by Elise Tran & Anju Ito, Staff Writers & Mary Kim, Contributing Writer
The sleepy town River City wakes up with the help of Harold Hill, a traveling con man. He has everything set up from his backstory to when he plans to make a run for it. That is until he meets librarian Marian Paroo. She has suspicions towards Harold, but he begins to generate feelings for her, prompting him to make a tough decision about leaving.
With a confident stride and a joyful demeanor, Harold Hill, played by Ethan Peterson (‘18), jumps around from kid to kid easily convincing them to purchase a musical instrument and uniform to create a band.
Marian Paroo, played by Shannon Lopez (‘18), had evident facial expressions and clear movements making sure to bring the spotlight to herself whenever she went into the scenes. As the female lead of the story, she appears throughout the play as the music teacher whom Harold Hill falls in love with.
Alyssa Kammerer took the stage by storm as she eloquently portrayed Marian in The Music Man. She captured the dual aspects of Marian’s character as an intelligent independent while showcasing the softer sides of her character. She danced through “Marian the Librarian” and “Shipoopi” with ease and grace. She brought in the more realistic aspects of her dancing, by keeping in touch with how her character would dance. She brought more life into the stage, it was difficult to imagine anybody else mimicking her embodiment of Marian. She knew what she was doing, and she knew she was doing it right. Not only did Alyssa excel in the dancing portions of the musical, her singing was on par and had the captivating effect that made many tear up. It was extremely delightful, to listen to her sing in “Goodnight my someone.”
Beyond that, “Till there was you” was what left the audience in goosebumps, astounded by the amount of talent Kammerer exuded throughout the whole show. There wasn’t a moment when she was on stage, that was dull or clichè. She a had a spark of life in every second of her performance, from being annoyed and distant to Harold Hill, to succumbing to her daydreams of her white knight. She was entertaining without being cheap with her decisions in her character. She didn’t feed off the audience, rather she was fully engaged with what was going on stage, never losing her focus.It was obvious that Kammerer had spent a lot time practicing and rehearsing, to know every step of her journey. It’s easily seen that dedicated herself solely to this production.
Mr. and Mrs. Shinn, acted by Michael Frankeny (‘17) and Zoe Rios (‘17), had dramatic body motions that immediately catched people’s attentions; sometimes even surprising them with their range of contrasting emotions they were able to put forth.
The rhythmic song-like conversations between the characters added a humorous and exciting touch to the plot throughout the whole play, constantly engaging the audience and sticking to the audience’s head even after the three-hour musical is over. The repeated lines and quirky back-and-forth phrases allow audience to easily understand the plotline and catch onto the story at any point.
Overall, the acting was truly amazing with all its facial gestures, choreography, pauses and the emotions that it conveyed.
The dancing, choreographed by Catie Beck, had simplistic but clean moves that added to the excitement of the singing and acting.
The stage compositions of the actors were constantly on-the-point with the often-symmetrical theme present everywhere, making clear the focus of the scenes and presenting all its components very well. There were also several scenes where two sides had a conversation with each other in opposite sides of the stage, usually a male group and a female group, which moved the attention of the crowd and kept the movement going even during long dialogues that took place.
The musical aspect of the Music Man, directed by Matt Matthews, was phenomenal. The piano, played by Daniel Ramos, entered at just the right moment creating the perfect atmosphere to match with the dialogue. However, at times the music drowned out the actors and actresses’ voices causing difficulty to understand.
All the costumes done by Amy Pham (‘19), Emma Dobrin (‘18) and Mary Kim (‘17) showed true professionalism with clean, well thought-out costumes that reflected upon the era of the musical. From a whole ensemble with an orange boa scarf, skirt and top paired with a floppy hat decorated with colorful flowers on top to a simple red plaid suit and a boater hat, the diverse costumes that were prepared were never plain to the eye.
A well-rounded musical with outstanding performers bringing the energetic story to life with all its fun and laughter.