BWW Review: THE MUSIC MAN at Susquehanna Stage Company
Susquehanna Stage Company's current production of The Music Man is a celebration of the best that community theater has to offer. The enormous cast of 48 comes in many sizes, ages, and experience levels, yet they all come together, as one, to deliver a highly entertaining night of musical theater.
Nick Smith is confident and charming as ultimate con man, Professor Harold Hill. Hill's charisma and playfulness makes us root for him every step of the way. Smith is a great actor who uses subtle facial expressions, vocal inflections, and mannerism to give us detailed understanding of his character. I especially loved his unique walk which was somewhere between a peacock's strut and a snake's slither.
In an impressive commitment to method acting, Harold Hill's love interest, Marion is played by Stacia Smith, Nick's real-life wife. Stacia plays Marion as smart, assured, and no-nonsense. She has a beautiful, melodic voice, especially in her second act song, Till There Was You.
The stars of the show are surrounded with excellent supporting talent including Scott Mackinson as the gruff Mayor Shin, Jason Spickler as Hill's goofy sidekick, Marcellus Washburn, and Hayden Bires, in a notable debut role as Marion's little brother, Winthrop.
The show's chorus is fantastic, and different groups each get an opportunity to shine, including kids, teen, and the Pick-a-Little Ladies. The School Board Barbershop quarter was especially impressive and an audience favorite. I would encourage members, Steve Sturgis, John Zimmerman, Tom Felgen, and Jim Herrick to consider taking a trip to Philly, the next time America Got Talent auditions come around.
Director, Jim Johnson takes advantage of every single inch of the stage to tell his story. The environment never looks cramped or cluttered, which is a significant accomplishment considering a cast of almost 50.
A ten-piece orchestra led by Steve Hassinger and peppy choreography by Jill Gagliano bring depth to the production and were well received.
Interestingly, The Music Man was the first show that Susquehanna Stage produced back in 2009. There has been significant growth in talent, resources, and reputation since then. Yet, they remain committed to a mission of high quality and engaging theater for the Marietta community. While Susquehanna Stage Company celebrates its birthday, The Music Man serves as a great gift to the audience.
The Music Man runs through August 5th. Tickets and more information can be found at their website.