Meredith Willson’s THE MUSIC MAN is a natural pick for community theater groups. There is a plethora of very singable songs with just enough difficulty to make them a little work. It has a variety of character parts to play, of all ages. And it has the possibility of using a lot of children, which usually means a lot of tickets get sold. And, most of all, it’s a fun show to do and to watch.
Methacton Community Theater’s production involves 53 people on stage and many more backstage. It was an enjoyable evening.
Conductor and Music Director Alex Cifelli led a 17 piece orchestra that was several cuts above what I have heard in most community theater. Bravo, Mr. Cifelli!
As Marian (the librarian) Paroo, Kate McCool sang and acted very well. She has a strong soprano and was adept at holding the notes as they were written. The evening’s Harold Hill was Rob Frankel. He had the right moves and understood the con man part. The transition from con man to man in love, although sparsely written, was rushed and not convincing. It all has to happen in the double reprise at the end of Act Two. Frankel does the rest so well that, I’m sure he can make that work, too.
Jude Adams puts in a welcome appearance as Marcellus Washburn. He is delightful whenever he’s onstage. Michael Sherman, Cliff Reese, Mark Dobbins, and Bill Shimer comprise the School Board made over into a barbershop quartet. It’s the most difficult harmony in THE MUSIC MAN. They looked like they were having fun and added to the merriment.
David Kriebel made Charlie Cowell, the anvil salesman, the perfect picture of what we think of as the well-known Traveling Salesman. There were terrific performances from Michelle Quigley as the Mayor’s wife, Danny Habboush as Winthrop Paroo, Zoe Muller as Zaneeta Shinn, and Nick Capriotti as Tommy Dijilas.
Lynn Corfield was a warm Mrs. Paroo although her Irish accent wandered about here and there. I’d like to see more bluster and pomposity from David Moyer as Mayor Shinn. He handles the major part of the humor in the piece.
Director Ken Brown did his usual fine job of moving a huge number of people around. He kept the tempo up and sprightly. The Rock Island number from the men in the cast got things going in the right way. As Choreographer, Lauren McGinnis did a super job on the “Marian the Librarian” and the “Shipoopi” numbers.
The scenery was excellent as were the costumes and lighting. The air conditioning in the Middle school auditorium was more than adequate. Take a sweater with you when you go. Bring the Family. You’ll enjoy THE MUSIC MAN.
THE MUSIC MAN
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Book by Meredith Willson and Frank Lacey
Directed by Ken Brown
Methacton Community Theater
Perkiomen Middle School
100 Kagey Road
Collegeville, PA 19426