The Music Man – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Seven decades ago Meredith Willson took a story he created with Franklin Lacey and added book, music and lyrics to develop a delightfully devious con man Harold Hill who dupped his victims into believing their town’s fate could only be saved if he, “Professor” Hill, could organize a boys’ band. Thus the sparkling spectacle Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” was born and now the Summer Community Stage at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury is bringing its triumphant seventy-six trombones to your doorstep weekends until Sunday, August 6.

Traveling salesmen who went from town to town by train pedaling their wares were not admiring of a man who conned money from innocent folk who believed his lies and schemes, giving him payment for musical instruments, instruction books and uniforms Hill had no intention of delivering. Smooth and fast talking Moses Jacob’s Harold Hill arrives in River City, Iowa ready to once again fleece his “prey,” but some highly unusual events occur.

An old friend and schemer Marcellus Washburn, an energetic Jimmy Donohue, claims to now be reformed and warns his pal to beware of the town librarian Marian Paroo, a lovely Marcia Maslo, who is the only one who knows enough about music to unmask him. Marian also has a young brother Winthrop, an adorable Geno Bascetta, who has a lisp and rarely talks, and a caring mother, Joyce Follo Jeffrey, who only wants her children to be happy.

“The Music Man” is stuffed with great songs, like “Ya Got Trouble” when Hill warns Mayor Shinn, an in-charge Joe Stofko, about the destructive influence of pool halls and billiard parlors, “Seventy-Six Trombones” that promises redemption for all the wayward youth, a barbershop quartet that sings at every drop of a straw hat, the grand arrival of “The Wells Fargo Wagon” (an early version of Amazon), the delightful dance “Shipoopi,” and the lyrical love song “Till There Was You” and many more.

Comic complications arise as the Mayor demands Hill’s credentials, his wife Eulalie Shinn, a spirited Sheree Marcucci, gets seduced into leading a ladies dance troupe, the local hoodlum Tommy, a energetic Tyler Caisse, is persuaded to woo the Mayor’s daughter Zaneeta, a hard-to-resist Tori Sperry, and Marian’s piano student Amaryllis, a cute Hanalei Cocchiola, who confesses her affection for the seldom speaking Winthrop.

What a joy! What a delight! What a great family classic! James Donohue directs a wonderful cast of dozens and dozens who bring this fun musical to spectacular life, with Richard Carsey as musical director and Marissa Follo Perry as choreographer.

For tickets ($30, a set of 4 for $100, use discount MUSIC), call Seven Angels, Plank Road, Hamilton Park, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Check for all the speciality evenings of treats before the show.

Will Harold Hill be unmasked for the shyster he is? Come discover if anyone deserves to be tarred and feathered. Learn that today is a day worth remembering.