor and extended dance numbers. It's well worth the ticket price.