Right here in Redwood City
With a capital T
And that rhymes with C
And that stands for Cool.
The Broadway by the Bay’s production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man is nothing but Cool. It’s as fresh and timely today as it was in 1957 when it opened on Broadway, even though its setting goes back more than a century to the time of “The Wells Fargo Wagon”.
And the Trouble is, that you have only a few days in which to see it – the final performance is a Sunday Matinee on July 31. Call them today at (650) 579-5565 for tickets, or go to their website.
And don’t be late, because the opening scene of the traveling salesmen in a railroad car, jerking back and forth in rhythm with the train sounds coming from the orchestra and chanting their lines is one of the most striking scenes I’ve ever seen in a musical – or opera, for that matter.
Professor Hill (Tom Reardon) gets the action going at a breakneck pace with his Trouble patter song and before you can catch your breath he’s launched into
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.
They were followed by rows and rows
Of the finest virtuo-
Sos, the cream of every famous band
And we’re off in the story of the sleazy salesman who wakes up a sleepy little town in Iowa – and finds redemption for himself in the love of “Marian, madam Librarian”. Filled with foot-tapping music that you can’t resist singing (preferably in the privacy of your own shower) even if you’ve forgotten most of the words and are a bit fuzzy as to the precise tune.
The group singing was excellent throughout. Particularly outstanding were a male quarter who sang barbershop harmony with the slightest encouragement.
A group of seven ladies led by the Mayor’s wife was equally impressive in both their singing and their dancing.
In fact, all the dances were at an amazing level for a Community Theater with few, if any, professional dancers in the corps. Choreographer Robyn Tribuzi is carrying on the excellent work done by Berle Davis for over quarter century until he retired two years ago.
Tom Reardon has a marvelously mobile face and could really deliver an irrestible line of patter, either talking or singing. He was impressive throughout, but particularly in the final scene. His bluff has been called. He has missed his last chance to get out of town because of his true love for Marian (Keri Darner-Moss). The Boys’ Band in resplendent uniforms and shiny new instruments is lined up before him waiting for him to conduct them. And he knows the boys have never played a note but have only “thought” music for 4 weeks. His face and his entire body reflect his dilemma. He knows he is trapped.
He turns to Marian. He half turns towards the band. He turns to Marian’s mother (Claudia McCarley). Finally he smiles a rueful smile, gives a little shrug of his shoulders, straightens his spine and turns to the band – he will play out the farce to the bitter end. He raises his baton. He brings it down, cringing as he does so – and the band bursts into a marvelous cacophony of sound. Parents cheer, shouting his/her offspring’s name.
Marian rushes into his arms – the Mayor’s daughter (Sarah Hammond) runs to her boyfriend Tommy Djilas (Trevor Wright) – – – even Mayor Shinn (David Galagen) and his wife Eulalie (Linda Piccone) gravitate towards each other and embrace. In other words,
THEY ALL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER
The Opera Nut
Except where noted, photos are by the BBB photographers Tracy Martin (TM) or Mark Kasoka (MK)
This review by Philip G Hodge appeared in sanfranciscosplash.com on July 26, 2011