Theater Info for the Washington DC region

St. Alban’s and National Cathedral Schools The Music Man

By • Feb 24th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

The Music Man, with a capital “M” that’s near “N” that stands for National Cathedral, was recently performed by the members of St. Alban’s and National Cathedral Schools. Their 53 person cast made Meredith Willson’s musical their own and did so with energy and excitement.

From the first time the 76 trombones marched across stage with Barbara Cook and Robert Preston in the original 1957 Broadway show, The Music Man has been a classic. The story of Harold Hill sweet talking the members of the stubborn high collared town of River City has touched the hearts of the thousands that have seen it. Hill convinces the town that he is a professor of music and will create a boys’ band, but after his scam is revealed, the town attempts to tar and feather him, leaving Hill and his new found love Marian Paroo, the librarian, to convince everyone that Hill helped the town, and has given the children of River City something to get excited about during the long summer.

One of the hardest set of roles musically is the school board members who double as a barber shop quartet. Gunnar Sidak, Robbie Wheeler, Spencer Chretein, and Andrew Brown, who played the quartet, had virtually no falters with their quirky characters and four-part harmonies. This set them apart from the rest of the cast and really added to the entire performance.

The bulk of the show is devoted to the relationship of Harold Hill, played by Niko Duffy, and Marian Paroo, played by Kate Eberstadt. They both performed their parts well and they brought a lot of energy that was reflected on a majority of the cast and helped keep up the pace of the show.

The St. Alban’s and National Cathedral Schools made an interesting decision to set The Music Man in the round. While this created some awkward stage pictures at moments, it did create an opportunity for the props to come through. Designers Claire Voon, Laura Blasex, and Pexton Kleiforth used items like suitcases to create the train, along with other inventive ways to create a convincing setting with minimalist set pieces.

As they um-pahed up and down the stage, the cast of St. Alban’s and National Cathedral School’s rendition of The Music Man brought Meredith Willson’s creation to life, reminding the audience that among double-belled euphoniums and big bassoons you can find a white knight.

by William Noguchi of Lake Braddock

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