[by Robert E. Steinman]
Like music? Like romance? Like to chuckle and laugh? Then you will like the CenterStage production of The Music Man. Seen it before? Go again! You’ve got to see this one.
When the CenterStage performers took on the challenge of capturing the “nostalgic celebration of small-town American life,” they did so with a fervor that became evident as soon as the near full cast in their wonderful period costumes, hit the stage.
The Music Man is a comedic love story told with the book, music and lyrics of Meredith Willson. It was a 1957 Broadway hit which won a Tony Award for the Best Musical in 1958 – a bit surprising to some because the story typified small town American life in the pseudo River City, IA, and it won despite competition from West Side Story.
Every CenterStage player/singer seemed to have a passion for delivering an enthusiastic performance. The many choral group segments presented by teams of talented guys, gals and exceptional kids, melted the audience right into the story. And, when such familiar pieces as the intricate “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little” came about, everyone knew that this musical was a season winner.
Fantastic music delivered by masterful song and dance performances made the evening just delightful. Add to this, a fabulous integration of kids, young people, and adults along with a winsome barbershop quartet, and you get an evening of sheer pleasure.
Of course, during and between the reach of musical bravados, the gentle love story evolves as a spurious salesman Harold Hill (AlexCraig) falling in love with the beautiful librarian, Marian (Lauren Maxwell) unfolds.
Nothing is perfect and the most serious negative was in the sound system. The microphones need more tweaking as some dialog could not be heard (in the second row!) and little Winthrop’s, solo near the end, was virtually silenced by a lower than perceptible db level.
The Music Man continues through March 27.