Review Roundup: THE MUSIC MAN at the Wick Theatre, Starring John Tartaglia - Read the Reviews!
John Tartaglia recently led The Music Man at The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum in Boca Raton, FL.
Directed by Norb Joerder, Choreographed by David Wanstreet, the cast also included Julie Kleiner as Marian Paroo, Wesley Slade as Marcellus Washburn, Angie Radosh as Eulalie Shinn, along with Dalia Aleman, Mitchel Burns, Larry Buzzeo, Austin Carroll, Michael Cartwright, Samuel Colina, Jonathan Eisele, Alyssa Elrod, Alexandra Frost, Alexandra Garcia, Jawan Hayes, Melanie Johnston, Samantha Leibowitz, Caiti Marlowe, Dave Nagy, Devin Nielson, Cat Pagano, Colleen Pagano, Mark Parello, Elli Pattison, Ricky Pope, Kevin Reilley, James Skiba, Renee Elizabeth Turner, Trevor Wayne, and Kelly Ziegler. The youth acting company, Abbey Del Corrall, Neo Andre Del Corrall, Emily Hoder, Talia Pamatat, Blake Rubin, and Penny Stone round out the cast.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
David McKibbin, BroadwayWorld: Director Norb Joreder and choreographer David Wanstreet pay homage to some of the staging and choreography featured in productions past. Joreder stages The Music Man with the level of hamminess and presentational acting commonly associated with musical comedies of its era. Wanstreet's choreography utilizes familiar dance segments from the original Broadway production (and subsequent film adaptation). Some of the best-executed numbers of the night included "76 Trombones" and "Marian The Librarian." Music director Paul Tine should be praised for helping the show's ensemble develop a well-blended sound. Despite this, there were moments where principal and ensemble singers could not sing in time with the pre-recorded tracks used in lieu of a live orchestra.
Cindy Pierre, Talkin' Broadway: This production works because of the efforts of everyone involved. During its 2-1/2 hours with one 15-minute intermission, everyone works toward a common goal: for the satisfaction and enjoyment of the patrons. It is a tremendous feat for everyone to navigate the stage, led by Tartaglia making his Wick debut and Kleiner returning after a successful role as Polly in Crazy for You. This duo has wonderful chemistry, and they keep us invested in the story. The supporting cast and ensemble are just as strong. While the kinks aren't completely smoothed out, they don't distract from these noteworthy and electrifying achievements. It is sure to appease and astound.
Aaron Krause, Theatrical Musings: The cast's mastery starts with award-winning Broadway actor John Tartaglia. He disappears into the role of fast-talking, self-assured conman, "Professor" Harold Hill. Tartaglia, who boasts a strong, clear singing voice, sings the rapid-fire patter song, "Ya Got Trouble" with seeming effortlessness. In fact, you'd swear this tongue-twisting, rhythmic speech is the performer's natural way of talking. The actor punctuates his performance with appropriate gestures. He also imbues Hill with credible charisma, confidence and a dramatic flair, while proving to be nimble. The award-winner invests Hill with a believable earnestness and sense of urgency. As the character speaks to River City citizens, he leans into them. His eyes widen and his voice and expressions betray intensity and sincerity. Also, this fast-talking, slippery-as-ice conman manages to convey charm and, finally, tenderness at the end. He's obviously a changed man by then.
Christine Dolen, Sun Sentinel: Dressed in sharp, light-colored summer suits (the show's huge collection of attractive period costumes are by Jim Buff), Tartaglia sings, dances and acts well, and he happily digs into his character's showy "Trouble." But he comes across as a kinder, gentler Harold Hill, so it's not easy to buy him as a conniving sort who would fleece a town without a second thought. Kleiner is one of the region's most captivating musical theater leading ladies, and her clarion soprano is ideally suited to Marian's full-of-yearning solos "Goodnight, My Someone," "My White Knight" and "Will I Ever Tell You," which is sung in counterpoint to the barbershop quartet's lilting "Lida Rose." Her Marian is smart, initially judgmental and a woman of porcelain beauty as she wears an array of gorgeous costumes in various shades of blue.
Bill Hirschman, Florida Theater On Stage: So render credit to Tartaglia, an actor, dancer, puppeteer, director in multiple performing mediums. Best known for his Tony-nominated double roles in Avenue Q, he might not be the first name you'd think of for Harold Hill. But from the moment he starts to mesmerize the folks in River City, warning them "you've got trouble," Tartaglia's hard-won skill and innate charisma instantly wins over the audience as well as the townspeople. He delivers the patter talk songs with a smoothness that makes virtually every word comprehensible - a significant feat. Like everyone else on stage, Tartaglia and Hill are having a heck of good time and it's infectious. And he makes Hill a believer in his own spiel: When he sings to the populace about the those trombones catching the morning sun with 110 cornets right behind, he holds out his arms gesticulating to some invisible vision he himself sees. Tartaglia nails one of my favorite lines in all musical theater when Winthrop accuses Harold of being a fake because there's no band, to which Harold, replies with rare revealing honesty, "I always think there's a band, kid."