Just as The Music Man's revival on Broadway is preparing to open, fans of the musical can catch the classic on the local stage at Lake Country Playhouse. Running through October 13th, in LCP fashion, this large scale show defies all logic by effortlessly filling the intimate space.
The company of The Music Man. All photos courtesy of Jim Baker.
In order to accommodate the sizable cast and lively dance numbers, the stage is transformed scene to scene not by towering set pieces, but by a creative usage of many curtains, backdrops, and hanging walls. James Skiba's technical direction under director J.W. Anderson's vision keeps the show moving. Instead of tedious transitions, locations change in the background while action continues downstage, making for a constant flow of music and excitement.
Amanda Satchell steals the show as Marian the librarian. Having just appeared in LCP's Mamma Mia, audiences are in for a real treat in this change of pace. Her "Goodnight, My Someone" fills the space, simultaneously traditional in sound and ever longing in expression. The result is a tenderhearted performance, giving long-time fans the vocal stylings iconic to the show and newcomers an endearing character with whom to empathize.
Skiba in The Music Man.
Jim Skiba headlines the show as Harold Hill, the music man himself. His background in 50s doo-wop is apparent through his full baritone sound and stylized scene work. Some of the wordiness of the show is lost through him, however. His characterization is right on point - were it only a little more audible.
Filling out the cast are a remarkable group of young performers - Sam Dembiec and Demi Dieringer are adorably flirtatious (and impressive dancers) as Tommy Djilas and Zaneeta Shinn. Hailey Phipps brings a zest to the innocent Amaryllis. Then, Liam Eddy melts audience hearts with his charming lisp as Winthrop Paroo in his number "Gary, Indiana".
Anderson's take on the loved musical is another success for the LCP books - this tiny theatre never ceases to amaze with their ability to stage full musicals with finesse. The show is family-friendly, joyous, and a delightful dose of simplicity.