The Music Man | The Muny

theat_music-man.jpgThe Muny’s current production of the show is worthy of the musical’s long-standing tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Music Man is one of America’s great musicals; boosters are quick to point out that it beat out West Side Story for Best Musical at the Tonys in 1957. The Muny’s current production of the show is worthy of that tradition.

Compared to the other shows on the Muny’s outdoor stage so far this summer, The Music Man has the most involved plot. A con man, calling himself Professor Harold Hill (James Clow), has been riding the rails visiting small towns where he creates a panic over some minor issue and offers a solution: He’ll organize a boy’s band—for a healthy fee, of course. But Hill, who doesn’t know a note of music, always absconds from the town as soon as the uniforms and instruments are paid for.

Hill’s latest victims are the good people of River City, Iowa, who fall for his charms and his warnings that a new pool table in town poses a moral hazard to the children of the town ("Trouble with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for pool").

But River City’s maiden librarian, Marian Paroo (Kate Baldwin), isn’t sold. The drama of the story lies in the transformation of Hill and Paroo’s antagonistic relationship into a love so strong Hill is willing to risk everything.

Along the way, we’re treated to some gem tunes, including "Seventy-Six Trombones" and "Till There Was You."

Clow is truly a master of the patter necessary for Hill to lure in his customers, and his singing leaves nothing to be desired. Baldwin, for her part, has a voice like a songbird.

One annoying aspect of Monday night’s performance was the fact that all the major players flubbed at least one line. Hopefully, by the end of the week, the show will be better rehearsed.

Oh, and while it’s always a bad idea to leave the Muny before the curtain call ends, you’ll really miss out if you do it this week. That’s all I’ll say. | David Benkof

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