Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Freedom High School The Music Man

By • Feb 22nd, 2009 • Category: Cappies

When a con-man, traveling salesmen, an over-worked librarian, and the townspeople of River City Iowa are mixed together, “we surely got trouble.” Freedom High School’s production of Meredith Wilson’s Music Man triumphantly marched forward with all “Seventy-Six Trombones.”

The Music Man was adapted from a story written by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, and then was later adapted into a musical by Meredith Wilson. On December 19, 1957, the original Broadway production opened, which was directed by Morton DaCosta and choreographed by Onna White. The Music Man made its first Broadway revival on June 5, 1980 at the New York City Center starring Dick Van Dyke as Professor Hill and Meg Bussert as Marian.

Professor Harold Hill, a con man, decides to create a scheme to have a boys marching band in River City, Iowa. Hill tells the townspeople that it would be in their best interest to have a marching band to prevent the sins that come with the game of billiards. The River City townspeople put their “chip on the shoulder attitude” aside and fall completely under Hill’s spell. However, Marian, the local librarian, sees that Harold Hill is up to no good and is determined to stop him before the whole town in put into chaos. As Marian is playing detective, she will find romance and thrilling adventure.

The ensemble lacked drive in the beginning but once they came together, the atmosphere of a small town was felt and characterization proved to be solid. The River City children added delightfully to the ensemble creating a distinction between the children, teenagers, and the adults on stage. Ryan Smith (Harold Hill) had brilliant stage presence through his agile mannerism as a con man to the accurate emotion of romance with Diane Meck (Marian) during the scene at the footbridge. Cody Lester (Mayor Shinn) brought the role of the word-bumbling, proud mayor to life, keeping the audience continuosly laughing while he maintained solid characterization throughout the show. Brittany Klein‘s (Ms. Paroo) Irish accent was perfect and flowed evenly during the song “If You Don’t Mind Me Saying So”. In addition, her motherly charm added to the delivery of her character’s persona. The Quartet (Andrew Lamont, Tim Lewis, Kyle Perkins, and Patrick Carnes) had good harmony and sounded sweet during “Lida Rose” kneeling as they sang “at the suggestion I’ll pop the question.”

The set, constructed by Ryan Smith, revealed the quaintness of a small town and used levels to display dimension including the backdrop with the town stores and the moveable buildings. The orchestra played strongly with intonation, but occasionally faltered at pacing. The choreography, by Diane Meck, had precision and fluidity especially during “Marian the Libarian” with the dancer’s flips and use of the books, and “Shipoopi”, that featured waltzes with spinning and lighthearted steps.

Freedom High School’s production of The Music Man trumpeted all “Seventy-Six Trombones.”

by Hannah Wing of C.D. Hylton High School

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