Westfield High School
There might be trouble in River City, but there certainly wasn't in Our Lady of Good Counsel High School's production of The Music Man. The trouble occurs when Professor Harold Hill arrives in the town of River City, Iowa, in the summer of 1912 and convinces the townspeople that he is an experienced musician. He then vows to form a band consisting of the children of River City. The only issue is that Harold doesn't know a trumpet from a treble clef.
With music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, The Music Man follows Professor Harold Hill as he prowls around town with no intention except retrieving money from the somewhat gullible, yet opinionated, citizens. Originally a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey, The Music Man has won five Tony Awards including Best Musical during its run on Broadway, which began in 1957.
Professor Harold Hill makes progress in his sinful scheme to scam the townspeople. That is, until Marian Paroo, River City's stern and stunning librarian and piano teacher, is not quite convinced that Harold is as musically well-educated as he claims. Additionally, Harold must juggle the feelings he develops for Marian, who is temporarily uninterested. However, after seeing the kind way Harold treats the children of River City, including her brother Winthrop, Marian can't help but surrender to his charm.
Robert Liniak portrayed Harold Hill with a confident swagger that believably won over the River City citizens. His excellent diction in "(Ya Got) Trouble" and "Seventy-Six Trombones" was crucial to his loud and clear performance. In their duet "Till There Was You," Liniak and Sumie Yotsukura, portraying Marian Paroo, created a sweet romance between their dissimilar characters. Yotsukura's gorgeous vocals shone through in "Goodnight, My Someone" and "Will I Ever Tell You," and she credibly created Marian's dynamic transformation. From eye rolls to blushing if Harold Hill's name was mentioned, it was clear that Marian's disinterest had been altered to romantic admiration.
Luke Amato as Mayor Shinn expressed comical determination to recite The Gettysburg Address, but was rudely interrupted when the townspeople had important announcements to discuss. He developed a protectiveness when discovering that teen Tommy Djilas had been seeing his daughter, Zaneeta, unbeknownst to him. Other standout performances included that of Cheyenne Parks and Cosette Rosales, who portrayed Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn and Amaryllis Hix. Parks' comedic flair and hilarious relationship with the Pick-a-Littles, a chorus highly reminiscent of gossipy chickens, were a genuine treat for the audience. Rosales wore a bright smile for the duration of her performance and believably portrayed a young child, an impressive undertaking for a senior in high school. The large and lively ensemble engaged the audience and kept the energy flowing.
With a cloudy blue-sky backdrop on the cyclorama and a sunset that progressively became dimmer, Spencer Morgan's lighting choices engrossed the audience members' attention. Every actor onstage was audible and didn't have trouble projecting. Costumes were aesthetically pleasing to the audience, as they were colorful without steering away from the plot. Set pieces and props including street signs and bookshelves further enhanced this production.
They might not have had seventy-six trombones, but the energetic and dedicated cast and crew of Our Lady of Good Counsel's production of the Music Man proved that "no matter who one is or what one is working for, one can do anything if one puts one's mind to it."
Paul VI Catholic High School
It's nothing but blue skies and apple pies in the quaint little town of River City, Iowa... or at least it was until a brash new stranger rolls into town and alerts every one of the terrible danger their community is in. Meredith Willson's The Music Man is an American classic that is near and dear to the hearts of many, and it has been that way ever since its original Broadway debut in 1957. The show has stood the test of time, as audiences still love to watch Professor Harold Hill swindle Iowans using nothing but fast talking and quick thinking. Our Lady of Good Counsel High School did this heartwarming story of repentance and justice and made for a thoroughly entertaining show.
Robert Liniak carried cast as the show's title character, Professor Harold Hill. With stage presence to spare, Liniak dominated the stage with overwhelming charisma and physicality that brought everything he had into his performance. With a voice as strong as his acting, Liniak put on quite a show for both the audience and the people of River City. Liniak's charm, fast talking, and confidence nearly convinced the audience to buy into his nonexistent boy's band.
Opposite Liniak's Hill was Sumie Yotsukura as Marian Paroo. Yotsukura displayed powerful and impressive classical style vocals throughout the show, but namely in "Goodnight, My Someone" and "Till There Was You." The pair displayed strong acting skills and played off each other well during their struggle for power throughout the show, especiallyat its peak during "Marian the Librarian."
The supporting cast created a funny, charming, and convincing community that served as a genuinely interesting backdrop for the plot. Mayor Shinn (Luke Amato) and his wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Cheyenne Parks), both were at the top of their comedic game. Both actors knew how to get a laugh and took every opportunity to do so. Parks, in particular, stole the show and gained laughs just by walking across the stage. Parks was supported by her Pick-a-Little ladies whose over the top physicality and maintained serious demeanor created some of the most hilarious highlights of the show. The School Board Quartet also contributed to the comedy of the show with their ability to be duped again and again with a song.
The technical aspects of the show brought River City to life with a small town, American Gothic aesthetic that perfectly placed the audience in the setting of 1912 Iowa. The lights were used to their full potential and served as the backdrop. The lighting crew made lovely visuals of blue skies and sunsets and used duller brown-grays to create a feeling of being indoors for each of the scenes in the town gymnasium. The costumes were consistently period and had nice pastel color palettes that distinguish each of the small families in the ensemble.
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School successfully put on a charming and aesthetically pleasing show despite some problems with audibility and inconsistent accents. The ensemble, ranging from very young to young at heart, all came together to invite audiences into their small, fictional city. Together, with the leads and tech crews, the company of The Music Man nicely executed difficult pieces of music and pulled off a show that was just delightful.