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02Apr

Eastern Regional High School's The Music Man

Erin Nevin 
"Ya got trouble" if you didn't get to see Eastern Regional's production of the American classic, "The Music Man" this weekend.

This Franklin Lacey and Meredith Willson 1957 musical tells the story of a small Midwestern town caught in the well-spun lies of a con man posing as a bandleader to make a profit off their young children until a wedge in the form of a prim librarian is thrown into his plan.

Harold Hill, the con man portrayed by Caleb Schneider, had audiences enthralled with strong vocals and bold acting choices in order to truly tap into his confident character. Alongside Schneider was Addison Clark playing the stubborn yet captivating Marian Paroo. Clark's Marian portrayal was filled with emotion and lightness to her character, pulling audience members in from start to finish. Schneider and Clark's chemistry was evident in musical numbers such as the coy "Marian the Librarian" and the sweet-toned "Till There Was You."

The rest of the cast was as equally beguiling. From the all-in ensemble to the comedic Shinn family, every cast member played an important role in creating the large picture of this show. Mayor Shinn, played by TJ Rickey, and his wife, Eulalie Shinn, played by Elizabeth Flewelling, created a wonderful duo of comedy. Along the lines of comedy, Seth Wise as Marcellus Washburn centered in songs such as "Shipoopi" kept audiences both laughing and fascinated with the in-sync dancing of the teenager ensemble.

Among the features roles, the soft-hearted couple of Zaneeta Shinn and Tommy Djilas, respectively played by Dana Ramadan and AJ Love showcases their incredible dancing and acting abilities through a short ballet routine in the second act. An ensemble that also deserves some accolades is the Barbershop Quartet consisting of Nick Vitale as Ewart Dunlop, Bobby Weil as Oliver Hix, Jordan Edmondson as Jacey Squires, and Nidheesh Phadnis as Olin Britt. This group flawlessly pulled off difficult four-part harmonies a cappella. One number in which they were singing alongside the Pick-a-little Ladies with Mia Sundstrom as Alma Hix, Lauren Zubrzycki as Maud Dunlop, Faith Sirdashney as Ethel Toffelmier, Catherine Nguyen as Mrs. Squires and Ally Mazza as Mrs. Britt.

To make sure this show ran as smoothly as possible, the stage crew led by production manager Emily Stevenson and Kavya Ramesh were stepping up to the task of moving large and undoubtedly heavy set pieces in mere seconds. The orchestra was phenomenal as well. Although there were some parts in the show where the levels between music and singing were unbalanced, the majority of the show was finely-orchestrated by this section of truly talented young performers.

This musical theatre classic has been a staple in the American musical classics since its release in the late 1950s, and as demonstrated by Eastern Regional's performance, still holds its value even 62 years later in the sincerest of ways.

 

Maurice Wade
"What do ya talk, what do ya talk, what do ya talk, what do ya talk?" Everyone is talking about Eastern's production of The Music Man. Taking the audience back to the 1950s, Eastern's cast of high school and elementary students made for a thoroughly entertaining production.

Meredith Willson's The Music Man is an American classic that stands the depths of time, receiving five Tony Awards including  Best Musical since its original Broadway debut in 1957. The Music Man follows Professor Harold Hill as he prowls around town with a plan to con money from the citizens of River City. This plan seems to foolproof until he falls for a librarian and piano teacher, Marian Paroo.

Eastern High Schools production of The Music Man was enhanced by the implementation of elementary students. Their ability to execute the numerous dance breaks with just as much precision as the high school students deserves recognition.

The show was lead by none other than the music man himself, Harold Hill (Caleb Schneider), and his love interest, Marian Paroo (Addison Clark). Caleb's quick tongue and a stud like charisma really invoked the character he was portraying. Aided by Addison's beautiful soprano vocals and acting ability these students were appropriate for the roles they received.

A performance that cannot go unmentioned is that of Tommy Dijas (AJ Love). Love's perfect acrobatics where very enjoyable in his many featured dance moments, he never missed a beat. The is most notable in the library dance number where the entire ensemble nailed their choreography and Love was just the icing on the cake. The comical Mayor Shinn (T.J Rickey) had the audiences highly amused with his constant attempts to recite the Getty's Burg Address and persistent walk. The barbershop quartet (Jordan Edmondson, Nidheesh Phadnis, Bobby Weil, and Nick Vitale) with their well-executed harmony shocked the crowd. 

Praise goes to Emily Stevenson, Kavya Ramesh, Gabby Kuper, and Colby Ackerman for their realistic construction of the library. Although mics were unbalanced and quiet at times compared to the pit and a few light issues, Eastern Sound and Light did a good job adjusting to the situations.

There may not have been "Seventy-Six Trombones", but the energy from the cast and crew made the audience believe every moment. Eastern High School did a good job executing this classical musical.

About the Author

Flood-Orion, Jeffrey

Program Director - FY19 Season

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