THE MUSIC MAN presented The Carnegie through Feb. 5. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
THE MUSIC MAN was possibly my first exposure to a Broadway musical. Knowing my parents, there is probably still a Betamax copy of it floating around the house somewhere. So for me, a visit to River City is a bit of a nostalgic homecoming and this production boasts the largest cast in a production by The Carnegie.
Dave Wilson is solid as the charming con man, Harold Hill. Sara Viola’s strong vocals are a highlight of the show and it is fun to watch her as Marion begins to fall under Harold’s spell. Together, the real-life husband and wife have an easy chemistry that plays well from the playful “Marion the Librarian” to the honest “Then There Was You.”
A favorite of the audience was the school board barbershop quartet played by Michael Bell, Paul Gilman, Mike Connelly & Zac Coleman. The “Lida Rose/Will I Ever Tell You” number was extremely well-received.
Always fun to watch on stage, Sean Mette takes on the role of Marcellus. I would have like to have seen a stronger friendship between Marcellus and Hill. During “Shipoopi,” Mette did seem to get lost amid the young dancers. Maybe moving him downstage and to the side would have made him more visible. There was also fun character work by Angela Alexander Nalley as Mother Paroo, Jim Stump and Torie Pate as Mayor Shinn and his wife, and the Pick-A-Little Ladies (Lori Valentine, Sara Kenny, Burgess Byrd, and Lauren Carr).
Director Greg Procaccino kept the pacing tight and fast, but there were several times when I would like to have seen a bit more of a moment taken with the scene. Even the queues for some of the held poses at the end of the scenes seemed rushed.
The eight musicians, under the conductor Michael Kennedy had a strong and full presence. Sound designer Eric Bardes did a great job in this somewhat temperamental venue.
Maggie Perrino’s choreography worked well for this production even when dealing with the entire cast on stage together. I thought the teen and youth ensembles really shined in their numbers.
Personally I was not a fan of the set. I think it’s great to use a local artist, and while I found the set to be functional, I also felt it was static and uninspired.
Small complaints aside, THE MUSIC MAN is a charming and fun, big musical perfect for the whole family.
My rating: 4.0 out of 5
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