Music to our Ears
By Doug Coxson, New Hamburg Independent
Expect a big Iowa welcome if you’re headed to River City this weekend.
The Community Players have pulled out all the stops on another spectacular production of The Music Man, opening tonight and running through Sunday at the Trinity Theatre, a.k.a. the New Hamburg Arena.
The troupe’s third go-around with Meredith Wilson’s Tony Award-winning 1958 musical is a faithful retelling of the endearing classic. The production value is astounding. Costume designer Connie Zehr’s rich and colourful costumes couldn’t be better in recreating the fashion of the small mid-west American town in 1912. And set designer Brent Roth produces impressive depth with his storefront set pieces that look better the further you’re sitting from the stage — great incentive to grab some of the remaining seats for this weekend’s shows.
The story follows con-man “Professor” Harold Hill’s arrival in a small Iowa town. He’s there to dupe the townspeople into forking over down payments for instruments and uniforms for a marching band, promise the kids will learn how to play and then leave with their money. Setting the stage for the con, Hill preys on the townspeople’s fear the local billiard hall is a hot bed of trouble waiting to happen.
What the “professor” doesn’t bank on is town librarian Marian Paroo, who suspects his deceit the minute he introduces himself.
Leads Joseph Reany, as a lively Harold Hill, and Erinka Wood, as an enlightened but reserved, Marian Paroo are charming to watch as she rebuffs his repeated attempts to bring her under his spell. But the real star of the show is the ensemble.
The full-cast performances, from the harmonies to the choreography, on showstoppers like Iowa Stubborn and Seventy-Six Trombones are worth the price of admission.
You know you’re in for a treat when the actors nail the opening number — the up-tempo rap Rock Island, performed by half a dozen salesmen to the clickety-clack rhythm of a train.
Tickets for evening and matinee performances of The Music Man are still available through TCP’s website, or by calling 1-800-TCP-7524.