Monday, April 25, 2011

'Music Man' triumphs at UT

I told you last week that I went to see "The Music Man," Meredith Willson's triumphant musical, at the Clarence Brown for its preview show. But, I didn't get around to telling you about the show itself.

Oh, what fun. I think I just needed to hear and see one of those good, old-fashioned productions, you know, the kind that makes you laugh and smile and go home happy.

The UT production (which runs, on and off, through May 15) is filled with a cast of 40 and jam-packed with all those great tunes, "76 Trombones" and "Till There Was You" and "The Wells Fargo Wagon."

And, of course, "Ya Got Trouble," which presents itself in the persona of con artist Harold Hill (David Kortemeier) when he gets off the train in unsuspecting River City, Iowa. You no doubt know the story. He's all set to take the yokels for all they've got until he meets music teacher Marian (Katy Wolfe Zahn). Then, gosh darn it, Harold finds his heart.

It's great fun and it's done so well here, as directed by Risa Brainin and conducted by Terry Silver-Alford.

Kortemeier was such a star as Don Quixote in UT's production of "Man of La Mancha" last spring. He shines again here, likable and honest, knowing as all good actors and con artists do that nothing sells like sincerity.

He and Zahn play off one another quite well. Add to the mix wonderful turns by Neil Friedman as Mayor Shinn, Carol Mayo Jenkins as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn and Karns Middle School 7th grader and scene snatcher Maggie Kohlbusch as Amaryllis.

Brainin says in the program notes that "The Music Man" is the perfect musical in that it contains not one wasted song. Amen and amen. Plus, it's all so wonderfully, deliciously infectious, guaranteed to raise your spirits and sing away your spring funk.

Yes, that was me humming and skipping back to the parking garage.

O-ho, the Wells Fargo wagon is a-comin' down the street...

For more info on UT's production of "The Music Man" visit here.

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