The Music Man

Rated 4.0

Oh, we’ve got trouble! Right here in River City. With a capital “T,” that rhymes with “V,” and that stands for video games. Our young’uns are fritterin’ away the summer days with their eyes glazed and their butts cemented to the couch. But there’s hope, I say, thanks to Runaway Stage. The Music Man will save us from the doldrums of summer. Not only is it bursting with clever songs, but half the members of the large cast are young’uns themselves—preteens and teens from local schools.

This is the quintessential musical, full of cornball dialogue, gee-whiz characters, an improbable romance and plenty of memorable tunes. Michael McElroy plays the master salesman who rolls into towns with musical instruments for the “troubled kids” and hightails it out before anyone figures out there’s no one to teach them how to play. He meets his match in River City with Marian the librarian (Buffee Ann Gillihan).

Director Bob Baxter corrals the nearly 50-member cast into an energetic musical team. The two leads show real chemistry, with McElroy conveying all the charisma of a true traveling salesman. Gillihan is equally charming, with a wonderful voice. In true Runaway style, the production is a bit corny, with rolling plywood sets and some musical numbers not quite in sync, but the spirit of the cast makes this a winning production.