The wonderful rhythm of American small town life has been immortalized in Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man,” now presented at Theatre by the Bay. A cast of energetic local talent was greeted by an enthusiastic audience on opening night.
From the opening scene aboard the local train, through the big finale – “Seventy-Six Trombones,” the beloved musical is all about rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. Rhythm of the heart in “Goodnight My Someone” and “Till There Was You,” the rhythm of a bright future in “The Wells Fargo Wagon,” of old-fashioned ladies in “Pick-A-Little, Talk-A- Little” and old-fashioned gentlemen in “Lida Rose.” Of course, Professor Harold Hill weaves the most irresistible rhythm, beginning with “You Got Trouble” and ending when the charming con man falls for his victim – “Marian, the Librarian.”
Scene-stealers at 13-00 209th Street in Bayside (Bay Terrace Jewish Center) included seven-year-old Charlie Lo Monaco as little Winthrop Paroo and local theatre veteran Sue Fiebert as the mayor’s wife, Eulalie Shinn.
Returning in another lead role, beautiful Michele Mazzocco portrays vulnerable “Marian, the Librarian.” Her semi- operatic voice adds a touch of class to local performances. John Canning is Professor Harold Hill, the con man who has “the piper pay him!” His deep, confident voice and reassuring manner have earned him another lead role. It isn’t easy delivering hundreds of lines of monologue in tempo. Well done.
The hallmarks of producer/director Lawrence F. Bloom’s style are everywhere. He opts for minimal sets in favor of brighter colored costumes (coordinated by B’Jai Pierce).
Bloom auditions and utilizes dozens of cast members from second-graders to golden agers who dance and sing with the same magical glow. His team this year features Rene Dennis and Alan Kingsley (musical director/accompanist), choreographer Michele Mazzocco and co-producer Barbara Koenig. By presenting popular musicals, large numbers of local talent have an opportunity to perform.
The Playbill also reveals numerous family members who share this theatrical experience. Let us see. There is Eli Koenig (Marcellus Washburn) and Barbara Koenig; Elissa Stein Cushman (Ethel Toffelmier), Rebecca Stein Cushman (Zaneeta Shinn), Ed Cushman (Mayor Shinn) and Fran Cushman (House Manager); Lila Edelkind (Mrs. Paroo) and Steve Edelkind (Backstage); Bob Leff (Ewart Dunlop) and Marla Seiden Leff (Alma Hix). Eight-year-old Isabella Lo Monaco is Charlie’s older sister. Well, you get the point.
Kudos to Nicholas Zalewski, Steve Hoffman, Ira Cohen and the dozens of performers and support staff too numerous to mention by name.
“The Music Man” will run weekends through March 21. Call 718-428-6363 or surf to www.spotlightonstage.com for more details.
The spring theatre season is filled with local creativity. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.