Director Lisa Anne Bailey has truly lined up the City of Fairfax Theatre Company’s production of The Music Man with top-notch performers and quality staging! Be ready to tap your foot along with this big brass band during each and every song in this classic musical, written by Meredith Willson.
The sly Professor Harold Hill, marvelously performed by Lars Klores, has found himself in the stubborn Iowa town of River City. He’s hoping to form a boy’s band in the town, convincing them that it will help their children not grow to be corrupt in their adult life. However, Hill has no intention of sticking around to hear the band. He’s got his entire plan timed out, right to the last wave of the brakeman’s hand on the last train out of town. That is, until he meets Marian, the town’s Librarian. Marian (Elizabeth Ferrante) figures out Hill’s plan very quickly and sets out to uncover the truth. But, as is often the way of these classic stories, the two find themselves falling in love as Hill’s plan slowly falls apart.
The set looks as though it was pulled straight from a rural Iowa town. With a white picket fence covered in flowers and trees sprawled across the back, this simplistic set, with additional ramps and platforms center stage, was all that was needed to transport us back to River City. The lighting, designed by Joshua Hurley, complimented the set and lavish costumes by Clara Poteet excellently. Poteet did a fabulous job of completing the small town Iowa feel with her period costumes.
Playing the conman Harold Hill, Lars Klores did an impressive job of creating a well-rounded character. He made me want to jump onstage and join the boy’s band during the energy filled group number “76 Trombones.” Klores’ energy and vocal talent was undeniable, as seen and heard in the showstopping “(Ya Got) Trouble.”
Elizabeth Ferrante, playing the role of the town’s cross librarian, Marian, had a beautiful voice which filled the entire theatre. She brought a wonderful energy that lit up the stage. Her renditions of “My White Knight” and “‘Till There Was You” (with Klores) were gorgeously sung.
Other notable performers include: Angelica Ross who stole every scene she was in as the sassy Irish mother Mrs. Paroo. Ross had me laughing very hard almost every time she graced the stage.
Joel Yetzbacher played Winthrop, the shy son to Mrs. Paroo. Yetzbacher is a force to be reckoned with during his song “Gary Indiana,” earning a long applause from the audience following the number.
David Britt (Mayor Shinn) is a hilarious actor. Playing the Mayor with a unique physicality and voice that worked very well for that character. Eva Gary and Kieran O’Dell play the two young lovers Zeneeta Shinn and Tommy Djlas. The chemistry between these two was very evident and each one played off the other wonderfully.
All in all, the entire cast was fantastic! What impressed me the most were the children in the cast. I was impressed by the acting and singing of the youngest actors in the show.
The song “Shipoopi” is where I got to see everyone in the cast shine. The song was lead by Hill’s right-hand man Marcellus, played by Zion Jang. Jang was a ball of comedic and physical energy. With choreography by Erich DiCenzo and Katie Tomney, “Shipoopi” was a showstopper! DiCenzo and Tomney did a great job of showcasing every single cast member’s ability throughout the show. Every cast member performed out each and every step with vigor.
Rounding out the show are two groups of talented singers: The Pick-a-Little Ladies and the Schoolboard Barbershop Quartet. The Pick-a-Little Ladies, comprised of Dawn Felice-Nguyen, Morgan Britt, April Dalton, Bruni Herring, and Sara Alipanah, all blended wonderfully together. At times it was hard to hear what they were saying due to overpowering mics. They all worked together to create a hysterical bunch of stuck-up Iowa women.
Eric Hughes, Jim Oakes, David Dowell, and Tom Weaver comprised the vocally powerful schoolboard quartet. Under the music direction of Kirsten Boyd, these men blended and sounded magnificent! Their rendition of “Lida Rose” was a huge success which showed off these men’s vocal strengths.
The City of Fairfax Theatre Company’s entertaining The Music Man, is a parade of talent and true showmanship from everyone involved.
Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes with an intermission.