Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On Norm Lewis, Jessie Mueller, and Rosie O'Donnell in THE MUSIC MAN

Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On Norm Lewis, Jessie Mueller, and Rosie O'Donnell in THE MUSIC MANThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Broadway Center Stage production of Meredith Willson's The Music Man starring Tony Award® nominee Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess) as Harold Hill, Tony Award®-winning actress Jessie Mueller (Waitress, Carousel, Beautiful) as Marian Paroo, and Broadway, film, and television star Rosie O'Donnell as Mrs. Paroo is now on stage. The semi-staged concert production is directed by Marc Bruni (Beautiful, Broadway Center Stage: How to Succeed...) with choreography by Chris Bailey (Jerry Springer: The Opera, The New Yorkers at Encores!) and music direction by James Moore (Miss Saigon, the Kennedy Center's Follies and Ragtime).

The starry cast features Tony Award® nominee John Cariani (The Band's Visit, Something Rotten!) as Marcellus Washburn, Tony Award® nominee Veanne Cox (An American in Paris, Company) as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, Mark Linn-Baker (On the Twentieth Century, You Can't Take it With You) as Mayor Shinn, Tony Award® nominee and Drama Desk winner David Pittu (The Front Page, Is He Dead?) as Charlie Cowell, Damon J. Gillespie (Aladdin, Newsies) as Tommy Djilas, Eloise Kropp (Cats, Dames at Sea) as Zaneeta Shinn, Sam Middleton (Les Miserables) as Winthrop Paroo, and Emmy Elizabeth Liu-Wang as Amaryllis. The cast of the classic American musical also includes Malcom Fuller, Tessa Grady, Arlo Hill, Todd Horman, Denis Lambert, Liz McCartney, Katerina Papacostas, Hayley Podschun, Vivian Poe, Noelle Robinson, Blakely Slaybaugh, Jimmy Smagula, Ryan Steele, Owen Tabaka, Daryl Tofa, Diana Vaden, Nicholas Ward, and Jessica Wu.

Completing the creative team are set and projection designer Paul DePoo, costume designer Amy Clark (A Night With Janis Joplin, Chaplin), lighting designer Cory Pattak (Broadway Center Stage: In the Heights and Little Shop of Horrors), and Tony Award®-winning sound designer Kai Harada (The Band's Visit).

Due to popular demand, an eighth performance has been added on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 7 p.m. Presented as a part of Broadway Center Stage-a Kennedy Center-produced series of musicals in semi-staged concerts, conceived and executive produced by Jeffrey Finn-The Music Man will run February 6-11, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater.

Winner of five Tony Awards® including Best Musical, this American musical favorite, with music, book, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, follows traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa into buying uniforms for a boys' band that he vows to organize-despite the fact he doesn't know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town are foiled when he falls for Marian, the town librarian. The classic score features such standards as "76 Trombones," "'Till There Was You," and "Trouble."

Tickets for all performances are on sale through at the Kennedy Center box office, the website, or by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.

After sell-out performances of an inaugural season that included star-studded Kennedy Center productions of Chess, In the Heights, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, the 2018­-2019 Broadway Center Stage season opened with a rapturously received production of Little Shop of Horrors and will close with the Tony Award®-winning musical The Who's Tommy.

Broadway Center Stage: The Music Man will be performed Wednesday, February 6-Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 9 and Sunday, February 10. The performance on Monday, February 11 will be performed at 7 p.m. For more information please visit the Kennedy Center website, in-person at the Kennedy Center box office, or call (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.

Let's see what the critics have to say! Check back for more reviews as they come in!

Peter Marks, Washington Post: In the person of Mueller, a Tony winner herself for "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," there is a Marian the Librarian of superlative gifts. Her renditions here of "Goodnight, My Someone," "My White Knight" and "Till There Was You" offer justifiable comparisons to the role's superb originator, Barbara Cook. (Shirley Jones played her in the fine 1962 movie version.) By 2019 standards, the portrait of lovelorn Marian is something of a throwback: O'Donnell gives a giddy account of a mother all but uttering round-the-clock novenas to snare her daughter a mate. But Mueller's Marian never comes across as prudish, or pitiful, or needing a man to awaken her. She seems her own woman - both before and after there was Harold Hill. She's paired here with Lewis, possessed of a classically handsome profile and equally handsome baritone, which gives a unique texture to the boffo sprechstimme of one of the musical's signature songs, "Ya Got Trouble." (This in a show that also boasts "The Wells Fargo Wagon" and "Seventy-Six Trombones.") Lewis's Harold appears to be more the rake than the flimflamming spellbinder, selling River City on the idea of a boy's band, and so his sell isn't as hard as that of the dazzling Robert Preston, who played him both on Broadway and in the film version. This mellower Harold doesn't steamroll - he insinuates.

Charles Shuwbow, BroadwayWorld: The cast is uniformly excellent. The voices and the dancing are superb. The 19-piece orchestra under Musical Director James Moore is powerful. They are fun to watch. Chris Bailey's Choreographer shines, especially in the Library scene. They leap and jump everywhere, and it is a miracle not one got hurt. Paul Tate DePoo III is the Scenic Designer and Projection Design really make the show work. Amy Clark's Costume Designs are spot on. Corey Pattack's Lighting is very moving, and Kai Harada is responsible for the great Sound Design.

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