The Music Man – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

The sixtieth anniversary celebration of Meredith Willson’s family classic “The Music Man” will be om-pahing its way triumphantly to Goodspeed Musicals in fine style until Thursday, June 20 in East Haddam. March yourself right over for tickets to this wonderful, joyful tale of a swindler, the fast talking traveling salesman, Professor Harold Hill, played by a smooth and suave Edward Watts, who convinces the town of River City, Iowa that the only way to save their youth from the evils of pool and billiards is to create a boys’ band.

The high stepping shenanigans are off and running as soon as the dubious Professor, in cahoots with his old partner (Juson Williams),enter River City and try to hoodwink the Mayor (D. C. Anderson) and his wife, (Stephanie Pope), the sweet librarian Marian, a delightful Ellie Fishman, and her mother, Amelia White.

The choreography by Patricia Wilcox is top notch and the musical score is packed with gems, like “Ya Got Trouble,” “ Goodnight, My Someone,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Shipoopi,” “Gary, Indiana” and ”Till There Was You.” The Wells Fargo Wagon is depositing the goods and you’d best be ready to accept delivery.

Grab the family and introduce them to a cute miss Amaryllis (Katie Wylie) as she courts her shy beau Winthrop (Alexander O’Brien). A forbidden affection is also carried out by the town’s bad boy Raynor Rubel and the mayor’s daughter Shawn Alynda Fisher so the creation of a band for boys cannot come any too quickly. The sly professor also manages to put together a barber shop quartet with the school board (Branch Woodman, C. Mingo Long, Jeff Gurner and Kent Overshown) as well as a ladies dance troupe led by the mayor’s wife with her friends (Kelly Berman, Cicily Daniels, Victoria Huston-Elem).Meanwhile the hardest citizen for Hill to hoodwink is the town’s piano teacher, Miss Marian, who knows he is a fraud and falls in love with him any way. Even the interference and evidence of another traveling man (Danny Lindgren) fails to derail the shyster for long.

The old-fashioned fun is nonstop, the dancing is infectious, the songs are classics and the cast gives it their all. As a tribute goes, this one is the tops, under the fine direction of Jenn Thompson.

For tickets ($29 and up), call Goodspeed Musicals, on the Connecticut River in East Haddam at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., some Thursdays at 2 p,m, and 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Watch a spellbinder, who doesn’t know the territory and doesn’t have any credentials, win over a town and give it and you an outstanding production of theater. Don’t miss it! You’re sure to be in TROUBLE, with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for POOL if you do!

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