Marriott Theatre presents
At 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
Books, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson
Story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey
Musical direction by David Kreppel
Directed by Gary Griffin
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Wednesdays at 1pm, Saturdays at 4:30pm
Sundays at 1pm and 5pm
Thru January 9th
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes a fifteen minute intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
‘Head in the clouds, feet on the ground! She’s the girl he’s glad he’s found–she’s his
Shi-Poo-Pi! Shi-Poo-Pi! Shi-Poo-Pi! Shi-Poo-Pi!’ Marriott Theatre presents MUSIC MAN, the beloved “Seventy-Six Trombone” musical by Meredith Willson. Professor Harold Hill arrives in River City, Iowa. He’s a fast-talking con artist working a marching band scam. He’s a spellbinder and the town is smitten. Before he can cash out and leave, he runs into trouble. With a capital ‘T’ that rhymes with ‘G’ and stands for girl. Egads! If you don’t mind my saying so girlie girl, it’s the phraseology that makes this musical so memorable. It’s a pick-a-little, talk-a-little, sing-a-little, dance-a-little for entertain-a-lot. The dialogue and lyrics secure the fan in fantastic. Meredith Willson’s MUSIC MAN kicks brass with humor and hope.
Under the direction of Gary Griffin and musical direction of David Kreppel, this talented ensemble jumps on the first note and speeds the locomotive to its destination. The opening “Rock Island” number vibrates with musical hilarity because Griffin and Kreppel do know the territority. In the lead, Bernie Yvon (Harold Hill) is a cross between Robert Preston and Nathan Lane. He’s all smiles and works the charade in double-talk playful fun. (On opening night, Yvon seemed to have his own trouble. With a capital ‘T’ that rhymes with ‘V’ and stands for vocal strain. Yvon sounded a little hoarse at times.) Johanna McKenzie-Miller (Marian) delivers a poignant charming performance as the closeted romantic librarian. Every song of McKenzie-Miller built up to the powerful crescendo of “Till there was you.” Mary Ernster (Mrs. Paroo) is delightful as the brogue-speaking noisy mother. John Reeger (Mayor) and Iris Lieberman (Eulalie) lead the townsfolk with comedic authority. Dividing the sexes in teams of four, the quarreling school board turned quartet are harmony perfection. The old fashion style sets the tone for a stroll back to simpler times: Iowa 1912. Eulalie’s ladies are a cluster of funny whether they are gossiping or configuring an urn. Lieberman and her ladies are laughable when they try to ‘always face the audience’ in the theatre-in-the-round. The entire cast Bands together with a capital ‘B’ that rhymes with ‘E’ and stands for excellent!
With the hectic holidays upon us, Music Man is a break from consumerism for a laugh and a song from Christmas past. Costume designer Nancy Missimi adds to the visual stimulation with authentic vintage style. Feathered hats, exercise apparel, and button-up shoes are among the period piece selections that transport to another place in time. The show is a worthy frittering opportunity. ‘I don’t know how I can ever wait to see. It could be somethin’ for someone who is no relation. But it could be something special just for… you! Marriott Theatre’s MUSIC MAN is your Shi-Poo-Pi!
With strong MUSIC MAN roots, James describes the show with ‘Starts with P – Perfect!’