BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre's THE MUSIC MAN is a Pleasant Diversion

BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre's THE MUSIC MAN is a Pleasant Diversion

THE MUSIC MAN at Hale Centre Theatre is a pleasant diversion that offers a view of a simpler time through a beloved story and score.

THE MUSIC MAN (book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson; story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey) is the well known tale of con man Harold Hill, who stops in a small Iowa town with the intent to hoodwink its residents by promising to start a boys' band. He does not anticipate, however, that his run-in with the local piano teacher, Marian Paroo, will change everything.

Keith McKay Evans as Harold Hill (double cast with Addison Welch) and Cecily Ellis-Bills as Marian Paroo (double cast with Rachel Woodward Hansen) are both stalwart veterans of the local theatre scene, and for good reason. Their singing voices are both superb, and their characterizations are a joy to take in. The show is most enjoyable to watch when they share the stage.

Parker Burnham as Winthrop Paroo (double cast with Ryder Mason) is a delight from his first scene to his last and judging by audience reaction was one of their favorite parts of the reviewed performance.

Chris Brown as Mrs. Paroo (double cast with JaNae Gibbs Cottam), Christian Johnston as Marcellus Washburn (double cast with Matt Baxter), Allan DeWitt as Tommy Djilas (double cast with Cory Reed Stephens), Zac Zumbrunnen as Mayor Shinn (double cast with Brandon Suisse), and Shawnda Moss as Eulalie Shinn (double cast with Sharon Lynn Kenison) are also memorable in their parts.

Designer Amanda Shaffer has provided delicious period costumes in muted pastel shades that eventually deepen and enliven to match set designer Kacey Udey's bold crayon-box colors as the townspeople are changed through Harold Hill's magic. Most impressive are lavish, imposing train car and library sets that are thrilling to behold. The Hale's renowned turntable is well utilized here--especially in the circular movement of set pieces, such as the porch, around the stage. However, the floor sometimes inexplicably moves up and down mid-scene, which is somewhat distracting, as is the computer-game aesthetic of Josh Roberts' projections.

If you are a fan of classic musicals, and THE MUSIC MAN in particular, this production has enough great things to offer that you'll want to check it out.

THE MUSIC MAN plays through June 9, 2018. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.

Photo Credit: L-R Parker Burnham (Winthrop Paroo), Cecily Ellis-Bills (Marian Paroo), and Keith McKay Evans (Harold Hill)



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