The Music Man

Rated 4.0 The folks at Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre have done musicals before, but now they’ve raised the ante. They’ve taken down some walls to make space for a nine-piece band. They’ve recruited a huge cast, ranging from kids to retirees. They’ve sent the costume department into overdrive. And they’ve brought in Ed Brazo, a musical-theater specialist from California State University, Sacramento, to handle the direction. All of these resources have been harnessed behind The Music Man. It’s a familiar show, and it’s still a good vehicle for community theater—provided you’ve got the right people to create a credible relationship between Marian the repressed librarian and flimflam man Harold Hill.

Actress Kitty Kean (who got good marks in Garbeau’s earlier production of The King and I) does very well as Marian. She’s believable as she sets out to expose Hill as a fraud, but she’s just as believable when she falls in love with him in spite of what she knows. Kean uses effective facial expressions and body language to embody Marian’s shifting inner feelings, and she has the best voice in the show.

John Philpott does well as Hill, also. He displays a hollow smile and a con man’s quick intuition, while leaving space for us to realize that, underneath it all, Hill has some redeeming traits. Supporting actors include Dick Mangrum as the sputtering Mayor Shinn, and Linda Nalbandian as Shinn’s society-conscious wife.

The classic songs—“76 Trombones,” etc.—just keep coming, and the ensemble singing is up to the task. It all makes for a brisk, entertaining show that reminds you just how much fun The Music Man can be.